Sunday, October 7, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Steelers 16, Eagles 14
By Dan Graziano
PITTSBURGH -- A few thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' last-second loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon.
What it means: A taste of their own medicine, as the Eagles lost the close game this time after the Steelers one-upped them on fourth-quarter drives. It was a sloppy game all around, and a tough loss in a tough place to play. But if you were waiting for the day all of the Eagles' mistakes were going to cost them one of these one-point or two-point games, Sunday was the day. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was impressive late, but he was awful enough in the first half to dig the Eagles a hole from which they could not escape.
Tale of two QBs: Vick was 7-for-12 for 70 yards in the first half, and he also rushed four times for 11 yards and lost two fumbles. Philadelphia trailed 10-0 at the half, and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had just put on a clinic in responsible, efficient quarterbacking with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that took 7:21 off the clock. It was a study in critical contrast. But out of nowhere in the fourth quarter, Vick and the Eagles topped it with a 17-play, 79-yard drive that bled 8:18 off the clock and gave them their first lead of the game with 6:33 left to play. On the drive, Vick was 7-for-10 for 57 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek. The Eagles converted two fourth downs and two third downs on the drive, including a third-and-goal from the 2. Had they played offense this way all game, they may have actually won somewhat easily.
For the defense: Roethlisberger was able to find some things in the Eagles' secondary, showcasing what an important part pressure plays in the Eagles' defensive schemes. Nnamdi Asomugha is not winning consistently enough in man coverage, and Antonio Brown had some fun against the Eagles' defensive backs. Philadelphia also struggled to contain Pittsburgh running back Rashard Mendenhall in his first game of the season, and they were unable to make the stops they needed to make on the drive that moved the Steelers into field goal range at the end of the game. For the second game in a row, the Eagles did not record a sack.
What's next: The Eagles host the Detroit Lions at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. The Lions (1-3) have lost three games in a row and are coming off their bye week. It will be the second consecutive week in which the Eagles' opponent was off the week before.