Passed his first test

Rookie Ben Roethlisberger passed his first test as a starting quarterback, although his raw stats don't necessarily back it up. Pittsburgh's 13-3 victory Sunday night at Miami in the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne had to be seen to appreciate what the rookie quarterback accomplished.

The game was played in a windy downpour and much of the time the Steelers had the ball in the muck that is the baseball infield at Pro Player Stadium. The ball was hard to grip and the backs had trouble running. Yet Roethlisberger kept his poise throughout, even though his first pass was intercepted.

The Steelers did not have another turnover, and with the game on the line and Pittsburgh clinging to a 6-3 lead, Roethlisberger led them on a touchdown drive, throwing a perfect low-and-away fastball to a diving Hines Ward for the 7-yard scoring pass. On that drive, the rookie completed two third-down passes to Ward and Plaxico Burress.

"I thought the quarterback did well, he really did," coach Bill Cowher said. "He made some plays. He never lost his composure. He played like you kind of thought he would play. He missed a couple of throws, he made a great throw there to (Plaxico Burress) in the beginning of the first drive. I thought he played well."

On the touchdown play, Roethlisberger faked a pitchout to Duce Staley to the left, set up in the pocket and then scrambled to his right when he saw Burress was covered and at the last second tossed it to Ward.

"I told Hines that he was lucky because I was about two seconds from throwing it away," Roethlisberger said. "You have to put it near the playmakers and they're going to make plays. I threw the ball in the corner where Hines could make the play and he'll make it every time."

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