The Eagles emerged victorious in Sunday's Battle of Pennsylvania, downing the Steelers, 34-3. Find out how the Birds won the game.
Wentz Continues To Impress
Through the first half of the game, quarterback Carson Wentz was 18-of-25 for 183 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He also added 10 yards on the ground.
But, Wentz's opening 30 minutes wouldn't be the end of his dominant play. The Eagles started the second half with the ball and on third-and-8, the quarterback made what very well might be his best play of the season thus far. Wentz dodged a sack and moved up a few yards. He stayed patient and instead of taking off found Darren Sproles. He tossed the ball to the running back, who then took it the rest of the way for a 73-yard touchdown. The score put the Birds up, 20-3, and once again showcased Wentz's skill.
The quarterback finished the game 23-of-31 for 301 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was his first career 300-yard performance. Wentz has still not turned the ball over this season.
Eagles Defense Dominates
Holding Pittsburgh to just three points through the majority of the first three quarters, the Eagles' defense was playing an impressive game. However, it had still not recorded its first forced turnover of the afternoon. Nolan Carroll, Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins had all had their chances at intercepting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but were unable to make the plays.
That all changed with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter. Fletcher Cox successfully got to Roethlisberger, sacking him for a loss of 7 yards and forcing a fumble. Brandon Graham was there to pick up the ball and returned it 4 yards to the Pittsburgh 41. From there, the Eagles' offense took over. The turnover resulted in another Philadelphia touchdown as Kenjon Barner found the end zone on an 8-yard run, putting the Eagles up 34-3. It was Barner's first career touchdown run.
Then with 4:35 until the end of the game, the Eagles' defense nabbed its first interception of the game. McLeod picked off Roethlisberger in the end zone, giving the Philadelphia offense the ball back at its own 20.
Smallwood's First Career TD
Rookie running back Wendell Smallwood scored his first NFL career touchdown during the third quarter, increasing the Eagles' lead to 24 points. During the drive, he moved the chains on two consecutive carries, picking up 14 yards and then an additional 12. His touchdown run was a 1-yard rush.
Wentz to JMatt
The Eagles began the second quarter with a 12-play, 82-yard scoring drive that culminated in a Ronald Darby touchdown, the team's first of the game. Wentz found Josh Huff for a gain of 11, then Brent Celek for another 15-yard pickup. Smallwood added another 11 yards on the ground before Wentz and Matthews connected for six from 12 yards out. With 12:09 left in the half, the Eagles took a 10-0 lead.
Blocked By Bennie
Just when it looked as though the Steelers were going to come up with the first points of the game, Bennie Logan was there to keep the team scoreless. After the coin toss, Pittsburgh elected to receive the ball and quickly moved down the field. The drive was highlighted by an Eli Rogers catch for a gain of 32 yards. However, the Steelers and Roethlisberger were shut down by the Eagles' defense on third-and-13 from the Philadelphia 14 with 9:06 to play in the first quarter. The Steelers brought out their field goal unit, but Logan successfully blocked the kick to keep Pittsburgh off the board.
The Steelers later did add their first points of the game on a 40-yard field goal, bringing the score to 10-3 with 7:43 still on clock in the second quarter.
Kicking Game Strong
Following the blocked field goal, the Eagles' offense took the field for its first drive of the afternoon at its own 26. Wentz threw to Celek on the team's second play and the tight end took off for a gain of 22 yards. The team kept things moving as Wentz then threw a short pass to Sproles, who caught the ball and ran it 40 yards down the field. The Eagles eventually settled for a 29-yard Jake Elliott field goal after they were stopped on third-and-9 at the Pittsburgh 11. Sturgis added a second field goal with just over two minutes remaining in the half. The 38-yarder put Philadelphia up by 10 points.
The Battle of Pennsylvania was won by the Eagles who improved their record to 3-0 heading into the bye week.