October 31, 2004

Bush, Kerry in Tight Sprint to Finish

President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry sprinted for the finish on Sunday in a deadlocked battle for the White House, as Kerry appealed for change and Bush asked voters to "stand with me."

White House Race a Dead Heat - Reuters Poll

President Bush and Democratic Sen. John Kerry are tied nationwide in a tense race for the White House, but Kerry leads in six of 10 battleground states, according to Reuters/Zogby polls released on Sunday.

Steelers End Patriots' Win Streak, 34-20

PITTSBURGH - Ben Roethlisberger, a rookie quarterback who seemingly doesn't know how to lose, drove the Steelers to four scores following uncharacteristic New England turnovers and Pittsburgh ended the Patriots' two long winning streaks with a remarkably easy 34-20 victory Sunday.

The Patriots had won 21 straight counting the playoffs and a league-record 18 in a row in the regular season, but were all but out of this one after Roethlisberger — still unbeaten as an NFL starter — threw two touchdown passes to Plaxico Burress in the first quarter.

Maybe all this winning was too much to ask of Boston-area teams. With running back Corey Dillon sitting out and Pro Bowl cornerback Ty Law (foot) sidelined for all but a few plays, the Patriots' winning streaks ended only four days after the Boston Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.

With Tom Brady throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble, New England's run ended with its first loss since a 20-17 defeat to Washington on Sept. 28, 2003. But Roethlisberger upped his personal winning streak to 18. He won his final 13 at Miami of Ohio last season following an opening-game loss, and now is only the second rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger to win his first NFL five starts.

Mike Kruczek won six straight for the injured Terry Bradshaw for the 1976 Steelers, never once throwing a touchdown pass; Roethlisberger already has nine in what is fast becoming the best season by an NFL rookie QB since Dan Marino threw 20 touchdown passes and only six interceptions in 11 games for the 1983 Dolphins.

Next up for Pittsburgh — or, as they're calling it now, Roethlis-burgh — is unbeaten Philadelphia, 7-0 for the first time. The Steelers' 6-1 start is their best since their '78 team was 7-0, and they lead the Ravens (4-3) by two games in the AFC North.

It may be of little consolation, but New England's 6-1 record also equals the best start in franchise history.

Roethlisberger's already showing a lot of Bradshaw-like qualities: a strong arm and an innate ability to seize upon an opponent's mistake — or, in this case, four big mistakes. He was 18 of 24 for 196 yards and no interceptions Sunday and is 39 of 49 in his last two games.

Everything looked status quo early for the Patriots, who overcame Dillon's absence following two consecutive 100-yard games to drive for Adam Vinatieri's 43-yard field goal, the 15th straight game they've scored first.

After that, it fell apart.

Dexter Reed appeared to have downed Josh Miller's punt inside the Steelers 5, but inadvertently kicked the ball into the end zone for a touchback. Roethlisberger then hit Hines Ward for 21 yards ahead of a perfectly thrown 47-yard scoring pass to a stretched-out Burress. Burress quickly shed cornerback Randall Gay, who had just come in for the injured Law.

It never got any better for the Patriots, playing here for the first time since upsetting Pittsburgh 24-17 in the AFC championship game in January 2002.

On New England's next play, Brady fumbled after a hard hit from Joey Porter, leading to Roethlisberger's 4-yard pass to Burress in the left front corner of the end zone and a 14-3 lead.

Just 16 seconds later, Brady, hit by Larry Foote and Kimo von Oelhoffen, threw the ball directly to Deshea Townsend for a 39-yard interception touchdown, and it was 21-3 almost before New England fans had put down their signs from Saturday's Red Sox victory parade.

Duce Staley ran for 125 yards in his fourth 100-yard game of the season, two more than the 6-10 Steelers had all last season.

Late Singer Clooney's Home May Be Museum

AUGUSTA, KY - Late singer and actress Rosemary Clooney's old Kentucky home could soon be turned into a museum displaying memorabilia from her singing career under a plan proposed by her one-time neighbor, former Miss America Heather French Henry.

Henry and her husband, former Kentucky Lt. Gov. Steve Henry, said they plan to buy the home within the next two weeks, renovate it for use as a public museum and also live in it part-time with their two children.

Heather French Henry grew up just three blocks away before moving to Maysville and said Clooney served as a mentor to her when she was Miss America 2000.

"Augusta and Maysville were the only places where we could get away and breathe," Henry said. "I would like my children to get what I got from Augusta."

The two-story brick home was built in 1835 along the Ohio River. Clooney bought it in 1980 and lived there when she wasn't on the road performing or at her main residence in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Clooney, a Maysville native and the aunt of actor George Clooney, had No. 1 hits in the 50s including "Come On-a My House" and enjoyed a resurgence of popularity late in life that resulted in four nominations for the Grammy award.

She was 74 when she died of lung cancer in 2002.

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