EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Pittsburgh Steelers may be fine without the suspended Ben Roethlisberger for the start of the season.
Byron Leftwich and Dennis Dixon combined to lead three long touchdown drives after Roethlisberger made his preseason debut and the Steelers beat the Giants 24-17 on Saturday night, spoiling New York's first home game in its new $1.6 billion stadium.
Roethlisberger, suspended for the opening six games of the regular season by commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, was solid in his first game since the suspension was announced. He completed six of eight passes for 76 yards and an interception and led the Steelers on a 13-play, 58-yard drive that lasted seven-plus minutes and ended in a 26-yard field goal by Jeff Reed. This was a quarterback mismatch. The Steelers (2-0) had three good ones while the Giants (1-1) had only third-stringer Rhett Bomar, with starter Eli Manning (stitches) and backup Jim Sorgi (shoulder) sidelined.
SAINTS 38, TEXANS 20: At New Orleans, Drew Brees led New Orleans to two touchdowns — handing off to Reggie Bush for a 9-yard scoring run and leaping over center from a yard out to put New Orleans up 14-0 in the first quarter.
RAIDERS 32, BEARS 17: At Chicago, Oakland reserve linebacker Slade Norris recovered a muffed punt in the end zone for a go-ahead TD and later blocked a punt for a safety.
BUCCANEERS 20, CHIEFS 15: At Tampa, Fla., Josh Freeman's preseason is over, and Tampa Bay (1-1) can only hope his injured thumb doesn't lead to another slow start when the real games begin. The second-year quarterback fractured the tip of the thumb on his throwing hand and will be sidelined at least until the opening week of the regular season.
RAVENS 23, REDSKINS 3: At Landover, Baltimore safety Haruki Nakamura took a direct snap on fourth-and-6 and juked his way 51 yards — all the way to the 1 — in the second quarter to set up the only touchdown scored by either first-team offense. The Redskins (1-1) had two starters leave with knee injuries: Fullback Mike Sellers hurt his left knee while blocking on a running play, and free safety Kareem Moore injured his right knee trying to catch up to Nakamura on the fake punt play.
JETS 9, PANTHERS 3: At Charlotte, N.C., Mark Sanchez was lucky to avoid two interceptions and failed to get New York (1-1) in the end zone despite great field position. And he still had the better night of the two starting quarterbacks.
COWBOYS 16, CHARGERS 14: At San Diego, Philip Rivers, Sam Diego's $93 million quarterback, chased Dallas safety Barry Church for about 70 yards before making a touchdown-saving tackle.
LIONS 25, BRONCOS 20: At Denver, many in the crowd came hoping to get a glimpse of Denver's future in Tim Tebow and instead got a peek at the past when former Bronco Dre' Bly's 47-yard interception return set up Detroit's first touchdown. Detroit third-stringer Drew Stanton's 25-yard touchdown run on a quarterback draw with 1:53 left was the difference. Brady Quinn drove the Broncos into Lions territory in the closing seconds before Willie Young stripped the ball away.
RAMS 19, BROWNS 17: At Cleveland, Josh Brown made a 28-yard field goal, his fourth field goal of the game, with 3:33 left to lift St. Louis (1-1). Jake Delhomme, making his home debut for Cleveland (1-1), was accurate and efficient in a steady first-half downpour, completing 12 of 16 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown before he was replaced in the second half by Seneca Wallace.