Burnett, Steelers drop ball versus Skins

LANDOVER, Md. – Rookie growing pains are expected in the NFL, which is the reason why coaches continue to support having at least four preseason games.

The Pittsburgh Steelers saw some of that Saturday night at FedEx Field, as rookie cornerback Joe Burnett, a hero in the team's preseason opening win against Arizona, became something of a goat in the team's second preseason game.

Burnett, a fifth-round draft pick, was beaten for one touchdown and fumbled a punt to set up Washington's second TD as the Redskins defeated the Steelers, 17-13.

The Steelers played the game without starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who was held out after suffering a foot injury in the team's final training camp practice Thursday at Saint Vincent College. The injury does not appear serious, as Roethlisberger spent the game on the team's sidelines.

Veteran backup Charlie Batch started in Roethlisberger's place playing the entire first quarter along with the rest of the team's regulars.

Washington (0-2) used a fake punt that went for a 15-yard run by Rock Cartwright to keep its opening possession alive. The Redskins stalled at the Pittsburgh 3, however, after Ladell Betts was hammered by linebacker Keyaron Fox on a third-and-one run and had to settle for a 20-yard Sean Suisham field goal and a 3-0 lead.

The Steelers (2-0) took a 7-3 lead on a three-yard Willie Parker run with 58 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Batch completed a pair of third-and-longs to keep the drive alive, hitting Santonio Holmes for a 16-yard gain and Hines Ward for a leaping 24-yard grab.

The Steelers took a 10-3 lead with 48 seconds remaining in the first half on a 34-yard Jeff Reed field goal led by third-string quarterback Dennis Dixon.

Dixon also kept the drive alive with a pair of big plays, the first of which was a 17-yard completion to on third-and-nine to Limas Sweed, who made a nice sliding catch. Dixon followed that play up with a 17-yard scramble to the Washington 14 before the Steelers settled for three points.

Pittsburgh got one more chance at the end of the first half when veteran cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, who's fighting for a roster picked off a Todd Collins pass and returned it to the Washington 35.

But Reed missed a pair of long field goals – Washington was offside on the first try – to end the half.

The Redskins tied the game on their opening possession of the second half as Chase Daniel threw a three-yard TD pass to 6-4 wide receiver Marko Mitchell on a fade pass over the 5-9 Burnett.

The Steelers went back ahead, 13-10, on a 41-yard field goal by Piotr Czech, but Burnett's fumble on a punt return gave the Redskins the ball at the Pittsburgh 18.

One play later, Daniel hit tight end Fred Davis down the middle behind safety Derrick Richardson, who bit on a play-action fake, for a touchdown to put the Redskins ahead for the first time, 17-13.

Washington appeared to be driving for another score against Pittsburgh's third-team defense, but rookie linebacker Tom Korte stepped in front of a Colt Brennan pass at the Steelers' 5, returning it 27 yards to the 32.

The Steelers, however, turned the ball over on downs and the Redskins ran out the clock to close out the victory.


Left guard Chris Kemoeatu did not play due to a rib injury. Doug Legursky started in his place. … Steelers lineman Jeremy Parquet left the game in the fourth quarter with a rib injury. … Dixon left in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury. … The Steelers were penalized 13 times for 89 yards. Washington had seven penalties for 52 yards. … Running back/wide receiver Stefan Logan averaged 39.2 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 60-yarder.

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