The Eagles defense dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday. After a rough game last week, Jim Johnson devised a terrific scheme to stifle the Steelers offense. Johnson dialed up the blitz all game long, and it was extremely effective. The “D” notched 9 sacks, forced two fumbles, intercepted a pass, shut down the Steelers ground game, and rattled Stillers QB Ben Worthlessburger all game long.
Little Ben got hit and sacked so many times, that by the 4th quarter he was a deer in headlights. He was so scared, that even when the Steelers gave Ben protection he was unable to make an accurate throw.
The defense dominated, but the offense very inconsistent. A major difference was an injury to star RB Brian Westbrook. He left the game early in the 2nd quarter, and the Eagles offense never seemed to be able to sustain the early success it was having. Westbrook had an MRI today which confirmed the early diagnosis of a right ankle strain. Officially Westbrook is listed as day-to-day, but I think it would be a stretch to see him play Sunday against the Bears.
With Westbrook out of the lineup the Eagles turned to veteran Correll Buckhalter who did a solid job. Despite the significant difference in talent from Westbrook to Buckhalter, Buck was able to make a big play when he caught a short swing pass, blew past the defender, and scored the games lone touchdown.
Brian Dawkins Shows He’s Still Got “It”: Last week Brian Dawkins had a lot of trouble staying with the very talented tight end Jason Witten. He gave up some really big plays, and during his usual Wednesday press conference Dawkins got very defensive when questions of him being done arose. Brian seemed to use that as motivation, because he had a monster game against the Steelers. Dawkins finished the game with 5 tackles, two tackles for a loss, 1 sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Dawkins sealed the game with an unreal strip of Big Ben. Dawk came on the blitz, flew in the air, and swatted the ball out of Ben’s hands mid-air. He also recovered the ball to set the Eagles up to go up by two scores. This crazy play was a classic Weapon X type of moment. Dawkins is know for his unorthodox-ed style of play, and this amazing play will go down on the highlight reels for sure. I myself actually questioned how much Dawk has left in the tank, and I was mistaken. I think a good majority of the local media, and myself jumped to conclusions based on a few plays.
Way to go Dawk.
Eagles Have The Number 1 Defense Against The Run: What a transition this team has made.
Remember the days when the Eagles could not stop anybody on the ground? Go back to the last time the Eagles played the Steelers in 2004. Corey Simon, and Darwin Walker were the tackles, Marc Simonaeu was the MLB, Keith Adams was the WILL, and Dhani Jones was the SAM. That Steelers team steam rolled the Eagles by rushing for 252 yards Jerome Bettis gashed the Birds’ for 149 of those yards and was basically unstoppable in this game. I can still remember Simon and Walker being pushed so far back that you could park a truck in the holes Bettis had to run through. It was embarrassing.
That was the first loss by the Eagles that season, and the Steelers exposed a major weakness in the defense. They could not stop the run, and a strong offensive line that stuck with the run could keep the Eagles defense on it’s heels.
Those days are over.
Bigger linebackers, and more stout defensive tackles have transformed this defense into a run stuffing machine. Brodrick Bunkley has been a force in the middle of the defense, and I think his play is the biggest difference of all. Bunkley notched a sack, recovered a fumble, and made multiple tackles for a loss. i know it is very early, but Bunk is playing at a Pro Bowl level.
Mike Patterson has also played very well, and he has come along way from 2006 when he struggled against the run. Now that seems to be a strength of Patterson’s game.
Trent Cole and Juqua Parker are undersized, but don’t count that against them. These two use quickness and technique to help in run support, and they are doing a great job.
Stewart Bradley has given the Bird’s linebackers a lot of size in the middle, and he has been excellent in run support. Bradley flies to the ball, sheds blocks well, and is a great form tackler. He was very impressive in this game against the Steelers.
Willie Parker finished the game with 20 yards, and a 1.5 yar-per-carry average. Focusing on the run helped the defense sack Big Ben 100 times.
When you stop the Rams running attack, critics will say that is no big deal. When you shut down the Cowboys, and Steelers ground game, you have passed the test of being a good run stopping “D”. I know this is a long season, and a lot can change from here, but so far the Eagles have been the very best in the NFL in this department.
Asante Samuel Is Awesome: How about the interception Samuel made? That was an amazing play. It is so hard to be able run with a WR stride for stride, and then make a play on the ball. Samuel did more than that, as he snatched the ball away from Nate Washington, and got his 2nd interception of this young season.
Many said that Samuel is a system corner back, and Bill Bellicheat’s defense helped him succeed. These critics claimed that Asante is not great in man-to-man coverage, and would not play well in Jim Johnson’s scheme which often asks a lot of it’s CBs.
The critics were wrong. Samuel has been terrific so far, and I can only think of 1 play where he misplayed a receiver in his first three games. Samuel has been locking the left side of the field down, and has already made the Eagles better in the turnover department. I think the Eagles finally have a free agent signing that will not only work out, but become a difference maker.
Cry In Your Iron City Beer Stillers’ Fans: Stillers fans sure went out of their way to talk major smack prior to this game. They all seemed so sure that their team was going to crush the Eagles, and they were extremely arrogant about it. Inside the Iggles’ gay sister site Nice Pick Cowher, went over the top trying to diss the Eagles and Philadelphia. It is the same lame boring nonsense about Andy Reid‘s kids and booing Santa, with the title “Philadelphia Cannot Beat The Steelers”.
Even after the loss NPC writes a bitter post taking more shots at the Philadelphia. He even tries to diss the Eagles beautiful cheerleaders.
Please visit this site and call him out for being a moron. Nobody likes a sore loser.
Tags: 2004 Eagles Season Asante Samuel Ben Roethlisberger Brian Dawkins Brian Westbrook Brodrick Bunkley Corey Simon Correll Buckhalter Darwin Walker DeSean Jackson Dhani Jones Donovan McNabb Jerome Bettis Juqua Parker Keith Adams Marc Simonaeu Mike Patterson Nice Pick Cowher Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers Santa Claus Stewart Bradley Trent Cole Willie Parker