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Old 08-26-2006, 05:23 AM   #1
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Default Eagles harass Big Ben, drop Steelers, 16-7

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


PHILADELPHIA -- Ben Roethlisberger had his roughest of three preseason games last night as the Philadelphia Eagles bounced the Steelers' quarterback around and shut his offense out.

Roethlisberger was sacked once, intercepted once and knocked to the ground four times in two series of work. Philadelphia went on to beat the Steelers, 16-7, and keep them winless this summer.

Despite the beating Roethlisberger took, coach Bill Cowher cited his quarterback and halfback Willie Parker as two players who, perhaps above all, are in good form as September looms.

"I'm very confident where those two guys are," Cowher said.

The state of his overall running game, though, was another matter. They gained 108 yards on 30 carries last night, but quarterback Shane Boyd had 39 of those yards on four carries.

"We have not been able to get that going on any consistent basis,'' Cowher said.

Philadelphia's David Akers kicked three first-half field goals and Jeff Garcia threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis.

Cedrick Wilson caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Charlie Batch for the Steelers' only score as Jeff Reed missed two long field-goal tries. It was Wilson's second touchdown reception in two games; he caught one last week from Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger completed 9 of 14 passes for 52 yards last night and had a 41.4 passer rating. He has played in four series over three games, leading his offense to one touchdown, completing 15 of 22 passes for 111 yards.

"The way he's managed the game, the way he's performed on the field, I think it speaks well," Cowher said. "I like his mindset, the way he's operated the offense. I just like where he's at, not just in games, but on the practice field as well."

Roethlisberger and the Eagles' Donovan McNabb traded first-quarter interceptions except McNabb's was overturned by coach Andy Reid's replay challenge, and it helped the Eagles to a 3-0 lead.

Cornerback Ike Taylor, who admitted to dropping at least 10 possible interceptions last season, dropped two in the course of three plays to keep the Eagles' first series going. He knocked down one deep pass, but should have picked it off. Two plays later, the officials said he intercepted a pass at the Steelers' 26 that was intended for Reggie Brown.

But Reid tossed his red flag for a review, and it was clear that Taylor dropped the ball after making a good move to jump in front of Brown.

"He made two good breaks," Cowher said of Taylor's initial moves on both plays. "I'd like to see him come down with those balls."

Akers kicked a 40-yard field goal for Philadelphia after Taylor's drops.

Roethlisberger ended a promising first series by throwing an interception to safety Brian Dawkins while scrambling on third down, an "ill-advised throw,'' Cowher said. Roethlisberger came under plenty of pressure on that first series and was knocked down four times, three plays in a row near the end, the last a sack.

Nevertheless, the Steelers moved from their 20 to a first down at the Eagles' 35 on the first series. But Roethlisberger was penalized 15 yards and loss of down for intentional grounding, and things went downhill from there, ending with the interception.

The Eagles doubled their lead in the second quarter when Akers kicked a 49-yard field goal after McNabb was sacked by Larry Foote and Brett Keisel for a total of 13 yards on two of the drive's final three plays.

Batch replaced Roethlisberger for the Steelers' third offensive series midway through the second quarter. They did little until, with 1:30 left, they took over at their 47 and moved 53 yards in 50 seconds. Batch, with a blitzing linebacker in his face, delivered a perfect slant pass to Wilson, who caught it at the four for a 23-yard touchdown.

That gave the Steelers a 7-6 lead with 38 seconds left in the half, but the Eagles covered 35 yards in six plays behind Garcia and Akers kicked his 52-yard field goal as the half expired to put Philadelphia back on top, 9-7.

The Eagles struck quickly in the second half following a Steelers punt. Lewis streaked deep on the first play, scorched cornerback Ricardo Colclough and hauled in Garcia's deep pass for a 61-yard touchdown and a 16-7 lead.

"He got beat," Cowher said.

Reed tried a 50-yard field goal with 4:14 left in the third quarter -- with Mike Barr, not regular Chris Gardocki, holding. Reed missed to the left because, Cowher said, it was a bad hold.

Eagles backup kicker E.J. Cochrane followed three minutes later by sending a 48-yard field goal try wide.

Omar Jacobs replaced Batch (10 of 15, 72 yards, 99.9 rating) at quarterback for the Steelers with one minute left in the third quarter. On third and one, he lost a fumble when hit, and the Eagles recovered at the Steelers' 36.

That was it for Jacobs. Shane Boyd was sent out for the next series early in the fourth quarter. He scrambled three times for a total of 29 yards, completed a 27-yard pass to Lee Mays and guided the Steelers from their 13 to Philadelphia's 29. Reed, though, sent his 47-yard field-goal try wide left.

Boyd directed another nice drive to a second down at the Eagles' 5, but from there he, too, lost a fumble with less than four minutes to go.


Stats that matter from last night's game


64.3
Completion percentage (9 of 14) for Ben Roethlisberger.

21
Yards rushing for Duce Staley on 11 carries (a 1.9 average)

1987
The last time the Steelers started 0-3 in the preseason

75
Players teams must cut rosters down to by 4 p.m. Tuesday
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Old 08-26-2006, 05:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Eagles harass Big Ben, drop Steelers, 16-7

Well I was around for the 1st half last night and have just caught up with the 2nd via the game thread.

Sounds like people aren't too happy with what they are seeing out there at this time.

As people have noted, it is pre-season and the Steelers got off to a flier last year when it mattered.

It should be remembered that the 1st two games of last year were against two of the worst teams in the NFL.

I see that Cowher 'likes where Ben is' - which seemed to be mostly under a pile of Eagles defenders last night.

Did he throw any long balls last night, apart from the one picked off?

After last nights game who are the risers and fallers?

From what I can tell, i'll give you mine.

Risers

Anthony Smith
Charlie Batch
Cedric Wilson
Willie Reid.

Fallers

Duce Staley
Ike Taylor
Richard Colcough
The whole offensive line.

NM
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Old 08-26-2006, 06:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: Eagles harass Big Ben, drop Steelers, 16-7

Its preseason, but the O-line looks a little rough right now. With the Ben accident , now wouyld be the time to protect him, so that he gets 100%. Everything else will come. It is so nice to see the same old Cowher, he isn`t playing for the win. He ses the big picture!
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Last edited by clevestinks; 08-26-2006 at 06:21 AM. Reason: Eneding sucked
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