On Thursday night, the Eagles hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third preseason game of 2014 ...
There was no time for brotherly love at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night.
The Eagles' starters were dominant on both offense and defense taking a 17-0 lead into halftime before the Eagles' backups continued to have success with the Steelers' starters in a 31-21 win in the all-important dress rehearsal before the start of the regular season.
The unveiling of the newly revitalized Lincoln Financial Field was picture perfect as running back LeSean McCoy caught a screen pass from quarterback Nick Foles and ran 22 yards to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 6:12 left in the first quarter. It was the final play of the night for McCoy, who went to the locker room to have X-rays taken on his right thumb but fortunately they came back negative.
Foles led the Eagles on a second touchdown drive in the second quarter completing 6 of 6 pass attempts on the series before running back Darren Sproles cashed in with a 1-yard run. Foles finished 19 of 29 for 179 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper returned to action after being sidelined with injuries and combined for nine catches and 68 yards. Maclin briefly exited the game in the second quarter after falling down on a route, but returned on the next series and immediately caught a pass.
The Eagles' defense, meanwhile, corralled Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the offense forcing an interception by Nolan Carroll II after a blitz by linebacker Mychal Kendricks pressured the Pro Bowl quarterback. In the first half, the Eagles outgained the Steelers 251-96 and allowed Pittsburgh to convert fewer than 50 percent of their third-down opportunities.
The Steelers kept their starters on offense and defense in the game into the third quarter, but that didn't matter to the Eagles. Quarterback Mark Sanchez led a pair of third-quarter touchdown drives that ended with 1-yard runs by Matthew Tucker, who has four rushing touchdowns in the preseason. Sanchez was an efficient 7 of 9 for 85 yards.
Pittsburgh finally got on the board with 4:07 left in the third quarter when Roethlisberger connected with tight end Heath Miller for a 27-yard touchdown. The Steelers scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns - a 33-yard reception by Darrius Heyward-Bey and a 3-yard catch by Martavis Bryant – both from backup Bruce Gradkowski.