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NFL '97 WEEK 2 | PITTSBURGH 14, WASHINGTON 13

Homecoming Is Bust for Frerotte

September 08, 1997|From Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — Gus Frerotte grew up wanting to complete passes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and win big games for them. This isn't what he had in mind.

Frerotte, the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins, had two passes intercepted in the end zone that stopped long drives in his team's 14-13 loss to the Steelers on Sunday.

Jerome Bettis ran for 134 yards and a touchdown against the NFL's worst rushing defense as the Steelers (1-1) bounced back from a 37-7 loss to Dallas in last weekend's season-opener at home.

"It was an opportunity for us to get that running game cranked up," said Bettis, a Pro Bowl running back who was held in check against the Cowboys. "We're a running football team, and we ran the clock and kept our defense off the field."

The Steelers' young secondary--burned frequently in the opener by the Cowboys' Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin--continued to have its problems as Frerotte had six completions of 20 yards or more.

But Frerotte helped the Steelers with the two end zone interceptions and a third from the Redskin 41 with 23 seconds remaining when Washington needed only a field goal to win.

"This is real hard to accept," Frerotte said. "This was a hard game to lose. We had a great opportunity, and we didn't win it."

Frerotte was particularly upset he couldn't win on a day when his father, Gus Sr., watched him play in person for the first time since undergoing a heart transplant last spring, and hundreds of friends and family members from nearby Ford City, Pa., were in the stands. Many of them wore T-shirts reading, "I Love Gus."

"I threw the ball well all day but when we'd get down there [inside the 20], we'd get three points or no points," said Frerotte, who worked out in the Steeler weight room in 1994 during a senior-year internship with the baseball Pirates. "That's more disappointing than anything."

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