In the newly revitalized Lincoln Financial Field on a fantastic August night for football, the Eagles delivered the exclamation point on the preseason in a 31-21 (it was 31-7 until late in the fourth quarter) win over the Steelers.
The Eagles truly ran roughshod over Pittsburgh, leading 17-0 at the half and then pouring it on with No. 2 quarterback Mark Sanchez and the backup offense on the field against Pittsburgh's starters in the third quarter. It was as complete a preseason win the Eagles have had in, well, it's hard to remember this kind of result. It was that one sided for the Eagles.
"A lot of things went well out there for us," said linebacker Trent Cole, who helped a fantastic defensive effort. "We kind of amped it up tonight. It was good to see."
Here are some aspects of the game that stood out as the Eagles registered their first win of this preseason:
- Linebacker Mychal Kendricks had an impact first half. He was all over the field with four tackles and a pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger that forced a poor throw intercepted by cornerback Nolan Carroll II on a diving effort. Kendricks was simply great.
- Quarterback Nick Foles completed 19 of 29 passes for 179 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his half of play. The interception came on a screen pass -- a fake to the left and then a throw back to the right -- and running back Darren Sproles got his feet tangled up with a lineman and fell to the ground, giving the Steelers an easy interception. Foles was sharp, and once again spread the ball around nicely. The offense is nearly there.
- Good job by the starting offensive line and the backup group. Allen Barbre gave up one sack and he needs to improve that, but he was good otherwise. The Steelers threw a lot at Foles and Mark Sanchez, and the lines were solid in the effort.
- Safety Malcolm Jenkins made a fantastic open-field defensive play knocking away a pass intended for wide receiver Antonio Brown, showing his coverage skills. This is why the Eagles signed Jenkins. He can cover in the middle of the field, something the defense just did not have last season.
- Foles and LeSean McCoy connected nicely on a double screen -- fake left and throw right -- to score the first touchdown on a 22-yard play. McCoy had a great block from Todd Herremans down the field and Jeremy Maclin did his job holding a block at the goal line.
- Maclin, by the way, had 6 catches for 43 yards and looked good coming back from a hamstring injury. Maclin went down running a route in the first half and the crowd went silent, but he popped back up, went to the sideline for some observation and then returned to the game and had a catch.
- Another brilliant performance by Sanchez, who completed 7 of 9 passes for 85 yards. Matt Barkley completed all 4 of his throws. The Eagles quarterbacks are playing outstanding football.
- Matthew Tucker scored two touchdowns and now has 4 in the preseason. He missed the game in New England with a hamstring injury. Tucker ran for 46 yards on 10 carries.
- Alex Henery missed a 31-yard field goal and, yeah, it's going to be interesting to see what happens at placekicker in the next 10 days. Newly acquired Cody Parkey kicked off once, 5 yards deep into the end zone. Henery has missed field goals in each of the last two games.
- Barner looked terrific running the football. He had 32 yards on 7 carries, including a gain of 16 yards. Good burst, turned corner well and broke some tackles. Henry Josey had a 70-yard touchdown run wiped out by a holding penalty, but still finished with 48 yards on 4 carries. Chris Polk, once again, did not play.
- McCoy left the game after gaining 24 yards on 4 carries and 26 yards and a touchdown on 2 catches with a thumb injury. He had X rays and they were negative. He's going to be fine.
- Cornerbacks Brandon Boykin (hamstring) and Cary Williams did not play. Nothing serious. They are primed to be ready for Jacksonville.
- Brandon Graham had another quarterback sack and now has three in the preseason. Vinny Curry had a sack and played well inside at tackle in the nickel.
- Brandon Bair sure looks like a keeper along the defensive line. He's a two-gapping end here who has played well in all three preseason games. He had a tipped pass and was around the football during his time on the field against Pittsburgh.
- Carroll is going to be a really good player for the defense. He made a sensational diving catch for an interception. He's long and physical and a good athlete.
- Pittsburgh played its starters for three quarters and trailed 31-7. Think about that. The Eagles were that good.