McFadden too late with great play
By John Harris
Friday, August 29, 2008
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• Bryant McFadden may have waited too late to make a serious bid for the starting left cornerback slot, but McFadden was all over the field Thursday night. McFadden made a nice breakup of a Carolina pass intended for Dwayne Jarrett in the first quarter. McFadden, who plays behind Deshea Townsend, reached in and swatted the ball away on first-and-10 from the Steelers' 42. In the second quarter, McFadden intecepted another pass intended for Jarrett, this time on third-and-12, and returned it 31 yards to the Carolina 41. Six plays later, Jeff Reed kicked a 41-yard field goal, giving the Steelers a 10-3 lead. On McFadden's inteception, right cornerback Ike Taylor executed an all-out outside blitz, forcing quarterback Matt Moore to step up in the pocket before releasing the ball.
• Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger appeared in two series and was on the field for eight plays. Roethlisberger did not attempt a pass, but the Steelers did operate from a no-huddle on their second series. For the preseason, Roethlisberger was 21-of-30 (70 percent) for 245 yards, two touchdeowns, one interception and a 102.8 passer rating.
• Lawrence Timmons started at right inside linebacker in place of Larry Foote, who was sidelined with a knee injury. Linebacker Mike Humpal (stinger) and safety Ryan Mundy (ankle) did not dress.
• Rookie running back Rashard Mendenhall fumbled for the second consecutive game. Mendenhall's fumble, which followed a 12-yard run in the second quarter, was recovered by former Steelers cornerback Ricardo Colclough.
• Another Steelers rookie, receiver Limas Sweed, nearly made a spectacular leaping grab in the back of the end zone on a bomb from backup quarterback Byron Leftwich in the second quarter. Sweed got both of his feet down after making the catch, but replays showed that his body touched out of bounds first. Later in the quarter, a wide-open Sweed, who has struggled with drops all preseason, dropped a perfect pass from Leftwich.
• Running back Willie Parker, who averaged 2.9 yards per carry in the first three preseason games, rushed four times for 34 yards (8.5 yards per carry).
• Punter Paul Ernster may have kicked himself out of a job last night. Ernster, who was averaging 44.3 yards per punt in preseason, shanked a 22-yarder in the second quarter.
John Harris can be reached at [email="email@example.com"]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email] or 412-481-5432.