After months of waiting, it was finally here. Yes, it's just preseason, but man was it great to see the black and gold back on the field.
Steelers win the toss and elect to receive.
The Steelers come out with a screen pass that actually worked. Yes. Read that again. A screen pass. That worked. Holy crap the Haley Era is off to a great start.
Ben hits Johnson out of the backfield to convert a 3rd and short and the opening drive is rolling. The Steelers work it out to midfield where Ben gets sacked on 2nd down but comes back and does his Ben thing, hitting Rainey over the middle to get close to the sticks. Red Zone Redman moves the sticks on 4th and 1. Ben gets sacked again, setting up another 3rd and long, but Ben scrambles away again and is able to hit Manny Sanders down the sideline to move the chains once again. The drive stalls out at the 30 and Suisham comes out and drills one from 46.
Nothing like a 10-minute drive to start the preseason.
Leftwich comes in and gets the ball knocked out of his hand, but Adams falls on it for his 2nd fumble recovery of the game. On 3rd and long, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie throws the EXACT SAME hit on Leftwich that Harrison threw on Colt McCoy last year. Your move, Goodell.
AB snags one on a perfect 3-step drop slant as the quarter expires.
Chris Have You Ever Seen the Rainey takes a draw handoff on 3rd and long and spins out of a tackle and scampers for 14 and a first down. Wow. Haley keeps pounding it, coming back with Dwyer to the left who catches a great downfield block from Sanders and gets all the way down inside the 5. Baron Batch gets the first 2 carries of his career, but can;t get anywhere. Leftwich nails Sanders in the gut on a slant on 3rd down for the touchdown.
The defense forces anothe 3-and-out, with Brandon Johnson making a good play to bring down Shady in space.
Jeff Verzyla shows off those Unusual Combination he learned at Allegheny College and gives us an injury update - Adams (knee) and Dwyer (shoulder). Leftwich's second series is unimpressive as he gets sacked. Punt.
Gregor Samsa awoke one morning and found himself playing quarterback for the Eagles. He is able to do what Vick couldn't - actually move them down the field. The replacement refs make a horrible call on Will Allen when he hand-checks a receiver after a dropped pass. Big-time flop by the receiver to draw the call. The refs give t back with a holding call on the next play. Two plays later, DE Al Woods reads a screen pass beautifully and steps right in front of the pass. The big man rumbles all the way down to the 5 but gets tripped up from behind.
The offense can't cash it in, and have to settle for 3.
The Eagles sputter out with under a minute to go, and the Steelers run it out. Man, the Steelers dominated in time of possession in that first half.
Nick Foles came in at quarterback for the Eagles in the second half. A holding penalty pretty much ends that threat.
A penalty on the punt return sets us back inside the 5. Former Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson takes the reigns of the offense. Edmund Nelson, who either did no prep work for this game (because the Steelers said earlier this week that Johnson would get the whole 2nd half and Batch probably wouldn't play) or was just trying to manufacture drama, asks if we should read anything into Johnson playing over Batch. Head, meet desk. Oh yeah, the Steelers went 3-and-out but Drew Butler boomed a 61-yard punt.
Cortez Allen makes a heck of a diving play to break up a pass on 3rd down and force a punt.
The Eagles reserve defensive line dominated out reserve offensive line. That's really all that happened.
Terrence Johnson, who seemingly was the Eagles only receiver in this game, gets wide open behind the safeties as Sylvester whiffs on a sack and Foles guns one to him deep over the middle for an easy touchdown.
Vinny Curry, who I was really high on coming out of Marshall in the draft this spring was all over the field for the Eagles. The Steelers line still couldn't block.
Foles comes right out and goes play-action and hits Marty Gilyard (half of Pittsburgh vomits every time they hear that name) down the sideline with an excellent throw. Andy Reid challenges that he was down at the 1 and the call is overturned - touchdown.
Curtis Brown got victimized there.
Steelers offense looks like it isn't going to do anything, but Jerrod Johnson scrambles his way to a first down on 3rd and long and the offense starts rolling. Johnson hits Chris Who'll Stop the Rainey on a swing pass and he zips and zooms through pretty much the whole Eagles defense, making his way down the sideline and all the way to paydirt. What a player.
The Eagles move the ball a little bit but stall out just across midfield.
Baron Batch makes his best run of the game as he gets us out of the shadow of our goalposts.
Batch can't pick up a 3rd and 1 and it's punt time again.
The teams trade punts as the clock winds under 9 minutes.
Trent Edwards comes in for Philly and goes back to the short passing game and the Eagles pick their way down the field into the red zone. OLB Adrian Robinson got some good pressure on Edwards all drive but never quite got home. Rather than kicking a field goal, the Eagles elect to go for it on 4th and 2 inside the 20. Some guy makes two Steelers miss out in space and scampers into the end zone.
Johnson comes back in with 5 minutes and change to work with. Johnson makes a big-time back shoulder throw to Tyler Beiler to get us across midfield. Batch makes some nice runs to move the chains and push us into field goal range. The Eagles use their timeouts as the clock winds down towards the two minute warning. KDKA pulls a ROOT Sports and misses the field goal attempt because they're at commercial. UDFA Daniel Hrapmann connects from 43. Nice debut kick.
Trent Edwards, who has 33 career starts since he was drafted in 2007, is on mop-up duty with the Eagles. Edwards might have more NFL experience than everyone on the field combined, and it showed. He worked short, sideline passes all the way down the field, moving the Eagles (who were out of timeouts) across midfield with just under a minute to go. Edwards converts a 4th and 4 on a hitch route with 35 seconds left at the 32. A spike and two incompletions later brings out Alex Henery (who I absolutely loved in the 2011 Draft). He absolutely drills a 51-yard field goal right down the middle and that was all she wrote.
Johnson gets two cracks at the Hail Mary, but the line fails him on both occasions. Game.
Players of the Game
Offensive Game Ball: Chris Rainey
Defensive Game Ball: Al Woods
- Great to see Baron Batch finally get his chance in a game. What a story for what he's been through. Can't help but root for the kid. Batch looked like he got better as the game went on.
- Chris Rainey made the team tonight. Book it.
- David Johnson might have a torn ACL. Puke. He looked fantastic early in the game as a blocking back.
- Was listening to the radio at some point during the game. Tunch and Bill Hillgrove had a fantastic exchange on Chris Rainey:
Bill: Back to receive the kick the sensational rookie Chris Rainey. Is sensational too strong a word to use for a rookie?
Tunch: Yes. Pretty good.
Bill: Okay, Athletic.
Radio Announcers are so much better than TV announcers it's not even funny.