Sunday, October 7, 2012

PITTSBURGH -- Thoughts on the Pittsburgh Steelers' 16-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles: What it means: The Steelers avoided their first 1-3 start under Mike Tomlin with a sloppy yet dramatic win over the Eagles. Shaun Suisham's 34-yard field goal as game expired helped Pittsburgh improve to 2-2 and keep pace with the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger led a 14-play, 64-yard winning drive in the fourth quarter, which came after Philadelphia took its first lead of the game. The Steelers are 5-1 under Tomlin following a bye and have won five straight home games. Roethlisberger comes up big: Roethlisberger carried the Steelers once again and led them on a game-winning, fourth quarter drive. He completed 4 of 5 passes for 50 yards. His biggest play was converting a third-and-12 with a 20-yard pass to Antonio Brown. Mendenhall makes his mark: Running back Rashard Mendenhall made an impact in his first game since ACL surgery in January. He jumpstarted one of the worst defenses in the NFL with 81 yards on 14 carries. He scored the Steelers' only touchdown on a 13-yard run (off a Roethlisberger lateral). Not making the stop: The Eagles took their first lead of the game in the fourth quarter because the Pittsburgh defense couldn't make the critical stop. The Steelers allowed Philadelphia to convert twice on fourth-and-short and gave up the two-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek on third-and-goal. Receivers don't step up: The Steelers had to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown on their final drive of the first half. Brown dropped a pass in the end zone, and Jerricho Cotchery stumbled after making a catch and fell two yards short of the goal line. A drop by Mike Wallace on third down ended a drive in the third quarter. Penalties haunt defense: With the Steelers ahead 10-0 in the third quarter, the defense helped the Eagles to their first touchdown. Two 15-yard penalties were critical in the 80-yard drive. Ryan Clark was flagged for unnecessary roughness, and Ryan Mundy was penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit. Not cashing in: The Steelers defense got turnovers early, but the offense failed to capitalize. Pittsburgh scored no points off two Michael Vick fumbles, although one in the red zone stopped the Eagles from scoring. The Steelers only had three takeaways before this game. Injuries continue to hurt Steelers: Safety Troy Polamalu left in the first quarter after re-injuring his calf, and linebacker LaMarr Woodley later went out with an injured hamstring. Both never returned. Polamalu missed the past two games with a calf injury, and Woodley was sidelined six games last year with a hamstring injury. What's next: After having a bye, the Steelers play their second game in five days when they play at the Tennessee Titans.

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