Eagles Miss Black and Golden Opportunity in Pittsburgh

Eagles Miss Black and Golden Opportunity in Pittsburgh

For the fourth time in five games, Michael Vick led the offense on a long scoring drive to put the Eagles ahead in the fourth quarter. For the first time this season, it was not enough to get the job done.

In their longest drive of 2012, the Eagles finally reached paydirt on play number 17, capping an eight-plus minute drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek for their first lead of the afternoon. They left the Steelers far too much time to work though, and Pittsburgh used all of their six-and-a-half minutes to methodically march down the field, then kick a 34-yard field goal to deliver a 16-14 victory as the clock expired.

While the end result was different from previous weeks, the loss serves as a reminder of how difficult it can be to win in the NFL. We should look back on those earlier one- and two-point wins with a new appreciation, as games often will come to one play.

For that reason, it will be equally difficult not to look back on Pittsburgh as a missed opportunity for Philadelphia. Vick's two lost fumbles, and in particular the one right before he could cross the goal line, were enough to tilt the scales in the opponent's favor. Instead of going in for the decisive score on that final possession, as it very well could have been, the Eagles were only able to shut a door while leaving a window open.

That was enough for the Steelers, who pounded the rock into Philly territory to set up the three-point try. Juan Castillo's defense struggled to shut down the rushing attack all day, surrendering 131 yards for a 4.4 average on the ground. Rashard Mendenhall looked 100% in his return from an ACL, gaining 81 by himself and a touchdown.

Ultimately they couldn't get off the field in the end, but otherwise it was a solid defensive effort to hold Pittsburgh to 16 points. The inability of the offense to light the scoreboard continued to be the top story, and the lack of ball protection finally proved costly in a tight game, dropping the Birds' record to 3-2 on the year. More to come ahead.

Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya's 1st MLS goal not enough in draw with Toronto FC

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Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya's 1st MLS goal not enough in draw with Toronto FC

TORONTO -- Justin Morrow scored in the 70th minute and Toronto FC salvaged a point with a 1-1 draw with the Union on Saturday night.

Morrow made a run from his left back position, and midfielder Jonathan Osorio laid the ball off to Morrow for a tight-angle shot. Toronto (13-8-9) had its second straight home tie,

Alejandro Bedoya scored for Philadelphia (11-11-9) in the 25th minute. Bedoya took a pass from Fabian Herbers with his back to the Toronto goal, quickly spun past the Toronto back line and chipped a shot that looped over goalkeeper Clint Irwin.

Penn State routed by No. 4 Michigan at The Big House

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Penn State routed by No. 4 Michigan at The Big House

BOX SCORE

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- De'Veon Smith led an overwhelming ground game with 107 yards rushing and a touchdown and Karan Higdon ran for two scores and No. 4 Michigan routed Penn State 49-10 on Saturday in both teams' Big Ten opener.

The Wolverines scored six touchdowns on the ground as they finished with 326 yards rushing. Wilton Speight threw one touchdown pass.

Michigan (4-0) dominated both sides of the ball. Penn State (2-2) has lost three straight to the Wolverines.

Jabrill Peppers gave the fans an early thrill by returning Penn State's first punt to the 9, although a bench-interference penalty moved the ball to the Nittany Lions 24. Seven plays later, Khalid Hill dove in on 4th-and-goal from the 1.

The Wolverines also scored touchdowns on their next two drives. Penn State finally got a couple stops, but the Wolverines took a 28-0 halftime lead on Higdon's 2-yard run.

The Nittany Lions got on the board with a field goal early in the third, but Chris Evans made it 35-3 with a 3-yard run and the Wolverines cruised to the win.

The takeaway
Penn State: The Nittany Lions came into the Big House without any of their starting linebackers then lost Brandon Smith to a second-quarter targeting penalty. That left the Penn State defense helpless against Michigan's running game and short passes. The offense was even worse, putting up 50 yards in the first half. Saquon Barkley had 19 yards rushing and caught two passes for 47 yards, but the rest of the team combined for minus-16.

Michigan: The Wolverines dominated in the trenches, with their defensive line continuously overrunning Penn State's offensive line. They registered five sacks while building their first-half lead and Speight had all the time he needed.

Poll implications
Michigan: The Wolverines came in at No. 4 and there seems little chance that will change much with No. 1 Alabama winning earlier in the day in a blowout and No. 2 Ohio State on a bye.

Up next
Penn State: Returns to Happy Valley for the first of three straight home games. The Nittany Lions face Minnesota next Saturday in the Golden Gophers' first trip to Penn State since 2009.

Michigan: Plays its fifth-straight game at the Big House to open the season, but will have a tougher test against Wisconsin. The 11th-ranked Badgers routed No. 8 Michigan State 30-6 in East Lansing.