Why the Philadelphia Eagles Lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers

Bernie OllilaContributor IIIOctober 8, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 07:Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers gets tripped up by Kurt Coleman #42 of the Philadelphia Eagles on October 7, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

There are only two things that meet the criteria in this conversation. You can’t qualify anything on the offensive side of the ball, because the last time the offense saw the field the Eagles were up on the scoreboard. They had redeemed themselves for their shortcomings and misgivings.

Sure, the Eagles could have had more points if Michael Vick hadn't fumbled the ball in the end zone during the first quarter. Even though the last time he saw the field his team was up, the turnovers are unforgivable. However, that’s not why the team lost.

The Eagles’ loss to the Steelers this past Sunday can be attributed to poor coaching and bad defense.

If the Steelers needed to, they could have scored a touchdown to win the game on their final drive.

Did anything about the Birds’ defense look different on the last drive?

Yes, it did. The Eagles were playing in a zone defense that Ben Roethlisberger was picking apart. To be specific, he threw in Brandon Boykin’s direction for a few critical gains.

Throughout the entire game, the Eagles’ defensive line could not bring Roethlisberger down. It’s great that they could pressure him, but now the defense has gone two games without recording a sack. Given the expectations of the Birds’ defense heading into this season, that kind of thing is inexcusable.

Furthermore, the defense had given us no reason to believe that they would be able to stop the Steelers’ offense at the end of the fourth quarter. They did nothing to help themselves.

The game last Sunday came down to the last drive, and the Eagles were not able to keep the Steelers at bay. With the weather conditions what they were, and the fact that Heinz Field is notoriously rough on kickers, who knows what could have happened if Shaun Suisham’s game-winning field goal had been attempted from 10 or 20 more yards out?

If the Eagles hadn’t had been in the coverage they were, Antonio Brown would not have been able to get behind Brandon Boykin and catch a ball for a 20-yard gain on 3rd-and-12. Shortly thereafter, on 3rd-and-4, Roethlisberger took advantage of the zone coverage—and Brandon Boykin—again when he hit Weslye Saunders for a seven-yard gain and a first down.

There might have been hope, though, if someone had told Andy Reid that timeouts can be very useful at the end of a game.

There were questionable calls from the Eagles’ sideline throughout the entire game. Andy Reid was very lucky that LeSean McCoy was at his disposal during 4th-and-short situations. I loved the aggressiveness, but we’d be singing a different tune if the team hadn't been able to convert.

Ultimately, you can blame bad defensive play and bad defensive play-calling for the loss. And you can blame Andy Reid for leaving himself without an opportunity to get the ball back at the end because of his reckless timeout mismanagement.

Last Sunday’s game wasn’t a must-win, but it would have given the Birds a lot of breathing room. To say that loss was disappointing would be an understatement.