- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 23, 2009

Following a no-show performance in their preseason opener last week, the goal for the Washington Redskins’ offense Saturday night against Pittsburgh was singular and had nothing to do with winning or losing.

They wanted to show a pulse.

Or as receiver Santana Moss said, “We wanted to let people know we’re not chumps and people aren’t going to come in here and run us over.”

The starters may remain without a touchdown this preseason but the 17-13 win over the Steelers provided at least some optimism after the dreary loss at Baltimore Aug. 13.

Long after the first-team departed, the Redskins finally reached the end zone with two Chase Daniel touchdown passes, including the game-winning 18-yard toss to tight end Fred Davis with 13 minutes, 8 seconds remaining. Davis set up the score by forcing a punt return fumble.

The third-team defense preserved the win following Colt Brennan’s interception. Pittsburgh drove to the Redskins 35 before losing the ball on downs with 1:09 left.

The final dress rehearsal for the starters - most of whom were out of the game by early in the second quarter - comes Friday against New England.

The Redskins were set to start three-and-out but a fake punt - direct snap to Rock Cartwright - gained 15 yards and extended the drive. Jason Campbell threw 10 yards to Chris Cooley (his only completion), Ladell Betts gained 7 yards on a draw (and later left with a back injury) and when Portis gained 19 yards on two carries (he played one possession), the Redskins faced a second-and-2 from the 3-yard line.

But Betts gained a yard and then lost a yard when Mike Sellers whiffed on his block of Keyaron [cq] Fox. Shaun Suisham’s 20-yard field goal was the Redskins’ first points of August.

“If we have another big drive, of course we have to finish,” Portis said. “We cannot get stopped at the inch line and come up with three points. We have to finish drives and keep sustaining the momentum.”

Said Zorn: “We should have scored a touchdown but the Steelers did a great job. We got stopped and we have to get better at the goal line.”

The Redskins went three-and-out on Campbell’s final two possessions. He played 19 snaps and was 1 of 7 for 10 yards. Two of the passes were throwaways and two were downfield shots - a 48-yard attempt to Malcolm Kelly and a 44-yard try to Moss.

“The whole thing you can look at - we came out aggressive, we came out trying some things and we didn’t hold anything back,” said Moss, who sat out last week with a hamstring injury.

This preseason, Campbell is 4 of 13 for 48 yards in 29 snaps.

“We took our shots and hopefully we can start hitting them,” he said.

The entire starting offensive line was out of the game after 25 snaps of work.

“The starting [offense], you want to make a point to everybody as far as the fans and the team we’re playing against that we’re going to get some production from the first squad,” Moss said.

Defensively, Albert Haynesworth worked at right defensive tackle and moved to end for a third down play. The Redskins proved they should be able to pressure the passer with the combination of Haynesworth and Brian Orakpo.

All of the starters except Orakpo were out of the game following the Steelers’ 9-play, 50-yard touchdown drive late in the first quarter. The Steelers converted two third-and-longs when Santonio Holmes beat Carlos Rogers for a 16-yard gain and Hines Ward gained 24 yards when he found an opening between DeAngelo Hall and LaRon Landry. Willie Parker capped the march with a 3-yard touchdown around the right side.

“Overall, the defense played well but the real test is next week,” cornerback Fred Smoot said.

Next week is Tom Brady; this week wasn’t Ben Roethlisberger, who didn’t play because of an Achilles’ injury. Veteran Charlie Batch was 5 of 14 for 63 yards before being replaced by Dennis Dixon.

Pittsburgh extended the lead to 10-3 with Jeff Reed’s 34-yard field goal that ended an 11-play drive and two more third down conversions.

Daniel, who didn’t play against Baltimore, started the second half and his first drive produced the Redskins’ first touchdown when Daniel threw a perfect fade pass that Marko Mitchell caught to forge a 10-10 tie.

On the 14-play, 60-yard drive, Daniel was 4 of 5 for 32 yards. Cartwright kept things alive with a fourth-and-2 conversion.

The Steelers re-took the lead on the ensuing possession on Pitor Czech’s 41-yard field goal that was set up by a 60-yard kickoff return by Stefan Logan.

The Redskins punted on their next possession but Davis’ big hit forced Joe Burnett to fumble at the Pittsburgh 18. On the next play, Davis got open down the middle and Daniel hit him in stride for the winning score.

In three drives, Daniel was 6 of 8 for 58 yards.

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