Alex Henery's 51-yard field goal with 12 seconds remaining lifted the Eagles to a dramatic victory, capping a see-saw contest that was decided by deep reserves on each team.
This was long after QB#1 Mike Vick busted up his throwing hand after being pressured and banging it on top of his own center's Jason Kelce's helmet in quarter number two...
Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick runs off the field in pain after injuring his throwing hand during a play in the 2nd quarter of a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Thursday August 9, 2012. (David Maialetti, MCT / August 9, 2012)
Vick injured the thumb on his throwing hand during the second quarter, and X-rays performed at halftime were negative. Fans hearing that breathed a collective sigh of relief, especially after having witnessed backup Mike Kafka throw an interception that was returned 53 yards by Pittsburgh's Al Woods to set up a field goal that made it 13-0.
Nick Foles, who entered in the third quarter with the Eagles still trailing by 13, did not depart until delivering them a one-point lead, thanks to a pair of long touchdown passes. On his first TD pass, he bought time with a scramble to his right and found rookie Damaris Johnson wide open deep behind three obviously confused Steelers defenders. Johnson's catch and run for a 70-yard touchdown brought a crowd that previously hadn't had much to cheer for to life.
Foles followed that up on his next series by hitting Mardy Gilyard with a 44-yard touchdown pass. Gilyard originally was ruled out of bounds at the 1, but a replay challenge made it a score that tied the game, and Henery's extra point gave them a brief lead. Foles finished with six completions on 10 attempts for 144 yards and a passer rating of 143.8.
Even though the Eagles' starters were thoroughly outperformed, the night was not a total loss. A good many individuals, many of them rookies and first-year players in this system, enjoyed some big moments. In fact, rookie running back Bryce Brown was the real star of the interception return by Al Woods, catching him from behind and tripping him up at the 4-yard line to save a touchdown. Brown also alertly tried to knock the ball loose.
Then defensive tackle Derek Landri turned into a one-man wrecking crew, stuffing Baron Batch for a 1-yard loss on first down and dropping Chris Rainey for a 9-yard loss on third-and-goal. Nice showing there by Landri...
The Eagles' rookie punt- and kickoff-return candidates gave some eye-opening performances as well. Cornerback Brandon Boykin fielded a kickoff 8 yards deep in the end zone and still turned the first touch of his career into a 46-yard return. Later, Damaris Johnson fearlessly ran up and snagged a shanked punt off the ground a split-second before nearly getting decapitated by Myron Rolle. Johnson also finished with a team-high four catches for 85 yards.
Even veteran quarterback Trent Edwards, who has struggled for most of training camp, came through with two huge throws during a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that put the Eagles back into the lead, 21-20. Edwards eluded an unblocked blitzer with a back-foot completion to rookie Emil Igwenagu for 8 yards on third-and-10, then found rookie Jamel Hamler in the right flat on fourth down. Hamler then made two tacklers miss on a sensational run after the catch to a find the end zone on a play that covered 16 yards. Finally, Edwards expertly ran a two-minute drill, which included a fourth-down conversion, to set Henery up for the winning field goal.
The mixed results of this contest left the Eagles with appropriately mixed feelings.
"Honestly, I was kind of frustrated," said wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who was limited to one catch for 5 yards. "The first quarter went by kind of fast, so it was kind of unfortunate. The offense came in with five minutes left and then we came in with a three-and-out." The odd first quarter, in which the Steelers ran nearly 10 minutes off the clock with a game-opening drive that netted a field goal, likely is what drove Eagles coach Andy reid to alter his original plan of inserting the second team at the start of the second quarter.
"We were just anxious, man," Jackson said. "We wanted to get back out there and get it going."
Running back LeSean McCoy echoed Jackson's frustration. "We looked forward to making plays and we weren't making them today," he said. "But that's what the preseason's for. It's for kind of going through the motions of it, getting it right, the timing of everything. We'll be fine, though. Give it a couple of games and we'll be fine."
Before the game, a moment of silence was held to honor the memory of Reid's eldest son, Garrett Reid, who was found dead Sunday morning at training camp. Andy Reid returned to work on Wednesday, a day after Garrett's funeral.
"The whole week, we've been battling through everything, the situation that just happened [with Garrett's death]," McCoy said. "We're just trying to weather that and then come out on the field and play ball. It's been tough. It's been a long week. I think once the team settles down a little bit ... we'll be fine."
I'll wait until I see the actual game tape to make a judgement about the current progress and prospects of this team... But based on the comments of our Livefyre commentator crew, and I'm going to echo T-Boner here, I am a little concerned about the first team offense...especially Vick's learning curve...as well as the linebacker and cornerback coverage...and I will leave it at that for now.
I'm not real happy with the reports of sloppy tackling, either... but there is still time enough to correct that...and I'll get to see the evidence for myself on Friday night on NFLN... barring another East Coast thunderstorm.
Kenny,...perhaps unbeknownst to you,..Damaris became my boy after seeing him in TC. I wrote about it. Maybe you should shut yur yapper ,.den check da fax. We should kilt you,..once and for all,.You worse den a stinkin' cat!!!
Talking of punt returns, I liked when during the game, the broadcasters thanked Howie for stopping by.....Howie said, if you don't mind, I will like to stay and watch this PR by Damaris before leaving. Made me happy to note that they are taking this returns seriously finally
@Kenemeka Dat was a neat little nugget. TBT,..Howie is a novice,..hungry for knowledge,.info,.and education. He's learning about the sport of football,.back asswards. I say,..as long as he learns. I'm good.
Can't say how far behind Harris is, was having a good camp till he got hurt. But definitely needs preseaon games. Didn't play last season
@Kenemeka he has to get on the field...too many good bodies at his position to carry him injured this year...
That Cliff Harris had better get on the field and play. He ain't making this team from the trainers table.........as it stands, odds are against him. Both Boykins and Damaris can return kicks/punts
Another thing about Damaris is that the coaches already know about Bri's boy, Chad Hall and want to find out more about Damaris
Andy ain't fooling around this season..it's why he wanted more competition at all positions this year...you play well you start...simple as that...it ain't over yet..and probably won't be for a good part of the season either....
@Birdcrazy I have to agree with that......coupled with the fact that both Wash and Mudd have short fuses, u screw up, they find someone else to take your spot......add the itchy fingered Roseman and you have a bunch
I heard Rwid plans to play the starters deep in the next game since the third one is against the Browns
Phillip Hunt on the first team today at LDE. Rest of line is Cole, Landri and Dixon. Others will be mixed in. .......Reid truly rewards good performance
@Kenemeka Grahm played very well also.
I thought this nearly impossible,..for awhile now,..but wiff the advent of the new reality,..the prospect of #5 re-emerging,.cannot be totally ruled out. Dat would be stranger than fiction,....
@briview Could happen..wouldn't dat be a kick in da butt....
I had a nice dream.....
Eagles - Pats SB. Vick plays well ALL game.
Tough game - 3 min left - we behind a few points, Vick driving - gets hurt - not too bad.
In trots Mc5 - takes us down for last-minute winning TD.
Game over - we win Sb - Vick and Mc5 riding down Broadstreet together.
OK - I'm done
@briview SHUT UP!!
Man..on the side bar..Doc looked masterful last night..that's a great thing to see...he's pitching wid a huge chip on his shoulder...I guarantee you he didn't like the media frenzy about his demise...his death as a elite pitcher was very premature...
I doubt ARI will ever make another trade wiff da Iggles...ouch,Kolb a major disappointment...But iffen he becomes available,him over Edwards all day long.Besides AR and co. would fix'em up a bit as #3.
One thing , by perusing all of youse's posts we all can agree on..our LB's need to have a 1000% upgrade in their play come next premie..hands down...
The thing I like about Andy is..he makes his calls quickly...he formulates things in his mind early and then adds the information necessary to make quick calls on his talent...he pulls the trigger and never looks back....
Talking of Jarret, the only thing worse than making a dumb draft pick is sticking with him longer if he shows no improvement over better talent.......at this stage, I'm thinking of OJ Atogwe, Colt Anderson or even the Syracuse player..Thomas
Too bad for Kafka,but this could be a blessing,ya ya I know ,1 qtr of pre season play dont getcha to the hall but I liked what i saw from Foles and cant wait to see more...AR also had some good things to say about him..Remember when Brady got his shot,whoda thunk it...
I agree with the reporters, a demotion after 6 snaps seems a tad bit in a hurry. Then again, it could just be to light a fire. Having said that, we will all have a better grasp when they play NE.......that includes Foles, Edwards and Jarret........who sadly may not even make the team!!!!
@Kenemeka Yura slave to the media,..and not engaging yur brain. Dunlap deserves a shot,..and it's not just 6 snaps genius. Think about it,..i won't spoon you,..I expect better,...btw,..you look better,.belly up inda delaware,...den here spoutin' parroted sheets...
@Kenemeka First mistake..NEVER agree with reporters...
ATV))) the fact that the rookie Foles is number two tells u all u need to know about Edwards. Might as well kick the tires on a trade for McCoy
@KenemekaYou are an incredible buffoonary. That's what that tells me. Yur blockheadery is beginning to rival Mr Woodcock. How you liking dem apples?
@Kenemeka Kene..I know you like McCoy but don't count your eggs before the chickens...Edwards is still an Eagle...
@Birdcrazy For now........and I don't like McCoy any better than Kafka. Just that he has experience in both the system and the league. I would be happy with AJ Feely or the old J Garcia or even Brozer's boy Kolb