Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Safety Dance

The Eagles got a strong opening kickoff return from Quintin Demps and drove to the Steelers' 20, but Tony Hunt took a huge hit and fumbled the ball away. Pittsburgh then drove for a field

Safety Dance

   One more time: Brian Dawkins just Wolverined Ben Roethlisberger and saved this game. B-Dawk lept over guard Kendall Simmons and slashed the ball out of Roethlisberger's hands, then Dawkins landed on it at the Steelers' 18. That set up a 31-yard David Akers field goal with 2:26 left and a 15-6 Eagles lead.

    Dawkins did not look too old, and that ought to do it for this one.

    Updating just before that: Ben Roethlisberger just decided the best way to deal with having Trent Cole wrapped around him in his own end zone was to hurl a pass off Juqua Parker. Bad idea: That's a safety on intentional grounding, 12-6 Eagles.

   "We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance
Well they're no friends of mine." 
           Safety dance! Shout-out to Men Without Hats.

      Updating again: McNabb is back. First snap, he dumps to Correll Buckhalter for a first down.

     Good mojo for the Birds right now. If only Brian Westbrook would come trotting out of the tunnel right now, the way McNabb did.

     Drive stalled when McNabb and Jason Avant miscommunicated on a route. Lots of gesturing and nodding as they walked off; McNabb didn't go the Rutgers QB route, though.

     Earlier,  Great first series of the second half by the Eagles' defense, but then, more bad injury news. Donovan McNabb has joined Brian Westbrook in the locker room with a "chest injury."

     We don't know when McNabb was hurt, but he did wince a lot and wiggle his shoulder after that silly flea-flicker play at the end of the first quarter, when he was sacked by Travis Kirschke and Larry Foote.

   This is the earliest Kevin Kolb has ever entered a regular season game.

        Earlier: McNabb overthrew DeSean Jackson while getting hit and was picked off by Bryant McFadden. The Steelers' nice runback was overturned by video review, during which the big scoreboard screens at the Linc helpfully showed Jackson reaching out to touch McFadden's helmet while he was on the ground, before he got up and ran, at the Birds' 49. The Steelers ended up pulling within 10-6 at haltime on a 53-yard Jeff Reed field goal with 13 seconds left.

    Nothing terrible about a 10-6 lead. But when you outgain a team 169-66, and sack the other team's quarterback a half-dozen times, you can hope for better than that.

      Random halftime stats: DeSean Jackson has 4 catches for 34 yards. Pittsburgh's Willie Parker, who entered the day as the league's third-leading rusher, has 11 yards on 5 carries. Juqua Parker has 2.5 sacks.

     By the way, Reggie Brown has been on the field a couple of times, has not been the target of any passes.

      Updating: Brian Westbrook is still in the locker room getting checked out. No further word on what happened to his right ankle. But the Eagles have taken a 10-3 lead after Juqua Parker -- who is playing a huge game -- forced a Ben Roethlisberger fumble, recovered by Brodrick Bunkley. The Birds then drove for a 31-yard David Akers field goal.

      The Eagles, who just got an interception from Asante Samuel, have five sacks in the first half, and Donovan McNabb is 14 for 15 for 145 yards.

      Some earlier observations:

    The Eagles' opening drive seemed headed for points, but Tony Hunt took a concussion-causing hit from James Farrior and fumbled -- he might have been knocked out briefly -- and the Steelers recovered.

   They then drove 61 yards in 12 plays and kicked a 37-yard field goal, taking a 3-0 lead. The drive bogged down when the shotgun snap came too early on third and 5 from the Birds' 19, and Ben Roethlisberger ended up throwing the ball away under pressure.

   The Eagles got the ball back, after taking the inevitable special teams penalty (holding, Jason Avant). As the first quarter became the second, they were driving, but Brian Westbrook limped off after a 2-yard carry to the left side. He has a right ankle injury, and is getting checked out in the locker room. Hunt also is out of the game, with the concussion. So right now we're seeing a lot of Correll Buckhalter, and Lorenzo Booker just made a very special guest appearance.

   Hey, Buck just rambled 20 yards with a pass, hurdling the final tackler and soaring into the end zone for the game's first touchdown -- reminiscent of Buck's memorable Monday Night leap in Miami five years ago. (Well, reminiscent to me and probably to Buck, anyhow).

    Donovan McNabb just became the franchise's all-time TD pass leader, with 176, and has completed his first 13 passes, which is pretty good. But Westbrook is still hurt, which might turn out to be a bigger deal.

   Also, as we're posting, the Birds just took ANOTHER special teams penalty, Chris Clemons offside on the kickoff. Offside on the kickoff? Just wait for the little guy to swing his leg before you charge downfield. Kinda simple.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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