It was like old times for Kordell Stewart. Ditto Desmond Howard.

Both put on performances reminiscent of their college days in Sunday night's NFL exhibition game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.

Howard's legs meant just a bit more to Green Bay than Stewart's arm did to Pittsburgh as the Packers prevailed over the Steelers 24-17.

``Just before I went out there, Brett Favre asked me who's return it was,'' Howard said. ``And I said it was mine. Then he asked me if I could take one to the house. And I said, `Yeah.'''

Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner at Michigan, returned a punt 77 yards in the third period to give the Packers a 21-14 lead the Steelers could never overcome.

To end the opening half, Stewart had tossed a desperation pass that Corey Holliday grabbed in the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown play. The play was reminiscent of Stewart's 64-yard TD pass to Michael Westbrook with six seconds left that gave Colorado a 27-26 upset of Michigan in 1994.

``The pass and the concept and everything were close to the same thing,'' said Stewart, who ran in the 2-point conversion, pulling Pittsburgh (1-2) to 14-11 at halftime. ``When they called it, I was happy. I figured we had a chance.''

In Sunday's other NFL exhibition game, Chicago beat Miami 24-21.

In exhibition games Saturday, it was: Kansas City 42, New Orleans 6; Baltimore 37, the New York Giants 27; Tampa Bay 16, Atlanta 0; Houston 16, Indianapolis 12; Denver 40, Carolina 28; San Francisco 16, San Diego 13 in overtime; and Arizona 13, Cincinnati 10.

New England plays at Dallas tonight.

Howard took Shayne Edge's punt at his 23 and raced down the right sideline with 42 seconds left in the third quarter.

``I just wanted to beat the punter and then I saw the guys coming out of the corner of my eye, so I did my Michael Johnson to get past them,'' Howard said. ``That's what they brought me here for.''

With Green Bay's glut at receiver, Howard's heroics before a crowd of 59,284 _ the largest ever for an exhibition at Lambeau Field _ probably earned him a role on special teams for the Packers (2-0). Howard has been an NFL disappointment in Washington and Jacksonville, and he sat out 20 practices and the Packers' exhibition opener with a hip pointer.

Meanwhile, Stewart earned some points in his fight for the No. 1 quarterback spot on the Steelers (1-2). Stewart is competing with Mike Tomczak and Jim Miller for the job vacated by Neil O'Donnell, who signed a $24 million deal with the New York Jets.

``There has been no pecking order through the course of this process,'' Steelers coach Bill Cowher said. ``And I'm going to make a decision when this thing's all said and done.''

Stewart completed 13 of 25 passes for 196 yards, but threw two interceptions.

``There were some things I could have done a little bit better, but I think I did OK,'' Stewart said.

Bears 24, Dolphins 21

In Chicago, Kevin Butler kicked a 22-yard field goal on the final play to boost the Bears over Miami.

It was the second exhibition meeting _ and second Bears' win _ between Miami coach Jimmy Johnson and Chicago coach Dave Wannstedt, his good friend and former assistant.

``We wanted to win the football game,'' Wannstedt said. ``The most important thing was we had a nice drive with our backup offense and we got into position to kick the field goal.''

Although the Dolphins rallied from a 19-0 deficit to lead 21-19, Johnson wasn't pleased with his team's play.

``We had some dumb penalties _ that's going to happen,'' Johnson said. ``You're going to have some sloppy play when you're playing a lot of players in the preseason. But it was too sloppy.''

The Dolphins (1-1) were penalized 10 times for 65 yards, while the Bears (1-1) had 12 penalties for 125 yards.

Chiefs 42, Saints 6

At Kansas City, Mo., the Chiefs proved their defense may be even better than the unit that led the AFC in 1995. Kansas City hasn't allowed a touchdown in its first two exhibition games.

The Saints' only points came on a pair of long field goals by Doug O'Brien. The Chiefs also gave up just two field goals in their exhibition opener, a 32-6 win over Dallas.

Donnell Bennett and Greg Hill scored on short runs for the Chiefs, who got their last TD on a 41-yard fumble return by rookie Reggie Tongue.

Cardinals 13, Bengals 10

At Tempe, Ariz., the Cardinals tied the game on Kent Graham's 19-yard TD pass to Kevin Jordan early in the fourth quarter and won it on Greg Davis' 31-yard field goal with one second left.

49ers 16, Chargers 13, OT

At San Francisco, Jeff Brohm threw for a tying TD on the last play of regulation and Jeff Wilkins, who had missed three field goals and botched an extra point, made the winning 43-yarder with no time left in overtime.

Oilers 16, Colts 12

At Houston, Donald Hollas threw a 2-yard scoring pass to Matt Nyquist with 3:25 left as the Oilers won before 12,851, their smallest crowd ever at the Astrodome.

Broncos 40, Panthers 28

At Denver, Aaron Craver ran for two touchdowns and Jason Elam kicked four field goals, all from at least 40 yards away.

Ravens 37, Giants 27

At East Rutherford, N.J., Baltimore's new team gained 427 yards and blew the game open by scoring on its first three possessions of the second half.

Buccaneers 16, Falcons 0

At Tampa, Fla., Trent Dilfer, the NFL's lowest-rated starting QB last season, completed 11 of 15 passes for 172 yards and one touchdown.