Instant Observations: Eagles Vs. Steelers

Here are my observations from the Eagles’ 16-14 loss to the Steelers Sunday afternoon. The Birds are now 3-2 on the season. They host the Lions next week before the bye week.

OFFENSE

* The Eagles put together a 17-play, 79-yard drive, taking 8:18 off the clock and scoring on a Michael Vick 2-yard pass to Brent Celek in the fourth quarter. The touchdown put them up, 14-13. LeSean McCoy converted a couple a 4th-and-1 plays. Vick also hit DeSean Jackson for a 24-yard completion on 3rd-and-10.

* Great execution by the Eagles on the 15-yard touchdown to McCoy in the third. The Steelers blitzed six. Rather than stay in to block, McCoy let the rusher go free, made the catch in the flat and made a great move against linebacker Larry Foote on his way to the end zone.

* Vick turned it over on consecutive possessions in the first half. The first came inside the Steelers’ 5 on a quarterback draw when he lost the ball after safety Ryan Clark hit him. The second came on the very next possession after Lawrence Timmons knocked the ball loose. Interestingly enough, the Eagles called a QB draw on the very next possession.

* Overall, Vick went 20-for-30 for 175 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He was 13-for-18 for 105 yards in the second half. McCoy had 16 carries for 53 yards, but I thought he played much better than the stats show.

* Jackson had four catches for 58 yards. Jeremy Maclin had five catches for 39 yards.

* The Eagles benefited from some penalties that don’t show up in the stat sheet. Maclin drew a 31-yard pass interference penalty in the first against Ike Taylor on a deep ball down the left sideline. On the touchdown drive in the third, Celek and Maclin both drew personal foul penalties for illegal hits by Steelers safeties.

* The Eagles once again used no-huddle at various points in this one.

* Demetress Bell was called for a false start on 3rd-and-5 during the first possession. Clay Harbor was also called for a false start in the first. Overall, the Eagles had five penalties for 35 yards. The Steelers had nine for 106.

* Vick hit DeSean Jackson for a 23-yard gain on a shallow cross in the second. Jackson fumbled at the end of the play,  but recovered. McCoy had an excellent block on James Harrison on the play.

DEFENSE

* The defense couldn’t get a hold at the end of the game, allowing the Steelers to drive 64 yards on 14 plays for the game-winning 34-yard field goal.

* The Eagles’ run defense wasn’t good. Rashard Mendenhall had 81 yards on 14 carries (5.8 YPC). And the Eagles did not sack Ben Roethlisberger.

* Roethlisberger was 21-for-37, but he averaged just 5.6 yards per attempt (207 yards total).

* Rough possession for linebacker Mychal Kendricks in the second. On a Roethlisberger run, he fell for a fake-lateral and allowed the quarterback to pick up extra yards. And on the 13-yard Mendenhall run, Kendricks had a shot at the tailback, one-on-one, but couldn’t make the play.

* At the end of the first half, Kurt Coleman made a tackle on Antonio Brown in the red zone, potentially saving a touchdown. He tossed Brown’s shoe, which came off on the play, to the sideline. Jerricho Cotchery stumbled on the next play on what looked like a TD. The Steelers had to settle for a field goal.

* Darryl Tapp  was called for a personal foul penalty for shoving a Steelers offensive lineman in the first.

* Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie followed Mike Wallace to both sides of the formation. Wallace had two catches for 17 yards. Brown talked some trash during the week and backed it up with seven catches for 86 yards.

* Have to watch the All-22, but it seemed like Nnamdi Asomugha had a rough first half.

* Kendricks left the game with an injury in the third. Casey Matthews replaced him. Kendricks would later return.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

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