View Full Version : The matchup: Eagles RB Westbrook vs. Steelers defense

09-21-2008, 12:59 AM
The matchup: Eagles RB Westbrook vs. Steelers defense
By Mike Prisuta
Sunday, September 21, 2008
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 89336.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_589336.html)

EAGLES RB BRIAN WESTBROOK: In Monday night's 41-37 loss to Dallas, Westbrook (5-foot-10, 203) had a fairly typical Brian Westbrook game. He carried 18 times for 58 yards (a 3.2 average) and two touchdowns, and caught six passes for 45 yards (a 7.5 average) and another score. In other words, he was heavily involved. The Eagles ran 64 offensive plays and Westbrook was officially credited with 24 touches. Not included in that total were a pair of botched handoffs by QB Donovan McNabb and at least one pass on which McNabb overthrew Westbrook. The Eagles like to get him the ball.

THE STEELERS' DEFENSE: In two games the Steelers' defense has yet to allow an opposing team 100 yards rushing or 200 yards passing -- or a meaningful touchdown (Houston managed a couple at garbage time in the opener). The Steelers have collected seven sacks, four pass interceptions and five total takeaways. Defensively, they're on their game. But the attrition process that gradually weakened the unit a season ago has already started to rear its ugly head. CB Deshea Townsend (heel) missed a start last Sunday night in Cleveland and DE Brett Keisel will miss one this afternoon in Philly.

THE MATCHUP: Westbrook lines up everywhere, which means just about everyone will need to get a piece of him at some point. When he's lined up at wide receiver it might be up to the cornerbacks to keep him contained. When he's in the slot it could be incumbent upon the safeties to cover him. The linebackers may be responsible for pitchouts and passes to the flat, and the rest of the front seven will need to keep an eye on him as McNabb play-actions on his way back to the pocket. If anyone blinks Westbrook may well be able to add to his NFL-high total of five TDs. He'll pressure the Steelers' defense all game long. EDGE: WESTBROOK

LAST WEEK: QB Derek Anderson wasn't a disaster, but he never did get the Browns into the end zone in a 10-6 Steelers victory. SS Troy Polamalu's interception inside the 5-yard line at the end of the first half was critical, and Anderson was also picked off by CB Bryant McFadden. EDGE: STEELERS

Mike Prisuta can be reached at mprisuta@tribweb.com or 412-320-7923.
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