The Steelers may have lost against the Eagles 24-23, but the final result was not the primary concern for the team. How they played the game and avoiding injury were far more important. Their first content was just that – a first game.
The first team offense, led by Ben Roethlisberger, only played one series and notched a field goal on a drive that elapsed nearly ten minutes. The short passing game was effective, but the running game looked lackluster. The majority of the offensive playbook obviously was left on the shelf for this game. Rookie offensive tackle Mike Adams and others had their difficulties against the “wide 9” 4-3 alignment that the Eagles showed. As a result, Roethlisberger was sacked twice on the 16-play opening drive.
Jonathan Dwyer and Chris Rainey each had one nice big run, but on the whole, the running game was pedestrian. Does that sound familiar? They couldn’t punch it across the goal line on back-to-back attempts by Baron Batch. So, the Steelers resorted to a short TD pass on third down from Byron Leftwich to Emmanuel Sanders.
Later in the game, Rainey was the recipient of a Jerrod Johnson screen pass and turned a short gain into a 57-yard touchdown, featuring nifty moves while darting in and out of traffic as we made his way to paydirt.
The top defensive unit shut down the Eagles on two series – including two ‘3 and outs.’ Steve McLendon also recorded a sack of Michael Vick to announce his candidacy to fill in as more than an adequate replacement while Casey Hampton is on the mend (recovering from ACL surgery during the offseason).
Curtis Brown, who is in the running for the #2 CB position got beaten on successive defensive plays for long touchdown passes by Philadelphia third string QB, Nick Foles. The first TD pass featured Damaris Johnson getting behind Brown and the entire secondary. The next play was a perfectly placed pass to the pylon that Mardy Gilyard hauled in for another TD.
Tight end / fullback David Johnson left with a possibly season-ending right knee injury.
Offensive tackle Mike Adams (rookie) left with a mild right knee injury.
Running back Jonathan Dwyer departed with a sprained shoulder.
About the Author
Written by Rob Stroup
I grew up in western Pennsylvania, so I have followed the Pittsburgh sports teams (Steelers, Penguins, Pirates) since the womb. It has become a tradition to make the yearly trek to a Steelers and Penguins game each year despite the distance. I hope to make writing a profession because I thoroughly enjoy attempting to paint a picture with words.