This is probably the one positive Eagles photo of the night. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Preseason week two could not have been more different from preseason week one for the Eagles and Steelers. Pittsburgh laid an egg against the Redskins last week, while the Eagles manhandled the Ravens (especially on defense). This week however, both teams did a 180. The Steelers just dominated both sides of the ball. We'll do more analysis in the next few days, but there's really not much to say. Nothing about the defense or offense looked good.
"Obviously we weren't ready to play." Todd Herremans said after the game, "We went out there and they kicked our ass."
The defense could not stop the run and while they did get three sacks in the first half, they also gave up three big passing TDs. They couldn't get off the field on third downs, Casey Matthews struggled mightily and Nate Allen looked like he had no idea what was going on. If I could maybe point out on bright spot, it would be Kurt Coleman who was in on 11 tackles in just one half of play. Of course, it's usually bad news when you're safety has to make so many tackles, but at least he was making them...
As bad as the run defense was, it is worth noting that the Eagles played without starting DTs Mike Patterson and Anthony Dixon. Those two will be the pair in on probably 90% of the running downs the Eagles face this year and are much more accomplished run stoppers than the combo of Cullen Jenkins and Anthony Hargrove. That certainly doesn't excuse the play of the linebackers tonight, but it will certainly be a big help to get those two back.
On offense, it was just ugly. They actually didn't even play that many snaps because 1) the Steelers offense dominated time of possession, but also 2) Michael Vick threw three picks. The last one was not really his fault, but the first two were just awful passes. The first was overthrown and the second was behind the receiver and both were into double coverage.
But as we say after all these games, good or bad, it is only preseason. And frankly, we've seen this before. Tonight's game was eerily reminiscent of the second preseason game last year when the Eagles went on the road against another AFC North team in Cincinnati. They got worked 22-9 and Vick looked awful throwing two picks in one quarter of play. And by the way, that game came off a pretty solid home win and performance in week one over the Jaguars. Obviously those games didn't mean a whole lot when the season started. So while this game tonight certainly identified issues, there's no more reason to panic than there was last year when the same thing happened...