- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 23, 2009

After a no-show performance in their preseason opener last week, the goal for the Washington Redskins’ offense Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers 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 remain without a touchdown this preseason, but the 17-13 win against the Steelers provided at least some optimism as the regular season approaches.

“We did a pretty good job,” left tackle Chris Samuels said. “[The Steelers are] the defending champs and also the No. 1 defense, and we wanted to prove we could move the ball.”

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

The third-team defense preserved the win after Colt Brennan’s interception. Pittsburgh drove to the Washington 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’ first points of the preseason were set up by a trick play. They were set to start three-and-out, but a fake punt - direct snap to Rock Cartwright - gained 15 yards and extended the drive. Cartwright and Co. practiced the play all week.

“We saw a little something [from the Steelers on film], and we planned it out,” coach Jim Zorn said. “It was a bit scary to call it that deep in our territory [the 35] and it wasn’t like it was fourth-and-2, but fourth-and-10. We had to really go and get it and we had confidence it was going to go.”

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 Clinton 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 but gave it back when Mike Sellers whiffed on his block of Keyaron Fox. Shaun Suisham’s 20-yard field goal was the Redskins’ first points of August.

The Redskins went three-and-out on Campbell’s final two possessions. He played 19 snaps and was 1-for-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.

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

The Redskins’ defense, gashed for 500 yards by Baltimore, limited Pittsburgh to 238 yards. 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’ nine-play, 50-yard touchdown drive late in the first quarter. The Steelers converted two third-and-longs and Willie Parker capped the march with a 3-yard touchdown around the right side.

Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play because of an Achilles injury. Veteran Charlie Batch was 5-for-14 for 63 yards. 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 was the star of the second half. The Missouri rookie didn’t play against the Ravens, but his first drive produced the Redskins’ first touchdown - a perfect 3-yard fade pass to Marko Mitchell to tie the score at 10-10. Daniel was 4-for-5 for 32 yards on the drive and Cartwright kept the drive alive with a fourth-and-2 conversion.

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

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.

Next up is New England on Friday. The starters are expected to play into the second half.

“We just need to keep moving forward,” Cooley said. “As much as you want to say it’s the preseason, we were down the last half of last year, so we need to build as much confidence [offensively] as possible.”

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