LANDOVER, Md. -- Willie Parker not only started last night, he stepped into the role as if he never left.
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians suggested last week that Parker would not take over the entire load at halfback in his first game since his knee was sprained Sept. 21.
Parker, however, carried 21 times for 70 yards and scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter.
Mewelde Moore went back to his role as the third-down back and also back to his role of being ignored in the first half. He had no carries and no receptions in the first half before he came alive in the second.
He carried a key third-down pass of seven yards from Byron Leftwich to the 1 to set up Parker's one-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter.
Leftwich completed a pass to Moore of 13 yards on the last play of the third quarter and went right back to Moore on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 25-yard completion.
Moore finished with 45 yards on three receptions and had four carries for minus-two.
The Washington Redskins have some of the most passionate devoted fans in the NFL, but they were heavily infiltrated by many Steelers fans waving terrible towels throughout.
Even the Redskins admitted they were surprised at the turnout of Steelers fans last night among the 90,512 at FedEx Field.
"I'll be honest with you, I was surprised," Washington coach Jim Zorn said. "It reminded me of the Super Bowl in 2005."
Said quarterback Jason Campbell, "I was surprised to see that many Steelers fans ...in our home stadium,''
No big change, says Miller
While the sack ratio against Ben Roethlisberger is up this season, tight end Heath Miller said he's not staying in to block more than in the past. "Not any more than normal," said Miller, who left the game in the second quarter for good with a sprained right ankle.
No Steelers receiver has reached 100 yards in one game this season. The last time a Steelers reached that mark in the regular season happened Nov. 5, 2007, when Santonio Holmes caught four passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-7 victory against Baltimore in Heinz Field.
Hines Ward had 135 yards on 10 receptions in their 31-29 loss to Jacksonville in the playoffs Jan. 5.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has spread the ball around this season. "You have to take your opportunities and run with them," said wide receiver Nate Washington. "You're not going to get many. It's a situation where this is an offense where anything might go. We've been doing a good job of trying to get everybody the ball this year."
The time of the Steelers' Nov. 16 game against San Diego was not affected in the first weekend of flex scheduling, the NFL announced yesterday. The Steelers and Chargers will kick off at 4:15 p.m. at Heinz Field.
Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and a busload of his players paid a visit Sunday to Walter Reed Army Medical Center shortly after their chartered jet landed. ... Among the political powers attending the game were two western Pennsylvania natives, former Gov. Tom Ridge and CIA Director Michael Hayden, who was quarterback for St. Peter's grade school on the North Side. His coach? Dan Rooney. ... Moore replaced Najeh Davenport as the deep kickoff return man for the Steelers. ... Tyrone Carter replaced injured Ryan Clark as the starting free safety, but he and Anthony Smith took turns playing the position every two series. ... Deshea Townsend's interception in the third quarter was the first for the Steelers in the past five games, and his first this season.
Steelers: Clark, offensive tackles Marvel Smith and Tony Hills, cornerback Bryant McFadden, linebackers Bruce Davis and Keyaron Fox, defensive end Orpheus Roye, and No. 3 quarterback Dennis Dixon.
Redskins: Wide receiver Malcolm Kelly, cornerback Shawn Springs, running back Ladell Betts, defensive ends Jason Taylor and Rob Jackson, offensive linemen Jason Fabini and Chad Rinehart, and No. 3 quarterback Colt Brennan.
Ed Bouchette can be reached at email@example.com .