EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers may be fine without the suspended Ben Roethlisberger for the start of the season.
Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon combined to lead three long touchdown drives after Roethlisberger made his preseason debut and the Steelers beat the New York Giants 24-17 on Saturday night, spoiling the first home game in New York’s new $1.6 billion stadium.
Roethlisberger, suspended for the opening six games of the regular season by commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, was solid in his first game since the suspension was announced. He completed 6 of 8 passes for 76 yards and an interception and led the Steelers on a 13-play, 58-yard drive that lasted seven-plus minutes and ended in a 26-yard field goal by Jeff Reed.
This was a quarterback mismatch. The Steelers (2-0) had three good ones while the Giants (1-1) had only third-stringer Rhett Bomar, with starter Eli Manning (stitches) and backup Jim Sorgi (shoulder) sidelined.
Ravens 23, Redskins 3
LANDOVER, Md. — Baltimore safety Haruki Nakamura took a direct snap on fourth-and-6 and juked his way 51 yards — all the way to the 1-yard line — in the second quarter to set up the only touchdown scored by either first-team offense.
The Redskins (1-1) had two starters leave with knee injuries: Fullback Mike Sellers hurt his left knee while blocking on a running play, and free safety Kareem Moore injured his right knee trying to catch up to Nakamura on the fake punt play.
Also, Donovan McNabb emerged from the locker room after halftime with a large wrap around his lower left leg and ankle. Left tackle Trent Williams, the No. 4 overall draft pick, left with a bruised elbow.
The Ravens improved to 2-0.
Raiders 32, Bears 17
CHICAGO — Oakland reserve linebacker Slade Norris recovered a muffed punt in the end zone for a go-ahead TD and later blocked a punt for a safety Saturday night, leading the Raiders to a 32-17 preseason victory over the Chicago Bears.
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, who missed all but one game last season after hurting his wrist in the season opener, injured his calf on the opening drive and did not return.
Starting quarterbacks Jason Campbell of the Raiders (2-0) and Jay Cutler of the Bears (0-2) both played the first half in the game at Soldier Field.
Campbell was 10-for-20 for 170 yards with a short TD run and an interception. Cutler completed 7 of 15 for 99 yards with a 22-yard TD pass to Johnny Knox and was sacked five times — four of them credited to Raiders’ linebacker Kamerion Wimbley.
Chicago’s first-team offense got a big lift when Matt Forte broke loose on an 89-yard TD run in the first quarter.
After Cutler scrambled and found Knox for the score late in the opening half, Chester Taylor’s 2-point conversion run put the Bears ahead 14-13.
The Raiders regained the lead early in the third quarter when Chicago’s Eric Peterman muffed the punt and after a scramble, Norris fell on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.
Kyle Boller quarterbacked the Raiders for most of the second half, scoring on a 2-yard run to cap a 10-play, 51-yard drive late in the third quarter that gave the Raiders a 27-14 lead. Dan LeFevour replaced Cutler and led a drive that reached the 4 before the Bears settled for a 25-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
Chicago got the ball back but Stevie Brown intercepted LeFevour and returned to the Bears 9. Colt Brennan came in to quarterback the Raiders and Oakland got a 28-yard goal from Swayze Waters. Minutes later, Norris broke through and blocked Brad Maynard’s punt attempt and it went through the end zone.
Rams 19, Browns 17
CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns may need umbrellas, ponchos and boots to survive their next practice.
After a sloppy performance in the pouring rain, coach Eric Mangini intends to soak his players so they stop letting the ball slip away.
“We’re going to turn the sprinklers on or dunk the ball in water,” a disappointed Mangini said after Cleveland made five turnovers in a 19-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams on Saturday night during a steady downpour that didn’t stop until the game ended.
Jake Delhomme overcame two early fumbles and was accurate and efficient throwing one touchdown pass in the soggy lakefront stadium.
“We did a decent job with the conditions,” Delhomme said. “I’m glad it happened. We needed this.”
Delhomme tossed a 9-yard TD pass to tight end Benjamin Watson, who made a one-handed grab at the back of the end zone in the second quarter. Delhomme finished 12 of 16 for 127 yards before he was replaced in the second half by Seneca Wallace, who connected for a 15-yard TD with Joshua Cribbs to give Cleveland a 17-13 lead in the third.
Josh Brown’s fourth field goal, a 28-yarder with 3:33 left, won it for St. Louis (1-1).
Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford had his second straight shaky outing. The No. 1 overall draft pick, Bradford, expected to start for this season, went 6 of 14 for 24 yards coming off the bench behind A.J. Feeley. Bradford wasn’t sacked after being dropped behind the line four times last week.
“Obviously, I’d like to have a couple more completions,” Bradford said. “I expect to be able to go out there and tear it up every time I step on the field. Anytime you’re not able to do that, it’s a bit of a disappointment. When I look at the film, there will be a lot of things I learn from,” Bradford said. “It’s not good enough in this league (to come close), you have to be able to get completions. I have to be better than that.”