NFL Preseason Preview - Pittsburgh (1-1) at Philadelphia (0-2)
By John McMullen, NFL Editor
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia Eagles open their home slate of preseason games at the newly-renovated Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday as they welcome Keystone-state rival Pittsburgh to the City of Brotherly Love.
Last week, Philadelphia fell in a shootout to the New England Patriots, 42-35, although quarterback Nick Foles bounced back from a subpar two-interception performance against Chicago by going 8-of-10 for 81 yards and a touchdown.
Foles' backup, Mark Sanchez, was even more efficient, connecting on 11-of-12 attempts for 117 yards with two touchdowns, although his one misfire was an interception for the Eagles, who have dropped two straight in the preseason so far.
Second-round draft choice Jordan Matthews tallied nine receptions for 104 yards and LeSean McCoy carried the ball six times for 19 yards in the defeat. Defensively Cary Williams returned a Tom Brady interception 77 yards for a touchdown.
"There is really a preseason template that we're running on," Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "We're going to run our base defenses. And this is an evaluation phase. Sometimes evaluation looks painful, but sometimes it looks promising."
The Steelers, meanwhile, are coming off their first exhibition win after Shaun Suisham's 20-yard field goal as time expired lifted Pittsburgh over the Buffalo Bills 19-16.
Ben Roethlisberger played the first half for the Steelers, ending up 8-of-11 for 128 yards and tossing first-quarter touchdown strikes to Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton. Brown led all receivers with 93 yards on just a pair of catches.
Linebacker Ryan Shazier, Pittsburgh's first-round pick, made his debut after missing the previous week with a knee bruise and really impressed, tallying 11 solo tackles, a pass defensed and an interception which he returned 27 yards.
"I'm just excited to be back out on the field," Shazier told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Just to be out there and show everyone what I can do. You're always nervous your first game. The NFL was the dream of my life. I finally got the opportunity to do it."
The Steelers will be making their fourth preseason appearance at Lincoln Financial Field since the facility opened in 2003. Pittsburgh has defeated the Eagles in six of the last 10 preseason matchups dating back to 1997.
08/20 10:45:45 ET