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Phoenix Flying High After 31-14 Win Over Pittsburgh

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

The Phoenix Cardinals own a 4-game winning streak and find themselves in sole possession of first place in the NFC East after Sunday’s 31-14 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Coach Gene Stallings isn’t celebrating just yet.

“It’s a lot better than being in last,” Stallings said. “But what’s important is what we do a few weeks from now. . . . We’re playing well and moving the ball and that’s what you want to see at this stage.”

Neil Lomax threw for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns as Phoenix moved to 4-2 and into first place, a half-game ahead of the New York Giants, who play Philadelphia tonight.

The Cardinals’ winning streak is their longest since 1984.

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The loss was the Steelers’ fifth straight and dropped their record to 1-5--their worst start in 19 years.

“It isn’t a very pretty picture,” Pittsburgh Coach Chuck Noll said. “We didn’t play well in any phase. The Cardinals shut us down everywhere and we had trouble completing passes. I expected this team to make progress and it just hasn’t happened.”

Lomax was 11 of 16 for 218 yards in the first half and finished 17 of 26 with an interception as the Cardinals beat the Steelers for the first time since 1969.

Phoenix, owners of the NFL’s second-best offense at 411.6 yards entering the game, had 388 Sunday, with Roy Green catching 4 passes for 119 yards and Smith getting 80 more on 8 receptions.

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Todd Blackledge made his regular-season debut at quarterback for Pittsburgh and completed just 8 of 20 passes for 114 yards before being relieved in the fourth quarter by Bono, who was 3 of 11 for 27 yards.

Blackledge was forced into the lineup after starter Bubby Brister dislocated the middle finger of his throwing hand last week.


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