On Monday I posted my first half notes from the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-14 over the Philadelphia Eagles and now I have finally compiled the second half notes once again after I accidentally deleted them. I am glad that happened though as it brought a few more things to my attention when I went back through the tape again.
Fullback Will Johnson opens up the second half by whiffing on the opening kickoff block. Nice blocks by both Willie Colon and Max Starks free Rashard Mendenhall for a nice run down the left side. Mendenhall fumbles at the end of the run, but luckily it rolls out of bounds. Wallace is held on a crossing pattern by the Eagles linebacker on the second down play and no call is made. Heath Miller helps out in protection on third down and Ben Roethlisberger delivers a dart to Antonio Brown to move the chains. Roethlisberger floats one to Mike Wallace, and although it would have been a tough catch, I feel he Wallace should have made it being as it hit his hands. Stevenson Sylvester is flagged for holding on the punt and the Steelers are forced to punt again.
The Ryan Clark hit on Brent Celek to the head was stupid and after the whistle. Had Clark not hit him in the head, I bet the flag stays in the pocket. Steve McLendon splits the A gap on a second down play to cause yet another fumble by quarterback Michael Vick, but this time Vick recovers. The helmet-to-helmet call on Ryan Mundy is not very debatable and Mundy needs to lower his target moving forward. This will most likely end up with him receiving his second fine of the season. Larry Foote gets turned around by LeSean McCoy on the touchdown pass as the running back allows Foote to run right past him before cutting up.
Heavy pressure on Roethlisberger on third down of the Steelers next drive has the Steelers punting. There was not too much to write about on that short possession.
Heavy pressure by James Harrison on the first play of the Eagles next drive results in an incomplete pass. Brett Keisel does a great job taking two linemen up the field with him as Harrison loops in behind. Keisel comes free after Vick on the third down play and forces an incomplete throw. McCoy did not have a shot at him coming from the other side.
On the Steelers next drive, Mendenhall starts it off with a nice run as Colon pulls right ahead of him through the hole. Excellent blocking by Miller, Marcus Gilbert, Ramon Foster and Will Johnson provides a very nice lane for Mendenhall on that run. On the very next run play the Eagles blitz and Johnson easily picks up the linebacker that is already in the backfield. Yet another well blocked play and the Eagles front is really getting worn down at this point. Redman follows it up with another great run a few plays later and the Steelers offense is in business. The wide receiver screen to Brown was a great play call against a defense expecting run. Miller is out in front on the play and gets a pancake on Nnamdi Asomugha at the end of the play. Roethlisberger flat out misses Miller with a third down pass along the right sideline later in the drive and the Steelers have settle for a field goal.
On the Eagles next possession Vick hits DeSean Jackson just short of the chains and in front of Ryan Mundy on third down. You can\’t really fault Andy Reid for going for it on fourth down. Reid does burn a challenge though as the spot stands. On the fourth down run by McCoy both Lawrence Timmons and Keenan Lewis have shots to drop him short, but don\’t. It results in McCoy twisting and getting the first down. You have to credit the shiftyness of the Eagles running back on the play. On the 3rd and 4 play that took place at midfield, Ike Taylor goes flying past as he attempts to tackle McCoy way short of the sticks. It ends up with McCoy being just inches short of a first down and Reid goes for it again on fourth down. McCoy gets it to the right easily as Jason Worilds is put on his back by Celek on the play. Mundy misses a tackle on McCoy a few plays later and the Eagles long drive marches on. Jackson catches an under thrown ball underneath Taylor and the Eagles are deep in Steelers territory at this point. The Steelers had blitzed on the play, but it was picked up well and Vick had time to wait for Jackson to break free to the outside. On the short touchdown to Celek, Mundy is driven up the field and the Eagles tight end just cuts left for the easy score. That was a long time consuming drive and it included two fourth down conversions and a third down conversion along the way.
The Steelers final drive gets started with Colon being flagged for the fourth and final hold. On second and long Wallace has one go right off of his hands, which would have been good for a first down. You really have a sick feeling about right now, but Roethlisberger converts on third down to Brown on an exact play that looked similar to one the Steelers ran early in the game with Miller being the target. Brown found the middle of the zone on the play after being passed off and Sanders clears out space. The dump off to Mendenhall was a great play call. Miller, Gilbert and Maurkice Pouncey all blocked very well down the field to spring their running back for a long gain, and more importantly, another first down. After two runs by Isaac Redman up the middle, Roethlisberger hits Emmanuel Sanders on a two-way option route for yet another crucial third down conversion. Mendenhall gets the Steelers further into field goal range on a run bounced to the right end. The play is made possible because Brown has a great block. A pancake in fact. Credit Mendenhall for reading his blocks and making a very nice move on Asomugha. After a few more runs Shaun Suisham drills home the game winner.