By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There is something so “we’ve seen this before” about every Eagles game so far this season. In the case of Sunday’s game against the Steelers, we had seen it before three times this season alone. The difference in this game was the ending.
Michael Vick turnovers, check. A Michael Vick fourth quarter comeback drive, check. Finally, a missed field goal to win it?! No check.
The Steelers, regardless of their troubles so far this season, have been spectacular at home against NFC opponents. Still, this game feels like one the Eagles should have had.
Gold Star #1 – Michael Vick
Vick completed 66% of his passes (20-30), threw two touchdown passes, and did not throw an interception. His quarterback rating for the game was 104.2, which was his highest of the season. In the fourth quarter, down 13-7, Vick led the team down the field for yet another fourth quarter touchdown to take the lead.
Demerit #1 – Michael Vick
Vick fumbled three times, and lost two of them. You’d like to think this is bad luck, as fumble recoveries are random. The Steelers also fumbled three times on Sunday (one by Roethlisberger, one by Mendenhall, one by Pouncey) but lost none of them, which is certainly worth noting. That said, it definitely seems like opposing teams have focused on Vick and his unsure hands, and if whatever is wrong doesn’t get fixed soon, the Eagles will come up on the short end of the stick more times than not.
Gold Star #2 – The Eagles Defense
The Eagles allowed only one touchdown, and 16 points overall. They caused three fumbles, but unfortunately recovered none of them.
Demerit #2 – The Eagles Defense
Oh Wide 9, what has happened to you? The Eagles recorded zero sacks on Roethlisberger, after he had been sacked nine times in the previous three games. They hit Roethlisberger just three times, two of them by Brandon Graham, and none of them by Jason Babin, Trent Cole, or any other defensive lineman. In addition, they allowed the Steelers to drive 64 yards (14 plays, eight of them runs) in 6:33 to put themselves in position for the game winning field goal. The Eagles allowed 136 yards on the ground in 31 attempts, by a team who was previously averaging 2.6 yards per carry. The Steelers did get Mendenhall back, but his 5.8 yards per carry is probably more than he should have had his first game back from injury.
Gold Star #3 – The Eagles Coaching Staff
Once again the Eagles started the game committed to running the ball, and throwing short passes to keep themselves out of trouble, and driving the ball. Castillo and the defensive staff put in a solid game plan that generally kept the Steelers from scoring points.
Demerit #3 – The Eagles Coaching Staff
Through five games in 2011, the Eagles had 16 sacks. You might say, “well they stunk the first five games of the season,” and that’s fair. In the final four games of 2011, the Eagles had 17 sacks, and were 4-0 in those games. Through five games in 2012, the Eagles have seven sacks, including zero against the Steelers. There didn’t seem to be any adjustment made during the game to get more pressure on Roethlisberger. As far as the offense goes, the short passes are great, but how is it possible that there is never anyone open down the field?
honorable mentions: none
dishonorable mentions: Nnamdi Asomugha