PITTSBURGH -- The Eagles were able to hold the Steelers to just 16 points on Sunday, although it was enough for Pittsburgh to get the 16-14 win at Heinz Field.
However, there was a very noticeable absence in the stat sheet - no sacks.
Sure, the Eagles did not record a sack last week in their win over the Giants. The Steelers entered Sunday's game having allowed nine sacks in just three games. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had been sacked 177 times since 2008, the most of any signal caller in the league.
This is now two weeks in a row without a sack for the defense that was tied for the league lead just a year ago.
"We tried to get to him as fast as we could," defensive end Trent Cole said. "Hey, he got the ball off like he's supposed to."
Roethlisberger takes his share of sacks, but he is also one of the best quarterbacks in avoiding them. Roethlisberger has a 6-5, 241-pound frame which makes him tough to bring down with a simple arm tackle. He also has a good mental clock to let him know when he needs to make a subtle move in the pocket or get out of dodge.
"We knew that coming in he has great ability to keep the play going," strong safety Nate Allen said. "He gets out of the pocket well."
The Steelers were also buoyed by the return of running back Rashard Mendenhall, who had missed the team's first three games while recovering from an ACL injury suffered in January. The Steelers entered the game ranked 31st in the league in average rushing yards per game. Mendenhall had 81 yards on the ground including a 13-yard touchdown which came on a throw from Roethlisberger, but since it was a backwards throw it was considered a lateral and therefore a run. The Steelers finished with 136 rushing yards including some key gains on the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.
"The pressure is there. You don't always have to get sacks to get pressure," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "We're there causing the quarterback to move around, that's pressure. We just have to continue to make plays, get turnovers."
Ryans makes a valid point, but the Eagles also came up empty on Sunday in the turnover category. Meanwhile, the Eagles fumbled the ball away twice.
"You can't go outside your comfort zone or go outside your defense to make a turnover. Those things will come," linebacker Jamar Chaney said.
They didn't however on Sunday and that could have been the difference between a narrow loss and a big win.
"We've got to find a way to get those turnovers," Ryans said.
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