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Saints Keep Calling Deuce's Number in Win

October 07, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — The Pittsburgh Steelers haven't stopped anybody all season, and Deuce McAllister was no different.

The second-year running back rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns in 23 carries as the New Orleans Saints held off Pittsburgh, 32-29, Sunday.

"It was a very poor defensive effort," Steeler Coach Bill Cowher said. "There were too many big plays. I don't even think they punted until the fourth quarter. I'm very disappointed in how we performed defensively."

The Steelers came in ranked 24th in the NFL in total defense, and McAllister took advantage. New Orleans (4-1) has won all three games this season when McAllister runs for 100 yards.

"When you can run your offense and don't have to throw it every time, they can't tee off on you," McAllister said.

Steeler quarterback Tommy Maddox, the MVP of the XFL in its only season, made his first NFL start since 1992.

A first-round flop in Denver, Maddox played well in place of the benched Kordell Stewart, but the Pittsburgh defense was riddled again.

The Steelers (1-3) were shredded for big passing days by Tom Brady and Rich Gannon earlier this season.

Saint safety Sammy Knight thwarted a late fourth-quarter drive when he intercepted Maddox.

The Steelers then drove 47 yards, and Maddox hit Terance Mathis with a 14-yard touchdown pass. Maddox found Hines Ward for the two-point conversion to bring Pittsburgh to 32-29 with 1:26 left.

The onside kick was recovered by the Saints, however, and New Orleans ran out the clock.

Maddox completed 22 of 38 passes for a career-high 268 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted once and sacked four times.

"For whatever reason, we were able to make third downs," Maddox said. "We feel good about ourselves. When you stay on the field you're able to see things better and make big plays."

New Orleans' Aaron Brooks was 14 for 24 for 207 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked twice.

The Steelers finally got their running game going after averaging 79.7 yards coming in. Jerome Bettis ran for 84 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, and Pittsburgh gained 120 yards on the ground.

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