In the 1970s, the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in six years. They had nine men that ended their careers with busts in Canton.
Four came on defense and were major factors in a defense that is considered by some to be the best defense that ever played the game. The defense was called the Steel Curtain. The curtain would fall on offenses and destroy any chance of outscoring the Steelers magnificent offense.
However, when Pittsburgh faced the Philadelphia Eagles yesterday, they knew what it was like to be the other offense. Now I'm not saying the Eagles have a Steel Curtain, but that defense for at least that one game did look to me like the Steel Curtain. And that curtain closed the show.
The Steelers did not have a play over 20 yards until tight end Heath Miller recorded a 21-yard reception in the final two minutes of the game. They had one trip in the red zone in the fourth quarter. Willie Parker was held to 20 yards on 13 carries with eight yards being his longest pickup.
Big Ben Roethlisberger escaped four sacks but managed only six yards from rushing. Notice I said escaped. He was sacked eight times and the Eagles recorded a safety.
The safety was brought on by a intentional grounding penalty (which was called incorrectly) Roethlisberger had his knee down so it would have been a safety anyway. Roethlisberger threw for only 131 yards and Byron Leftwich only threw 60. Leftwich was also sacked once.
Asante Samuel intercepted Roethlisberger, while defensive end Juqua Parker and safety Brian Dawkins each forced fumbles that the Eagles recovered.
Nine sacks, three takeaways, a ton of quarterback hurries and knockdowns, and a safety. That is an amazing defensive stand. This is the second time that Pittsburgh has been held back on its offense.
Coming off a 10-6 win over the Browns in the second week, you would think that the offense is ready to tear up the field. But the Eagles's defense would not allow it.
Now the Steelers defense was good too. It held the Eagles's offense to 15 points while sacking quarterback Donovan McNabb three times and putting him out of the game for a little bit. The also kept the Eagles to 65 rushing yards (even though Westbrook was out). They had two interceptions themselves with Troy Polamalu intercepting quarterback Kevin Kolb's first ever NFL pass.
It was a good defensive battle with the Eagle's punter as the one of the MVPs. His punts were spot on and gave the Steelers horrible field position to work with.
The Philadelphia Eagles may have lost to Dallas, but they are still a major threat to fear. They could be the Super Bowl team. We shall see what happens next as they play Chicago next Sunday with Madden and Michaels.
The Steelers will have to face division rival, the Baltimore Ravens, next Sunday. It will be interesting to see if the Ravens's defense can do what the Eagles did.