A pathetic performance by Eagles’ defense vs. Steelers


The Steelers like to play a slow, methodical, almost plodding style of football. They win by running the ball, stopping the run and keeping the score down.

This isn’t some high-flying wide-open offense built to score a ton of points. They want to win low-scoring defensive battles.

So then they went out and scored 38 against an Eagles defense that put up little resistance.

Ben Roethlisberger, Chase Claypool and the Steelers embarrassed the Eagles' defense Sunday, scoring on five straight drives at one point on their way to a 38-29 win at Heinz Field.

The 38 points are the 2nd-most the Eagles have allowed under the Doug Pederson-Jim Schwartz regime, behind only the 48 in New Orleans two year ago.

The Steelers had gone an NFL-long 26 straight games without scoring 30 points.

The Eagles and Steelers have played 80 times. That’s the most points the Steelers have ever scored against the Eagles.

It’s been a strange year for the Eagles’ defense. Lots of ups and downs.

Sunday was all down, and the Eagles are 1-3-1 because of that.

That should be a 76ers defense, not an Eagles win-loss record.

“We try to hold up our end of the bargain and we didn’t do that today,” Brandon Graham said. “When the offense is clicking, we’ve got to make sure we’re clicking, too. Can’t be one side clicking and the other isn’t.”

The Eagles were 37-1 since 2013 when they scored 29 points.

Now they’re 37-2.


The offense finally does some good things, and it’s all wasted by a defense that couldn’t cover, couldn’t tackle and couldn’t get off the field on third down.

“Ben is a very experienced quarterback, he’s seen a lot, and they had a plan on how they wanted to attack us,” Rodney McLeod said. “Quick gains to eliminate the pass rush. We have to understand how teams are going to try and attack us playing a lot more man this year and be prepared for it.”

The Steelers’ game plan was simple.

Have Roethlisberger get rid of the ball quickly to neutralize the pass rush and count on missed tackles to turn short passes into big gains.

Worked perfectly.

Roethlisberger was only sacked once and became only the fifth QB ever to complete 79 percent of his passes with 3 TDs and 0 INTs against the Eagles.

“The ball was coming out fast,” Graham said. “That was the game plan. It’s respect for us. They’re getting it out and getting it to the perimeter, but we’ve got to make sure we’re tackling and rallying to the ball and that’s something we can continue to keep on getting better with because that’s exactly what they do - they try to take the d-line out of the game and that’s what we’re going to see moving forward, so we have to make sure we get that corrected.”

And the Eagles simply couldn’t cover Claypool, who became the 9th player ever to score four touchdowns against the Eagles and the second rookie.

Overall, the Steelers were a ridiculous 11-for-15 against the Eagles on third down. That’s 73.3 percent, and that’s the second-highest against the Eagles since the NFL began tracking third downs in 1991.

In 1995, the Raiders were 9-for-11 in that 48-17 win over the Eagles in Randall Cunningham’s final start as an Eagle.

Roethlisberger was 14-for-14 for 195 yards and a 142.6 passer rating on third down.

“We just didn’t execute well,” McLeod said. “(Third down) was a point of emphasis coming into this game. Every game honestly. Defensively, if we want to have an opportunity to win the game we have to perform well on third down, red zone and turnovers. Those situations matter, and we came up short today. A lot of it was self-inflicted whether it was penalties or us just not executing the way we have in the past.”

The Eagles have now allowed 145 points, 5th-most in franchise history after five games and 2nd-most in the last 50 years.

They were missing Avonte Maddox Sunday and Darius Slay left the game early.

But this has nothing to do with injuries.

This is a terrible defense right now. There are no excuses for a performance like this.