The Eagles take on the Steelers Sunday at 1pm. These aren’t the Pittsburgh Steelers, these are they Mystery Steelers.
Injuries robbed them of Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, and Rashard Mendenhall so when you see a record of 1-2 and some poor stats…how much can you buy into those numbers? The flip side is to ask just how healthy the guys are now (all 3 are projected to play). I really don’t have a good feel for this team at all.
There was a play in the Raiders game where Darren McFadden busted loose for a 64-yard TD. I re-watched that play several times. There was no Steelers defender in the gap he hit. ILB Lawrence Timmons went to the wrong gap. S Ryan Mundy made a poor tackle attempt up the field and that was all she wrote. This isn’t Steelers football. This isn’t Dick LeBeau defense. To semi-quote Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is goin’ on out there?”
I’m still working on a preview, but check out this stuff:
* The Steelers run game doesn’t exist. In 3 games, 74 carries for 195 yards. 2.6 ypc. 1 TD. I can’t stress to you how bad 2.6 ypc is. A team should average a minimum of 3.5 ypc. This isn’t all on Isaac Redman either. The OL gets no push.
* As for that total of 195 yards…the Eagles rushed for 191 vs the Giants.
* Big Ben is playing lights out. QB rating is 109.2. 8 TDs, 1 INT.
* Ben has been sacked 9 times (3 per game). He will hold the ball. If we don’t get 3 or 4 sacks minimum, I’ll be highly disappointed.
* The Steelers have 11 pass plays of longer than 20 yards this year. Brent Celek has 8 by himself. Weird.
* Scoring has gone up each week for them: 19 to 27 to 31. They have more points this year than the Eagles despite playing in one less game. That’s crazy.
* Steelers are 0-2 on the road, 1-0 at home. We play them in Pittsburgh.
* Offense is 13th in points, 18th in yards.
* Defense is 21st in points, 5th in yards (like us early last year?)
* Defense is ranked 14th vs the run, but 3rd vs the pass. That sounds good, but look inside that even. Opposing QBs have a rating of 99.8 vs the Steelers. To put that in perspective, last year QBs had a rating of 71.7.
* The Steelers pass rush isn’t getting the job done. They only have 5 sacks. This isn’t a pressure vs sacks issue either. They’ve only got 1 INT and QBs complete 61 percent of passes against them. There was one play in the Raiders game where it felt like Carson Palmer could have stood with the ball for 10 seconds. I was shocked.
Are these numbers crazy or what?
If Harrison can be disruptive up front and Polamalu can make plays all over the field, the defense should be vastly improved. I just don’t know what to expect from these guys. Harrison had knee surgery. Polamalu was dealing with a calf strain.
Mendenhall could be huge for the offense. The line isn’t getting much push, but that is compounded by Redman’s lack of burst/speed. Mendenhall can turn a loss into a short gain and a short gain into 10 yards. They haven’t had that element so far.
Sunday is going to be real interesting. Which Steelers show up? Which Eagles show up? I do think it is possible for the Eagles to blow this team out. I also think it is possible for the Steelers to look completely different and play like a playoff team.
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I put up some draft notes. There is a new Penn State LB to fall in love with. He’s no Sean Lee or Navarro Bowman, but is pretty darn good. I’m still dreaming of the day the Eagles get a PSU LB on the squad.
As a bonus…there is a good video of him and an explosive RB. Fun stuff.
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Les Bowen wrote about the Eagles and Steelers. As he points out, you know the Steelers will study the Cards gameplan for how to attack us. One big difference…no Daryl Washington, no Patrick Peterson, and no Calais Campbell.