Justin Boylan
Sept 22nd 2008

2008 Game 3... Eagles 15 Pitt 6

Imagine you decide to hit the bathroom during halftime of the Eagles-Steelers game Sunday afternoon. Perhaps those nachos grande weren't sitting to well, or maybe you should have bitten the bullet and thrown out that leftover pasta from two weeks ago instead of digging it out from that dark corner of refrigerator. Either way when you finally make your way back to the couch the Eagles have the ball and Kevin Kolb is running the offense, not to mention he's joined in the backfield by the back-up running back Correll Buckhalter.

If you are like me, which I think you are, your reaction might have earned a primetime spot on HBO. Thankfully before your heart completely stopped Donovan McNabb made his way out of the tunnel and onto the field. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Brian Westbrook who left the game early in the second quarter with an unknown right foot injury. Westbrook will have an MRI on Monday, which means we probably won't find out the extent of the injury until Tuesday, so that's about 16 sleepless hours or so hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

After Westbrook left the game the Eagles helped us cope with a 13 play, 85-yard drive that ended with Buckhalter literally hurdling a Steeler defender into the end zone. However, that was the peak of the Eagles' day offensively, and with Westbrook out the defense had no choice but to step up. And by God did they.

I am not a fantasy football expert and I am not in a league this year, but I watched the game with a couple friends of mine and one was starting Ben Roethlisberger and the other was starting the Eagles D. “Big Ben” helped with a total fantasy point count of around -2, and Philly's defense put up more points than the Rams have through three games this season.

The Steelers scored on two first-half field goals and that was it from them. The Eagles brought pressure early and often forcing Roethlisberger to cough up the football three times via two forced fumbles and an interception. “Big Ben” only threw for 131 yards, maybe because the Birds knocked him out of the game before he could add to the total, and only sniffed the end zone in the fourth quarter when he was lying in it scoring a safety for Philadelphia .

Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson blitzed from every possible angle giving Roethlisberger no time to throw before being swarmed by green and white jerseys. The Eagles put Ben in the dirt nine times courtesy of seven different defenders. Safety Brian Dawkins proved that after 13 years, even though he might not be able to cover the pass, he can still rush and rattle a QB, forcing and recovering a fumble along with a sack and six more tackles.

The Pittsburgh Steelers who usually will pound the football with running back Willie Parker had to play against themselves throwing the ball 32 times verses 13 rushing attempts from Parker. The main reason for that, the Eagles shut down the run completely for the third straight week. Let me remind you this team was going against Stephen Jackson, Marion Barber, and then Willie Parker giving up no more than 65 yards to any of them. With that tenacious run defense the Eagles forced Pittsburgh to throw the ball and that allowed Jim Johnson to bring the heat more times than Miami .

This Sunday night the Eagles are in Chicago to play the 1-2 Bears. They won't be facing a Roethlisberger-caliber quarterback, but you can bet the house the pressure will be on Kyle Orton, and rookie runningback Matt Forte will have the task of trying to do what other proven NFL backs could not, rush for 100 yards against the Eagles.

I feel confident in the position we are in mid-September, and a winning streak should be in our immediate future heading into a week 7 bye. Let's all hope that Sunday night, when introducing the Eagles offense, we hear “Brian Westbrook, Villanova Univeristy.”





© Copyright 2006. Jules Pilla

Not affiliated with the Philadelphiqa Eagles or the NFL.