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Steelers 38, Saints 31

Updated:
PITTSBURGH (AP) Everything seemed to be going all wrong again for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They lost two key defensive starters, then a 14 point lead. For a change, they didn't lose this game. Willie Parker broke free on runs of 72 and 76 yards to set up his own two short scoring runs in the 2nd half, Ben Roethlisberger threw 3 touchdown passes and the Steelers rallied after giving away a big lead to beat the New Orleans Saints 38-31 on Sunday.

Parker, who complained after a 31-20 loss to Denver last week that some teammates weren't as hungry or as focused as they were in winning the Super Bowl last season, couldn't be faulted for his effort. He had 213 yards on 22 carries, with scoring runs of 3 and 4 yards in the 2nd half. He finished 5 yards short of the team record 218 yards rushing by John ``Frenchy'' Fuqua against Philadelphia in 1970.

The Saints (6-3) had rallied to lead 17-14 on first-round draft pick Reggie Bush's 15 yard touchdown run on a double reverse, with Bush tumbling over safety Ryan Clark to reach the end zone. They led again 24-17 on Deuce McAllister's 4 yard run during a 72 yard drive that Brees needed only one minute to execute late in the 1st half.

Brees was 31-47 for 399 yards, with rookie Marques Colston making 10 catches for 169 yards, but the Saints turned over the ball three times to Pittsburgh's none. The Steelers went into the day with an NFL leading 24 turnovers.

The Steelers (3-6) played most of the final 3 quarters without two starting defensive backs, All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu and cornerback Deshea Townsend, with concussions. The injuries forced coach Bill Cowher to go far down the bench for backups, especially with the Steelers frequently using five defensive backs to counter Brees' throwing.
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