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Insider Only Analysis: On the Eagles beat down of the Steelers Thursday night

foles EAGLES DELIVER A BEAT DOWN TO THE STEELERS
The Pittsburgh Steelers first teams on offense and defense looked great last Saturday vs the Buffalo Bills, but they weren’t facing a likely 5-11 team last night.
The Philadelphia Eagles, a playoff team from last season, delivered a total beat down on the Steelers first team in a 31-21 win. The final score looks closer than the game really was as this was a 40-7 type blow out when it came to how the Steelers first team was outplayed by the Eagles.
Nick Foles and Eagles first team offense put up 17 first half points against the Steelers first team defense, posting long scoring drives of 80, 77 yards on two of their first three drives and added a field goal at the end of the first half.
Foles night was done after the first half going 19 of 29 for 179 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Eagles first team offense was a great team to face for a so called dress rehearsal game and the Steelers were overmatched in all facets. The second half saw the Steelers first team forced to play late into the third quarter by their head coach because of how bad the team played in the first half and Pittsburgh didn’t have a prayer in stopping the Eagles second team offense led by quarterback Mark Sanchez. Yes, Mark Sanchez, the former Jets quarterback.
Sanchez shredded the Steelers first team defense, leading scoring drives of 60 and 80 yards in the third quarter with Sanchez completing 7 of 9 passes for 85 yards and posting a 106 passer rating.
The Eagles were able to do anything they wanted and LeSean McCoy only played in the first quarter. Philadelphia outscored the Steelers first team defense 31-7 and overall in the game Philadelphia had 36 first downs.
What we learned from Steelers defense vs Eagles:
Unless the James Harrison from 2008 is coming through that door, Pittsburgh is going to struggle against the pass vs a good offense on most days. Jarvis Jones continues to show little that he’s primed for a big season in bringing pressure from the edge. Top left tackles in this league continue to have their way with Jones and that continued last night.
Prior to injuring his knee, Jason Worilds provided pressure in getting the best of right tackle Allen Barbre but we know what Worilds is going to bring to the table, Jones not so much.
While of note in the secondary, Mike Mitchell’s play remains very concerning and he’s been a liability against the pass and the rush, and No. 1 cornerback Cortez Allen struggled mightily whether it was in coverage or missing tackles.
Philadelphia torched Pittsburgh through the air in the middle of the field with Foles going 11 of 13 for 115 yards between the numbers, according to Profootballfocus. It was a disastrous game for Ryan Shazier who gave up 6 catches, 70 yards in coverage. Shazier’s speed was neutralized against a fast Eagles team and what brought up a red flag was how the Eagles also neutralized Shazier when it came to the Steelers stopping the run. Shazier looked physically overmatched and the Steelers d-line did not do a solid job of opening tackling lanes for Shazier which needs to happen as he isn’t built like a Lawrence Timmons that can take on blockers.
When it comes to the defense, two long-term questions still remain:
1. Is the pass rush going to be consistent enough to off-set a below average secondary?
2. Can the Steelers stop the run? With a mediocre D-line, no signs of it yet.
FIVE TAKEAWAYS
1. The highlight of the Steelers night was a video posted by Snoop Dogg on Todd Haley. Put your ear muffs on kids.
2. When it comes to evaluating this team for the regular season, the defense was most concerning just because some of the issues from last year look to still be there. The offense was just as out of sync and couldn’t do anything until the Eagles put their second team in, but you have to take into account how bad Ben Roethlisberger played and that’s not the norm.
3. Two keys for the Steelers: Heath Miller looks great, fully back and Antonio Brown has picked up where he left off last season. Both looked primed for big seasons.

4. Antwon Blake and Troy Polamalu were among the few defenders who graded out the best last night for Pittsburgh.
5. Two reserves had important games: Bruce Gradkowski who has had a poor camp, had his best showing of the preseason going 8/11 for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Darrius Heyward-Bey, 3 catches for 54 yards, including a 33 yard touchdown. Heyward-Bey got no time with the first team but Justin Brown has done nothing in the preseason and Martavis Bryant’s inconsistencies leave the door open to add a veteran WR.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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