Grading the Eagles' performance in Sunday’s 38-29 loss to the Steelers
There were few positives in Sunday's 38-29 loss to the Steelers, but Miles Sanders and Travis Fulgham helped the Eagles' overall average.
Miles Sanders had two touchdown runs, including a 74-yarder late in the first quarter that tied the game. But the Steelers, who have the league’s No. 1-ranked run defense, held Sanders and the Eagles to 19 yards on 12 carries after his long run.
Carson Wentz’s third-quarter interception on a pass to Zach Ertz gift-wrapped a short touchdown drive that gave the Steelers a three-score lead. But overall he had a decent game, particularly when he was throwing to Travis Fulgham, who had 10 catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. And despite what the five sacks might suggest, his young offensive line didn’t do a bad job of protecting him.
Misdirection and jet sweeps continue to confound the Eagles defense. The Steelers had 136 rushing yards, 63 of which came on a pair of runs by wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud. They did a good job on running backs James Conner and Benny Snell, holding them to 2.9 yards per carry
Well, they did a good job of containing J.J. Smith-Schuster (4 catches for 28 yards) but had no luck with speedy rookie Chase Claypool (7 catches for 110 yards and 3 TDs). On Claypool’s last TD catch on a critical third-and-8 late in the game, linebacker Nate Gerry found himself trying to cover him. Claypool easily beat him for a game-clinching 35-yard TD. Ben Roethlisberger completed 13 of 13 third-down passes.
Jake Elliott was wide right with a 57-yard field goal attempt that would have put the Eagles ahead with three minutes and change left in the game. The Steelers' punt and kickoff coverage units shut down the Eagles' return game. The Eagles' coverage units had another solid game and Cam Johnston had a 44.0 net average on two punts.
Given the injuries to both their offensive line and receiving corps, the fact that the Eagles managed to put up 29 points on the Steelers is nothing short of a miracle. But for the third time in five games, Jim Schwartz’s defense coughed up 27-plus points. Their third-down ineptitude against Ben Roethlisberger — the Steelers converted 11 of 15 third-down tries — was painful to watch. They’ve got a good pass rush, but the back end of the defense just isn’t getting the job done as they struggle to convert to a mostly man-coverage defense.