Last updated: February 16. 2013 2:50PM - 225 Views

Story Tools:

Font Size:

Social Media:

PHILADELPHIA -- Maybe it was more carryover from an already emotional week.


Or perhaps they just aren't quite yet up to carrying through on their quarterback's boast of being on the verge of a dynasty.


But whatever the reason, the Philadelphia Eagles appeared more distracted than dynamic despite capturing a dramatic 24-23 victory Thursday over the cross-state rival Pittsburgh Steelers on Alex Henery's dramatic 51-yard field goal with 12 seconds to play in a preseason opener at Lincoln Financial Field.


All that scoring was done by Philadelphia's backups.


As far as the front-liners, the Eagles missed tackles on defense, melted down on offense and, at this point, made little improvement from the Philadelphia team that finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs last season.


"I was kind of frustrated," Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson said.


In fact, the Eagles played like they had more on their minds than just football.


And, well, they did.


A stadium-wide silence that lasted more than a minute was held before the game in honor of Garrett Reid, after the late son of Eagles coach Andy Reid passed away in his training camp dorm room Sunday and was laid to rest Tuesday.


And while Andy Reid returned from a brief bereavement to coach the Eagles in their exhibition opener, the energy of his team didn't come back quite so quick.


At least not while Philadelphia's prime-time players were on the field.


"It's tough," Eagles running back LeSean McCoy said. "The whole week, we've been battling through everything - the situation that just happened. It's been a long week. I think once the team settles down a little bit, lets time pass, we'll be fine."


Mostly, the Eagles first-teamers looked like they lost their focus.


The two offensive series' run by Vick both went three-and-out, not the type of effort the Eagles starting quarterback envisioned when he said just before training camp opened he believes his team has enough talent to begin a dynasty.


"We look forward to making plays, and we weren't making them today," McCoy said.


Vick was sacked once in his six plays and wound up having his hand X-rayed.


The results turned up negative, but so did any early progress the Eagles defense had hoped for.


Steelers starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger directed a 17-play, 52-yard drive during his only series that chewed more than nine minutes off the clock and ended with Shaun Suisham's 46-yard field goal for a 3-0 Pittsburgh lead.


Then Steelers backup Byron Leftwich went to work against Philadelphia's starting defense, tossing a two-yard touchdown to wide-open Emmanuel Sanders for a 10-0 lead just after running back Jonathan Dwyer darted 33 yards through a flailing Eagles defense and into prime scoring position.


The one time Philadelphia did make some progress in the opening half, Steelers defensive end Al Woods thwarted it by picking off a Mike Kafka screen pass and returning it 51 yards.


That set up Suisham's second field goal, as the Steelers took a 13-0 lead into halftime.


Oh well, at least the Eagles got back into some semblance of a game routine, after spending most of the week trying to cope with the loss of Garrett Reid - who was working with Philadelphia's strength and conditioning staff at the time of his death.


At one point early in the first quarter, the same Philadelphia fans who called for Andy Reid's dismissal during two home games last season began chanting his name in a rare outpouring of affection for the Eagles head coach.


"That's honestly a blessing for coach Reid and the fans to support him after the loss he just had. The tragic loss," Jackson said. "Anything we need to do to support coach."


Suddenly, the preseason opener seemed even more insignificant than usual for the Eagles.


But their spirits received a big lift when third-round - and third string - quarterback Nick Foles came in thinking big in the third quarter.


He rolled out and found Damaris Johnson with a 70-yard touchdown bomb. Then Foles fired his second long touchdown pass within two minutes a 44-yard missile that receiver Mardy Gilyard pulled down just inside the pylon to give the Eagles a 14-13 lead with 5:52 to play in the third quarter.


The celebration was brief.


Steelers rookie running back Chris Rainey took a short dump pass and eluded three tackles on his way to a 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown that put Pittsburgh back in command, 20-14.


The Eagles tried to rally and pull out victory, when fourth-string quarterback Trent Edwards tossed to Chad Hall for a 16-yard tackle-breaking touchdown to put Philadelphia back in front, 21-20 with just over five minutes to play.


But the Steelers struck right back, driving 55 yards to set up Daniel Hrapmann's 43-yard field goal at the two-minute warning.


That proved just enough time for Edwards to position the Eagles for Henery's winning kick, which split the uprights as a dwindling Eagles crowd rose to its feet.


 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus



Featured Businesses


Poll



Info Minute



Gas Prices

Wilkes-Barre Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com