Injuries set back Redskins in loss to Steelers

LANDOVER, Md. -- Jason Campbell limped down the hallway outside the Washington Redskins' locker room, favoring his bruised left knee and feeling a bit lucky. Inside, Marcus Washington wore a blue cast on his dislocated right elbow and tried to keep smiling. Out of sight was Mike Espy, out for the season with a ruptured kneecap.

As is often the case, injuries overshadowed results in an exhibition game. The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Redskins 12-10 in a game that included five field goals, one touchdown, and three scary moments.

Campbell was hit flush on the knee in the first quarter by Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel, who was assessed with a personal foul for a low hit on a quarterback in the pocket. Campbell grabbed his knee in pain and remained on the field for a couple of minutes before gingerly limping to the sideline. X-rays revealed only a bruise -- and no serious ligament damage that could ruin his season.

"The scary thing about it, when he hit me, it just felt awkward," Campbell said. "It felt weak, but after they started stretching and pulling on it a little bit, the strength got back into it. Right now it's just stiff and sore, so I expect a full recovery soon."

Campbell isn't sure how soon, but he should recover in time for the regular season. Washington was hoping the same thing as he kept usual sunny disposition while talking about his elbow, which popped out of place when it got caught between two helmets during a tackle.

"They're thinking a couple of weeks," said Washington, one of the defense's emotional leaders. "They'll be some setbacks every now and then. I'm glad I didn't hurt anything, like, major."

Espy, the favorite to make the roster as the No. 5 receiver, had his knee give out while running a pass route in the third quarter. He has a ruptured patella tendon.

After the game, Gibbs spent as much time on his review of how his team played -- defense good, offense not-so-good -- as he did on the injury report.

"It's the No. 1 thing I think about all the time," Gibbs said. "That's your dreaded fear."

Although the Redskins lost, they ended a streak of six preseason games without a touchdown from the first-string offense, albeit without first-string quarterback Campbell. Todd Collins, competing with Mark Brunell for the No. 2 job, completed a 7-yard pass to Brandon Lloyd to complete the drive in which Campbell was injured.

Meanwhile, new Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gave his starters their most extensive work so far this preseason, and the results showed there is more work to do.

Ben Roethlisberger, who worked only three series in the first two games, played the entire first half and completed eight of 12 passes for 87 yards. He was sacked once and had to scramble four times because of pressure.

"Like to see him perform better," Tomlin said. "Like to see the offense perform better, but that was a charged-up defense."

Roethlisberger led his only scoring drive at the end of the first half, and it was full of misfires and gifts from the Redskins defense. A missed tackle by cornerback Fred Smoot allowed a third-and-17 conversion on a pass to Santonio Holmes, and the drive ended in Jeff Reed's 21-yard field goal despite two first-and-goal opportunities -- the second following a penalty for illegal contact on a pass play. It also was Roethlisberger's only drive that featured the no-huddle offense on some plays, a tactic Tomlin hopes to use as a mid-game change-of-pace this season.

Both teams started makeshift offensive lines, and it showed in both the run and the pass. Pittsburgh's Willie Parker, who missed the first two games because of a knee injury, carried four times for 4 yards. Washington's Ladell Betts, getting the starting nod because of Clinton Portis' knee injury, ran six times for 12 yards.

The Redskins also allowed three sacks in the first half. Mike Pucillo started at left guard in place of Todd Wade, and rookie free agent Stephan Heyer was again at left tackle because of a knee injury to Chris Samuels. The Steelers started Trai Essex at left tackle in place of Marvel Smith (back), and Sean Mahan at center in place of Chukky Okobi (ribs).

The Redskins led 7-3 when the backups took over in the second half. Pittsburgh's Connor Hughes kicked two field goals in the fourth quarter, including the winner from 19 yards with 1:31 remaining.

"It was far from perfect in a lot of ways, but I liked the resiliency this team showed out there," Tomlin said. "We stayed in the fight and found a way to finish this football game."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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