Preseason Report: Eagles Defeat Pittsburgh in Entertaining Preseason Game... Really!

Preseason Report: Eagles Defeat Pittsburgh in Entertaining Preseason Game... Really!

The Good

Making a Good First Impression

Most of the rookies were impressive in their first NFL action, but none more so than Nick Foles. Normally when the starters come out of a preseason game, you can tune out and feel comfortable knowing you're not going to miss too much. With the Steelers leading the Eagles 13-0 going into the locker room on Thursday night, that was pretty much my mindset the rest of the game. Watch the second half casually, you can always go back and review it again later for your notes.

Wrong. Foles turned this into one of the most exciting Eagles preseason games I can remember.

The third-round pick entered the game in the third quarter, looking fairly crisp for two series, but to no avail. Apparently the third time is the charm for Foles. Following a Steelers punt, Foles dropped back on first down and scanned the field. With pressure in his face, he escaped the pocket, but was composed enough to keep his head up. It paid off with his first NFL touchdown pass.

Foles found Damaris Johnson wide open 45 yards away and connected, with Johnson running the rest of the way to complete the 70-yard scoring play. Following another punt, on his very next pass Foles went deep again, this time hitting Mardy Gilyard at the pylon for a 44-yard touchdown.

Just like that, the Eagles led 14-13. The action went back and forth the rest of the night until Alex Henery drilled a 51-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining to steal a 24-23 victory.

Foles stole the show, but the class of 2012 was on full display. While only credited with a tackle assist, Fletcher Cox looked strong, forcing a couple of runs to go east-west. Mychal Kendricks wasn't tested vertically, but showed tremendous instincts and wound up with four solo tackles. Vinny Curry looked strong against the run going against Pittsburgh's twos, notching five tackles. Brandon Boykin added a 46-yard kick return. And Dion Lewis may have some serious competition from Bryce Brown, who looks quick and powerful, finishing with 33 yards on three carries and two receptions for 16.

Opposing Quarterbacks, Beware

The Eagles were without Jason Babin and Trent Cole on Thursday night, a duo on the edges that combined for 29 sacks a season ago. No matter. The front four had little trouble getting pressure on Steelers quarterbacks, particularly defensive ends Philip Hunt, Brandon Graham, and Darryl Tapp. The three of them combined for 3.5 sacks, and generally harassed the passer any time he stood in the pocket for longer than two seconds.

It's worth noting the Steelers were starting a rookie left tackle, who Hunt abused for two sacks and a strip on his own. Regardless, those guys got the job done.

Wrapping Up

One more thing I liked about the defense was there weren't a ton of missed tackles by the first teamers. No doubt we could go back and find a couple, but generally speaking, when a defender had a clean shot at the ball carrier, he either brought him to the turf, or corralled him until the rest of the unit swarmed. There are obviously still a few kinks to work out, but that much was a good sign.

The Bad

I Don't Even Have Dish

Thanks to thunderstorms in the area, there was a roughly 10-minute interruption to my feed of the game, so I missed two series in their entirety -- including Vick's second act. What I saw of his first trip wasn't the worst. He checked down for a short gain on first down, then had to eat the ball on third. The Eagles were in max protection on the sack, but Pittsburgh didn't blitz, and it appeared Vick couldn't find anybody open.

I can't speak for his next outing, but obviously Vick injured his thumb on center Jason Kelce's helmet. X-rays are negative, which is positive, but that (injury) more than anything else is what we don't need to see from Vick.

This Run

I could drive my car through that hole. Went 33 yards, setting up Pittsburgh's first touchdown.

Still?

Three plays later, the Steelers scored easily when either Nnamdi Asomugha, Jaiquawn Jarrett, or Brian Rolle inexplicably failed to cover a receiver at the goal line. There was another long passing play earlier where it appeared Jarrett was left all alone by the sidelines to cover two receivers. There were a lot of excuses for confusion in the secondary last season, but it won't stand this year. Of course, this is what preseason is for, but they have to clean it up.

Best of MLB: Nelson Cruz drives in 7 as Mariners pummel Blue Jays

Best of MLB: Nelson Cruz drives in 7 as Mariners pummel Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Nelson Cruz hit his ninth career grand slam and added a three-run shot, and Hisashi Iwakuma pitched six innings to win his fifth straight start in Seattle's victory over Toronto.

Cruz hit his slam off R.A. Dickey (7-11) in the third, then added a three-run drive off Drew Storen in the eighth for his 20th career multi-homer game. He has 25 home runs this season.

It was the 13th time in team history a Mariners player has recorded seven RBIs. The team record is eight by Mike Blowers, Mike Cameron and Alvin Davis.

Kyle Seager hit a two-run homer and Nori Aoki had two RBIs and scored twice as the Mariners used a season-high 19 hits to win their third straight. Iwakuma (11-6) allowed two runs and four hits.

Wade LeBlanc pitched the final three innings for his first save (see full recap).

Stanton leads Marlins past Mets
MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton homered and had his first four-hit game since 2012, driving in three runs to give Jose Fernandez all the support he needed, and Miami beat New York.

Miami rocked Jacob deGrom (6-5), who allowed 10 hits and five runs, both season highs, and lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his shortest outing since August.

Fernandez (12-4) gave up two runs in seven innings to match his career high for victories, achieved in his 2013 rookie season. He also had two hits, hiking his average to .265, and drove in the first run.

Home Run Derby winner Stanton put Miami ahead to stay in the third inning when he hit a majestic two-run homer off the left-field scoreboard above the 401-foot sign. He added an RBI single in the fourth, and singled in the first and sixth, hiking his average to .241 after a prolonged slump (see full recap).  

Dodgers snap Cardinals' 5-game win streak
ST. LOUIS -- Adrian Gonzalez hit his eighth homer, red-hot Justin Turner got two more RBIs and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat St. Louis 7-2 on Saturday night to end the Cardinals' five-game winning streak.

Turner's two-run double capped a four-run third. He has 14 RBIs since the All-Star break.

Gonzalez's 429-foot solo blast to center sparked a three-run sixth.

Kenta Maeda (9-7) rebounded from a poor outing against Arizona on July 17, giving up two runs over 5 2/3 innings. Only one of the Cardinals' first 15 batters was able to hit the ball out of the infield against the Japanese right-hander.

Andrew Toles went 3 for 4 and scored once for the Dodgers. He has reached safely in nine of 10 games since being called up from the minors.

Mike Leake (7-8) allowed seven runs -- six earned -- in six innings.

Matt Adams homered for the second consecutive game. His blast to left in the fourth extended the Cardinals' streak of home runs to 14 straight games.

Aledmys Diaz reached safely for the 26th straight game with a first-inning single. Diaz's streak is the second-longest by a Cardinals rookie since Albert Pujols had streaks of 30 and 48 games in 2001 (see full recap).

Drew's walk-off triple lifts Nats past Padres
WASHINGTON -- Pinch-hitter Stephen Drew hit a game-ending RBI triple in the ninth inning to lift Washington past San Diego,

Anthony Rendon opened the bottom off the ninth with a single off reliever Kevin Quackenbush (6-4). Drew entered with one out and drove a pitch off the center-field scoreboard, and Rendon raced around the bases for the winning run.

Jonathan Papelbon (2-2) allowed a leadoff double in the ninth before retiring three straight batters. San Diego left runners in scoring position in each of the last two innings.

Washington starter Max Scherzer struck out 10 over seven innings (see full recap).

Giants top Yanks in extras to snap losing skid
NEW YORK -- Mac Williamson homered in the fifth inning and hit a tiebreaking single in the 12th, lifting San Francisco past New York for the Giants' first victory since the All-Star break.

NL West-leading San Francisco had lost a season-high six straight games and had held just one lead since the break -- when Buster Posey hit a go-ahead home run leading off the 10th inning at San Diego on July 16 only to have the Padres rally for a pair of runs in the bottom half against Santiago Casilla.

Williamson, whose fourth-inning error allowed the Yankees' run, began the comeback when he connected off Ivan Nova leading off the fifth.

Trevor Brown hit an opposite-field double to right off Anthony Swarzak (1-1) leading off the 12th, and Williamson singled up the middle with one out, just past the glove of diving shortstop Didi Gregorius. San Francisco was 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 7 for 64 (.111) since the All-Star break, before Williamson's single.

Cheered on by hundreds of orange-clad fans in the Giants' old hometown, San Francisco escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 10th when Casilla (2-3) retired Brian McCann on a shallow flyout and Starlin Castro on a foulout. Hunter Strickland pitched a perfect 12th for his second save (see full recap).

Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

Joel Embiid posts amazing tribute to Sam Hinkie on Instagram

The treasure trove that is Joel Embiid's social media presence unearthed another jewel on Saturday evening.

The Sixers' big man took to Instagram to post a picture of himself chatting with local folk legend Sam Hinkie. As if that wasn't enough, check out the captions he wrote at the bottom.

THE GOAT #HeDiedForOurSins #TrustTheProcess

A photo posted by Joel Hans Embiid (@joelembiid) on

Let us break this down.

"THE GOAT" - As in Greatest Of All Time, not an actual goat you would find at your local petting zoo.

"#HeDiedForOurSins" - St. Sam, patron saint of analytical basketball martyrdom.

"#TrustTheProcess" - The rallying cry of the masses.

Sure, they may have taken away Sam, but they'll never take away JoJo's social media platforms. Never!

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

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Associated Press

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

MONTREAL  -- Didier Drogba broke out with a hat trick to lead the Montreal Impact to a 5-1 victory over the Union on Saturday night.

The 38-year-old Ivorian striker hadn't scored since May 28. He returned last week after missing three games with a thigh injury.

Ignacio Piatti returned after sitting out a one-game suspension to score a goal and add two assists. Recent signing Matteo Mancuso, who went in for Drogba in the 79th minute, got his first MLS goal in added time.

Montreal improved to 7-5-8.

Chris Pontius scored for Philadelphia (8-7-6).