In the game that was the inverse of last Monday's shootout against Dallas, the Eagles roughed up the Steelers in a tough-ass defensive struggle, 15-6.
Quick-hit reactions to a very satisfying TV show:
Jim Johnson and the defensive front, take a bow. Six days after giving up 34 points (I won't blame them for the special teams TD), the Birds' defense channeled the 1991 Eagles and just humiliated the Steelers. The ball was snapped, and the line immediately moved two yards backward on pretty much every down. It seemed like the Steelers gave up running the ball pretty early, and stubbornly instructed Roethlisberger to try to throw the ball. Nope. It wasn't just a couple plays worth of pressure, it was pressure on every single down. Darren Howard, Juqua Parker and Trent Cole were monsters. The body language from the Steelers' receivers was the most telling part -- you could tell they were sick of running routes and not even having the ball come out. Jim Johnson and the defense have officially made it up to us for the Dallas game.
Speaking of making it up to us after the Dallas game. I guess the Dawkins retirement can wait another week. His pterodactyl Makhtar (Editor's note: Makhtar is a slang term used to describe the act of violently smacking an object out of another's hand; derived from Makhtar N'Diaye and his proclivity for clumsy fouls) on Big Ben was the best Eagles' play of the season so far.
$57 million seemed like a lot, but, well, we like interceptions. Asante Samuel is definitely earning it after three weeks. I'll argue that he's actually been a little lost in the media shuffle so far, and that he'd definitely be a big story in most other towns, but given the unique, ahem, landscape of storylines amongst the local blathertariat, he's gotten off pretty easy. I can't say I'm anything but impressed by this guy.
I don't think I've ever been that excited about the punter. Get ready for a week of "This is the week it clicked for Sav Rocca" though he's been pretty good so far this season. He absolutely made a difference today.
And suddenly it's the third quarter of a preseason game. When Kolb checked in with Buckhalter and Booker in the backfield and Baskett and Avant split wide, well, it got pretty chill in my apartment. It got a little warmer when McNabb checked back in, but even that was an Eagles team without its starting backfield, Pro Bowl guard and presumptive top wideout. Yikes.
Booker is a liability in pass defense. Booker whiffed horribly on the McNabb pick, kind of fell down in the act of not even getting a finger on the blitzer. Not so impressive. Westbrook and Buckhalter don't miss like that.
Think happy thoughts. Let's pretend the 36 Chambers of Brian Westbrook isn't actually hurt and will be back at practice on Wednesday. Somewhere GCobb is working on a blog post about how Westbrook can't stay healthy.
Also, The NFC East still hasn't lost a game to anyone but an NFC East team. Though I hope the Cowboys lose in a barrage of injuries to fix that. Obviously.
Great game. Go Birds.