So much for a dress rehearsal game. The Steelers looked like wet hot garbage Thursday night in Philadelphia as they fell to the Eagles in every possible way. The defense was outplayed and the offense looked unprepared and horrendous. The Eagles starters and backups carved up the Steelers defense like a Thanksgiving turkey.
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The Eagles touchdowns were raining down from the sky about as often as the yellow flags from the referees were. The Eagles also won the penalty contest with 14 penalties for 110 yards. The Steelers were penalized 13 times for 92 yards. That’s a ridiculous 202 yards penalized in one friggin preseason game. And the refs are going to call the regular season the same way with just about any kind of contact on defense called for holding or illegal contact so prepare yourself.
The game wasn’t nearly as close as the score suggests. Ben Roethlisberger and the starters played well into the second half almost as if they were intent on trying to accomplish something positive before they were willing to take the helmets and pads off for the night. Ben went 15-24 for 157 yards, one touchdown and one interception. And forget about all that free food for the guys who keep Ben’s jersey clean, no one’s getting free meals as he was sacked twice for a loss of 11 yards. Bruce Gradkowski stepped in and went 8 for 11 for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
The Steelers rushed for an abysmal 58 yards with Le’Veon Bell getting 23 yards on 9 carries and Blount 32 yards on seven carries.
On the other side of the ball the Steelers defense gave up 182 rushing yards to an Eagles team that lost the reigning NFL rusher LeSean McCoy early in the first quarter to a thumb injury. Troy Polamalu picked off Nick Foles once (which the offense failed to capitalize on) but other than that it was a very poor showing out of the Steelers defense on the whole.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin addressed the media following the game and for the first time also addressed the arrests of Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount. He said that he didn’t consider sitting either of them for the preseason game because he didn’t view that as punishment. He said he’d rather play them more in preseason. He also added that the team would deal with the running backs and that “Obviously” he views the incident as conduct detrimental to the team. He also wouldn’t admit that what happened with the two yesterday had any bearing on how the team performed Thursday night.
Only positive would be that the team can literally act as if this game didn’t happen, because it doesn’t count. However, there is much more work ahead of them before the regular season kicks off. I don’t know what situation would be more tense; the meeting between Bell and Blount with Tomlin after news of their arrest for marijuana possession while they were literally on their way to the airport for this trip, or the film session to review and learn from the wet hot garbage displayed in Philadelphia.
Bring on Rib Fest!
Here we go Steelers! Here we go!