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Steelers' Winning Streak Is at Nine

November 29, 2004|From Associated Press

The Washington Redskins wish they were getting as much offense from their starters as the streaking Pittsburgh Steelers are from their backups.

Antwaan Randle El, making only his second NFL start at receiver, took care of the big plays and Jerome Bettis again handled the short yardage in his fourth consecutive 100-yard game to lead the Steelers past Washington, 16-7, on Sunday.

The Steelers' nine-game winning streak is their longest since they won their final nine in 1976. They are 10-1 for the first time since 1975, the second of their four Super Bowl championship seasons.

"We're 10-1, and that would have been hard to picture," guard Alan Faneca said. "We've got a nice little thing going."

Just like those Steel Curtain days of the 1970s, the Steelers are increasingly relying on the NFL's top-ranked defense as opponents come up with ways to contain unbeaten quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The rookie had his second consecutive low-production game (nine for 20, 131 yards, four sacks) while constantly sidestepping Washington's pass rush, but it hardly made any difference, even as Pittsburgh was held to 207 yards.

Randle El scampered through the Redskins' coverage team on punt returns of 60 and 43 yards to set up two first-half scores -- Bettis' four-yard touchdown run, his 11th of the season, and the first of Jeff Reed's three field goals on a blustery day.

Randle El, making a spot start for the injured Plaxico Burress (hamstring), also made two catches for 37 yards and drew a 32-yard pass-interference penalty.

Bettis started when Duce Staley unexpectedly sat out a fourth consecutive game because of a sore hamstring, and responded with 100 yards in 31 carries. His 47th 100-yard game matched Franco Harris' team record.

The Redskins (3-8), headed for one of the lowest-scoring seasons in NFL history, were held to 156 yards and to single-digit scoring for a second consecutive game. They haven't scored more than 18 points in a game this season.

New York Jets 13, Arizona 3 -- Quincy Carter left because of a head injury after the third play of the game but returned to throw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss to lift the Jets at Tempe, Ariz.

Curtis Martin carried 24 times for 99 yards, and Doug Brien kicked field goals of 28 and 46 yards for the Jets (8-3).

Martin and Emmitt Smith brought 30,817 career rushing yards into the game -- the most by two backs playing in the same contest in NFL history. But Smith wasn't around long, injuring a toe on his left foot late in the first quarter. He played in the next series, then left the game for good.

Arizona (4-7) managed only a 20-yard field goal by Neil Rackers as the first half ended.

Buffalo 38, Seattle 9 -- Willis McGahee had 116 yards rushing and four touchdowns at Seattle as the Bills handed Coach Mike Holmgren his worst loss in his six seasons with the Seahawks (6-5).

Drew Bledsoe offset his three interceptions by passing for 275 yards and a touchdown, and the Bills (5-6) ended a six-game road losing streak dating to last season.

McGahee led the way behind an offensive line that dictated the pace all day. He scored on a pair of two-yard runs, took a lateral from Bledsoe for a 30-yard touchdown and added a one-yard scoring run midway through the fourth quarter.

Seattle's Matt Hasselbeck returned from a bruised thigh that sidelined him last week. Though he didn't seem slowed by the injury, he never could establish any tempo for Seattle's offense.

Shaun Alexander, the NFL's leading rusher, was held to 39 yards in 13 carries.

Miami 24, San Francisco 17 -- Randy McMichael caught a 15-yard touchdown pass with 10 minutes 35 seconds to play, and the 49ers (1-10) fumbled five times in the fourth quarter at San Francisco, leaving them as the league's only one-win team.

Capped by Derrick Pope's one-yard fumble return for the clinching touchdown with 3:10 left, the Dolphins (2-9) scored 17 points off fumbles in the fourth quarter to get the first victory for interim Coach Jim Bates and starting quarterback A.J. Feeley.

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