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Foles, Eagles Rally to Win Against Steelers, Andy Reid Cheered

Alas, the long football offseason is finally over and us couch potatoes can return to the sofas, turn on FOX, and watch some Eagles football. Kind of.

Reid tips his cap to thank everyone who supported him in his most tragic week (AP).

It was the first preseason game for the “Redeem Team” against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but more importantly it was the first game Andy Reid has coached since losing his son, Garrett Reid, almost a week ago. It was the first day in Andy’s tenure that the entire state of Pennsylvania, even NFL nation, came together as one to support him. As Reid took the field, there was a moment of silence for Garrett, then Lincoln Financial Field exploded with cheers for Andy. In the middle of the first quarter, Andy received a standing ovation after a video was played on the big screen of Reid thanking the fans for all the support.

It was ironic how compassionate Eagles fans can be after chants of “Fire Andy!” were heard last November after the blowout loss versus the Patriots.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger started the game out sharp, going 7-for-8 with 49 yards. In his first game with new offensive coach Todd Haley, he led the Steelers on a 16-play drive that ended with a 46-yard Shaun Suisham field goal. During the opening series, the Steelers held the ball for almost ten minutes and converted at least once on both third and fourth down.

Michael Vick, unfortunately, wasn’t as good. In his second and last series, he injured his thumb after hitting it on center Jason Kelce’s helmet. The Eagles went 3-and-out on both series he participated in. Thankfully, the x-rays on Vick’s throwing hand were negative and he is likely to return next week.

Meanwhile, for the Steelers, Byron Leftwich kept the offense rolling after Roethlisberger left, connecting with Emmanuel Sanders for a 2-yard touchdown early in the second that put Pittsburgh up 10-0. Suisham would tack on another field goal late in the quarter to put Pittsburgh up 13-0 at the half.

After Vick left with his injury and Mike Kafka—who’ll be out for two to three weeks—fractured his non-throwing hand, rookie Nick Foles out of Arizona took over and led an impressive Eagles comeback. Foles connected with undrafted free agent Damaris Johnson—a strong candidate to make the roster—on a 70-yard TD that cut the lead to six before finding Mardy Gillard—another UDFA—for a 44-yard TD on his very next throw to put the Eagles up 14-13. Foles finished by going 6-for-10 with 144 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

The Eagles defense, however, wasn’t able to keep the score right there. Jerrod Johnson, Pittsburgh’s third and final quarterback of the game, found Chris Rainey of Florida for a 57-yard touchdown that put his team back on top, 20-14, at the end of three quarters.

Trent Edwards, the veteran the Eagles signed to replace Vince Young, capped off a 60-yard drive with a 16-yard toss to Jamel Hamler that put Philadelphia up 21-20 with 5:26 remaining in the game.

Henery watches the game-winner sail through the posts (Getty).

After the Steelers went up 23-21 on a field goal by Daniel Hrapmann with 1:57 remaining, Edwards again led the Eagles down the field; with only 12 seconds remaining, rookie kicker Alex Henery began to put last year’s San Francisco game behind him with a clutch, 51-yard field goal to win the game 24-23.

The Eagles’ ferocious pass rush came in full force against Pittsburgh, sacking their QBs seven times over the course of 60 minutes. Phillip Hunt at two while Monte Taylor, Xavier Brown, Brandon Graham and Cedric Thornton each had one.

For both teams, many key players weren’t on the field when needed. For the Steelers, James Harrison, Rashard Mendenhall, and Casey Hampton were out with injuries while longtime veterans Hines Ward and James Farrior retired this year. Fullback David Johnson and tackle Mike Adams both left with knee injuries.

For the Eagles, starters Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek, Jason Babin, Trent Cole, and Nate Allen all sat out with injuries while defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins left early with a hamstring injury. All starters are expected to play in Week 1 of the regular season against Cleveland.

Remember to tune in on Monday, August 20 when the Eagles take on the Patriots in Foxborough. The game will be shown on ABC and ESPN at 8 PM.

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Categories: Beat Writing, Eagles

Author:Curran Aiyer

I like sports and gaming - obviously sports games like 2K and Madden. I'm not a big NASCAR or Poker fan because they require very little athletic skill but I am a HUGE NFL, NBA, and MLB fan. Check out Khandyman.com for my writings.

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