Friday, August 10, 2012

Notes From Eagles’ 24-23 Win Over Pittsburgh


The Philadelphia Eagles kicked off the preseason on Thursday night with a 24-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers scored 13 unanswered points in the first half, but the Nick Foles and Trent Edwards were able to guide the Eagles on three touchdown drives in the second half to take the lead late in the game.
  • The first defensive series was a mixed bag for the Eagles’ defense. The Steelers had little trouble moving the ball, hitting Juan Castillo’s unit with a number of quick, methodical strikes resulting in a slow successful drive.The defense was able to make several plays at different points in the drive, but they had some trouble getting off of the field (allowing two third-down conversions).
  • The opening Pittsburgh drive chewed up nearly 10 minutes of the first quarter.
  • Phillip Hunt needs some strong showings in the preseason to lock up his roster spot, and he made a big play on the opening drive to sack Ben Roethlisberger. Hunt came back on the second possession, and forced a fumble on backup quarterback Byron Leftwich. He also made several plays against the run.
  • Derek Landri, one of last year’s pleasant surprises, created a sack with great penetration on the opening drive. Landri broke through the line, and chased Roethlisberger into the arms of Daryl Tapp
  • Nnamdi Asomugha didn’t to much to inspire confidence. He allowed a critical completion on the first drive. He couldn’t decide whether he wanted to cover the receiver  or the running back. The former Pro-Bowler should be much more decisive than that. The completion kept the drive alive, and set the Steelers up for their first field goal.
  • Asomugha was later beat on a simple inside slant route to Antonio Brown, which produced another first down.
  • Asomugha was responsible for yet another breakdown in the redzone, turning Brown loose again to set up an easy touchdown.
  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie tackles just as well as Asante Samuel. He doesn’t like to wrap up, and prefers to launch himself into opposing players, looking for a big hit. For the Eagles’ sake, he better turn out to be just as much of a playmaker.
  • Mychal Kendricks was around the football. He was one of the fastest players on the field tonight. His best play came in the second quarter when he used his speed to kill a screen play.
  • Run defense was particularly poor in the second Pittsburgh drive. Two straight plays, the Eagles’ run defense was gashed for two big runs that set up the first touchdown.
  • Brandon Graham played well, picking up a sack and several quarterback hurries.
  • Vinny Curry didn’t see major action until the second half, but he made his presence known. Curry played hard, and stuffed the run on several plays.
  • Cedric Thornton had a strong game. He was quick off of the ball, and got to the quarterback on several occasions.
Special Teams
  • Brandon Boykin made a good first impression as the team’s kick returner. The rookie took his first kickoff from eight yards deep in the endzone and turned it into a 46-yard return.
  • The Eagles want to give Damaris Johnson every opportunity to make this team. They started the rookie with the first team, and threw to him on the first play. Johnson had a nice punt return in the second quarter that was called back on a penalty. He’s an explosive athlete, and has a real chance to make this team.
  • I was glad to see Alex Henery get an opportunity to hit a game-winning field goal. Henery wasn’t challenged with many clutch field goals in his rookie year, it was very encouraging to see the former fourth round pick come through in a pressure situation.
  • Johnson would also catch four passes for 85 yards and a 70-yard touchdown from Nick Foles in the third quarter.
  • Johnson’s only blemish was that he dropped a catchable ball in the second quarter. He appeared to be concerned about the Pittsburgh safety coming his way, lost his concentration, and dropped the ball.
  • Michael Vick was on the field for a grand total of six plays, and wasn’t particularly impressive in any of them. He was unsettled in the pocket, and forced a throw to Clay Harbor on the second drive.
  • Mike Kafka was easily the worst of the four quarterbacks tonight. He made an inexcusable mistake in the second quarter, forcing a throw into pressure, resulting in an interception thrown to a defensive lineman.
  • Nick Foles was the offensive star in tonight’s game. The rookie looked confident and poised in the pocket, and led the team on back-to-back scoring drives to gain the lead in the third quarter. He made a great read on a broken play to hit Damaris Johnson for a 70-yard touchdown, and made another nice throw to Mardy Gilyard for a score on the following drive.
  • Nice showing for Dion Lewis. He seemed to see the field very well, and made some good, decisive runs.
  • Bryce Brown looked very good in the second half. He had a couple of strong runs, and also had a nice catch in the flat that he turned into a first down. He seems to have the lead for the third-string running back position.
  • Trent Edwards was steady in the fourth quarter. The veteran threw a touchdown pass on a drive to take the lead late in the game. He also took the team on two-minute drill in the final minutes of the the game and gave his team a chance to win.

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