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Thread: Ed: Eagles Game Now a Crucial One for Steelers

  1. #1

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    Ed: Eagles Game Now a Crucial One for Steelers

    Ed: Eagles Game Now a Crucial One for Steelers


    Good morning,

    With everyone else but the Steelres and Colts at the one-quarter pole of the season in the AFC, it’s time to take a look at where things might be headed.

    For one, the Steelers do not find themselves in good company. Of all the teams with just one victory in the AFC, they are the only ones anyone might consider a contender. Here are the others with just one victory: Miami, Indy, Jacksonville, Tennessee,

    Oakland and Kansas City. The Browns are the only winless team in the conference. Anyone see a contender among the bunch?

    It may be too early for any game to be crucial, but the one the Steelers play at home against Phildelphia Sunday approaches that for them. Cincinnati and Baltimore are each 3-1 and look to be what was predicted for them in the preseason, division contenders. The Steelers cannot afford to fall two or 2 ½ games behind them with a loss to Philadelphia. A victory pulls them even at 2-2 with a quick turnaround game in Tennessee the following Thursday night. It’s a chance to go 3-2 heading to Cincinnati for an Octoberfest division showdown.

    That at least would give them a fighter’s chance. However, lose to the Eagles – who just beat the World Champs last night to lead the NFC East at 3-1 – and it might be over quickly for the Steelers. A 1-3 start? It’s not insurmountable, but it’s also a hole difficult in which to emerge.

    The 2006 Steelers started 1-3, then 1-4. It was a small miracle they finished 8-8.

    The one which did make it was the 2002 Steelers. They were 1-3. They inserted Tommy Maddox during the third game for a struggling Kordell Stewart and he led them to a comeback victory at home against Cleveland in overtime, 16-13. After losing 32-29 at New Orleans, Maddox and the Steelers won four in a row, had that epic 34-34 tie against Atlanta at home, lost at Tennessee in another epic in which Maddox was temporarily paralyzed and then finished with five wins in six games.

    They made the playoffs, came from behind again to beat Cleveland at home in another memorable game 36-33, then lost in overtime at Tennessee 34-31 on a controversial penalty that gave the Titans a second chance after missing the first field goal try in overtime.

    Notice anything about those scores? There were plenty in the 30s, on both sides. In their final three games, the Steelers allowed 98 points.

    In their two losses this season, the Steelers have allowed 65 points. Perhaps we’re heading toward the same kind of scenario that developed 10 years ago. They did it in 2002 with a high-flying offense and a defense that generally couldn’t stop much.

    That 2002 team showed it could be done, starting 1-3 and nearly reaching the AFC championship game. It’s not the model way to go.

    --- YOU: Ed, I'm not among those questioning LeBeau. He has nothing to prove to me. I do question the players effort. It seems there is a sense of entitlement of sorts. Because I am a Steeler defender, I will be respected. Thats not how the Steelers defensive reputation was earned and maintained through the years. Are the Steelers lacking someone to set the tempo? If not, what? I buy that James And Troy playing will go a long way to help the overall defense but what does it take for Hood and Timmons and others to step up and own their contribution to success. They seem to very methodically run through plays with no personal investment. No sense of pride to perform. No drive to be the best at what they do. They don't seem to represent what we have come to expect from Steeler defenders.

    ME: You can’t say there’s a lack of effort. You can call them old and slow, if you want, say there is not enough talent, but there is no lack of effort. They rank again among the top 10 as a defense. What they’re not doing – again – is making Mike Tomlin’s fabulous “splash” plays. They have five sacks, one fumble recovery as a defense and one interception. That’s not going to cut it.

    --- YOU: Sounds to me from your post today that you are pointing in the direction that Harrison’s season and potentially career are coming to a close. I myself, started to think this way during training camp as due to age, and mileage great players like Harrison can see the sun set on seemingly minor injuries (See Jack Lambert). Do you think retirement is on his mind? Would the Steelers try to retain him for next season if he does not play, and play at a high level at some point this season? At his salary level, along with some of the players well over 30 on defense, I would like to see the Steelers mindset of the middle of the previous decade take force and clear out the salary cap space for players teetering on the end.

    ME: All athletes hit the end of the line, some earlier than others. James Harrison is 34 and with his knee problem, it does not look as though the line is far off.

    --- YOU: Ed, is Saunders return day on Oct 7th?

    ME: No, Oct. 8. He was forced to miss five weeks instead of four because he had to miss four games and the Steelers had a bye week. Both Saunders and the Steelers originally thought he would miss only three games and four weeks.

    --- YOU: Count me as one who likes Haley's O. A quick check shows our 3rd down efficiency (53%) leads the league, our TOP is 2nd in the NFL, and our Red Zone efficiency is 64% (7th in the league), as compared to 51% last year (17th). Are Haley's schemes/play calling that innovative or is Ben just healthy and on target more this year?

    ME: It’s a combination of a new emphasis on high percentage passes and not throwing deep as often. Also, Ben Roethlisberger and his receivers are among the best in the league.

    --- YOU: NOW can we panic about the defense?

    ME: Have at it, many are.


  2. #2
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    I'll be at the Eagles game so we should win. I'll push us over the top.

  3. #3
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    I have no feel for how we are as a team. We could go 1-4 just as easily as we could go 3-2.

    It does seem as though the offense has to carry the team this year. We need 30+ points per game.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Shiek View Post
    I'll be at the Eagles game so we should win. I'll push us over the top.
    I consider it a considerable failure on your part as a fan that you aren't at all games with such mystical powers. Please take the necessary steps to remedy that situation. A 14-2 record would be appreciated.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eich View Post
    I have no feel for how we are as a team. We could go 1-4 just as easily as we could go 3-2.

    It does seem as though the offense has to carry the team this year. We need 30+ points per game.
    We did get 31 against the Raiders unfortunately the defense gave up 34. The latter is what has to stop.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Shiek View Post
    I'll be at the Eagles game so we should win. I'll push us over the top.
    I'll be there as well, but I'm not sure if it's good or bad. Steelers are 2-0 when I'm at Heinz, but 0-1 when I attend a regular season Steelers/Eagles game. However, last time I saw the Eagles beat the Steelers in a regular season game, the Steelers went to the SB.

    When not playing the Steelers, the Eagles have a pretty bad record when I attend. The loss to SF last year, loss to GB in the playoffs, game where McNabb broke his leg/ankle on Monday night...

  7. #7

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    I know you guys are our top out-of-division rival and are almost always in the mix for post-season jousting for the top seed, so rooting for a Steelers win is hard for me.

    But I would not mind at all if the Steelers lay the wood on the Eagles for 60 minutes and wipe the field with them.

  8. #8

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    It hasn't been pretty, but Philly is 3-1

    Originally Published: October 1, 2012
    By Ashley Fox |

    PHILADELPHIA -- Less than seven minutes remained and the Philadelphia Eagles trailed the New York Giants on Sunday night by one point. Michael Vick stepped into the huddle before the Eagles began their final drive and delivered a message:

    "Let's go score," he said. "Let's stay calm. Run the plays that are called. Everyone do your job. And let's go score."

    Score. Stay poised. Play within yourself. And perhaps most important for this team in that situation was what Vick didn't say: Don't turn the ball over.

    We're one-fourth through the NFL regular season, where occurrences have led to trends that have morphed into identities. Four games into the season, teams are taking shape. If something happens once, it can be chalked up as an accident. But one game has led to another and another and another. We have an adequate sample size.

    We know that Houston and Atlanta appear to be the most complete teams, that New Orleans is missing its leader, that Arizona's defense looks really good and that Tom Brady to Wes Welker is still a connection New England will use. We know that the New York Giants are Eli Manning's team and it doesn't matter who his receivers are, he will get them the ball. We know that if the Giants are going to succeed, it will probably come down to Manning's making it happen.

    Michael Vick has orchestrated three fourth-quarter comebacks so far this season.

    And we know that the Eagles aren't going to quit. They won't be intimidated by a situation. They might make mistakes but they also will make plays, because their quarterback fears nothing. Not a player, a defense or a situation. Vick might make a mistake, but it won't be because the moment overcomes him.

    It didn't overcome him Sunday night, when Vick led marched the Eagles 75 yards in 12 plays to set up the game-winning Alex Henery field goal that gave Philadelphia a 19-17 win over the Giants.

    This Eagles team is a product of the one that failed so miserably a year ago. Starting 4-8 and missing the playoffs by a single game, being a laughingstock, having "dream team" rubbed in their faces -- it all humbled these players. It was embarrassing. It motivated them not to allow it to happen again.

    And because the quarterback has been remarkably clutch late in games this season -- an accolade widely reserved for the Giants' starting quarterback -- the Eagles are 3-1 and atop the NFC East standings pending the outcome of Monday night's game between Dallas and Chicago.

    Just in the month of September, Vick orchestrated three fourth-quarter comebacks and three game-winning drives -- at Cleveland, against Baltimore and then against the Giants. Last season, Vick had zero fourth-quarter comebacks and zero game-winning drives. In 2010, the season he supplanted Kevin Kolb as the Eagles' starter, he had four fourth-quarter comebacks and three game-winning drives.

    Say what you want about all of the turnovers -- nine in the first three games, and zero last night -- but Vick has been clutch. His confidence has trickled down to the offense, the defense and the special teams. The Eagles have won three games by a combined four points. They have played well at times and horrendously at times, but the end result is what ultimately matters.

    "Last year, there's a good chance we would've lost that game," said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

    "I don't know if it's we're winning games we didn't win last year or not," said wide receiver Jason Avant, "but I think we're just a lot different mentally."

    That certainly appears to be the case, given how fragile the team was a year ago. This team hasn't quit, even in the blowout loss to Arizona in Week 3. Against the Giants, Philadelphia struggled to create a pocket for Vick. It couldn't get its run game going, and it struggled to get into the end zone.

    After leading 7-3 at halftime, the Eagles committed to running LeSean McCoy. They controlled the clock. They moved the ball. Vick made plays with his legs when he had to and Andy Reid leaned on McCoy. The offense was able to make plays, and the defense held the Giants to 17 points and drew a crucial offensive pass interference penalty on New York's final drive. That helped make the potential game-winning field goal a 54-yarder rather than something shorter.

    "I like the personality of this team, and I like the grit," Reid said afterward. "They are willing to fight."

    Their quarterback certainly is. He was under fire last week in Philadelphia after all the turnovers and what looked to some like lucky wins. Vick took too many chances. He looked careless at times. Reid and Vick both said it took a little time for Vick to shake off the rust of missing much of the preseason, and maybe that's the case. Maybe the turnovers really will even out. Maybe the Giants game, where the Eagles had no turnovers, really is more indicative of how they will protect the football.

    "Ya'll give me enough flak about it; I'll take care of it," Vick said.

    This is one quarter, four games, of a long, 16-game season that will ebb and flow. But one thing is evident: This team will not quit. That is part of their identity. They can win in the fourth quarter, and not every team can.

    "We have a never-say-die attitude," Vick said. "We never allow things to get out of control like last year, and we believe in one another. Always have, always will. … That was evident tonight. I'm thankful. I'm thankful for the guys that we have in this locker room, and I appreciate them. I've still got 12 more games, and we've got to keep pushing."

    Keep pushing. Keep winning. If the defending Super Bowl champion taught us anything last season, it is that being clutch and having the ability to win in the fourth quarter are invaluable attributes.


  9. #9

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    Steelers Vs. Eagles: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger Expresses Sense of Urgency For Win

    By Neal Coolong ON OCT 2

    Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told Tribune-Review reporter Alan Robinson the season may not hang in the balance of a victory Sunday when the Eagles come to Pittsburgh, but they "need to get a win."

    It's still a marathon, Roethlisberger continued. If there was a time to make a move on the rest of the pack running that marathon, though, it's Sunday.

    In what would be a particularly bad time to lose home field advantage, the Steelers are staring at the backsides of the Ravens and Bengals - both 3-1 - and a loss to the talented Eagles would drop them no better than two games behind the division leaders. Baltimore, in a rare early season road game, travel to struggling Kansas City, and the Bengals are host to the floundering Dolphins.

    The Steelers, 1-0 at home, and 0-2 on the road, take on their best opponent to date in what seems like a must-win game to even their record over their opening quarter of the season. If there are must-win games in the first quarter of the season, this one is it.

    The Eagles, on the other hand, lead the NFC East at 3-1 with the worst point differential (-17) as any division leader. In fact, they're only the fourth team in the last three decades to sit at 3-1 while scoring less points than it has allowed. Philadelphia is a team finding several different ways to win. The defense shined in a 19-17 win over the visiting Giants in Week 4, one week after suffering a 26-7 blowout at Arizona. They got a huge defensive effort in their front seven, and 156 receiving yards from tight end Brent Celek in a 24-23 win over Baltimore. In Week 1, Cleveland took them down to the wire, but pulled out a 17-16 win thanks to a complete and thorough hazing of rookie QB Brandon Weeden.

    The Eagles have gotten production from its receivers in each of their first four games. In Week 1, it was Jeremy Maclin leading the team in yards, followed by Celek abusing Baltimore's linebackers in coverage in Week 2. DeSean Jackson held top honors in their loss at Arizona and against the Giants in Week 4.

    Philadelphia is fifth in the NFL, averaging 417.8 yards per game, but only are scoring 16.5 points per game.

    The fact they win close games is something the Steelers will need to be concerned with, especially considering they held second half leads in both of their losses.


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    We did get 31 against the Raiders unfortunately the defense gave up 34. The latter is what has to stop.
    Yeah with our D, I'm thinking we need 40 points a game to be safe.


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