The inevitable happened to the bend but don’t break defense of the Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) as the Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) offense assaulted the scoreboard with 21 unanswered points in the third quarter and defeated the Black and Gold 34-3.
Coming into the City of Brotherly Love today, Pittsburgh was 19-2 against first-year signal callers over the last 12 seasons. Rising to the challenge Philadelphia rookie quarterback Carson Wentz contributed 301 passing yards, no interceptions, and a pair of touchdowns to the victory.
Wentz brought the Philly faithful out of their seats in the second and third quarters. He hit wide receiver Jordan Matthews with a 12-yard touchdown pass in the second and connected with running back Darren Sproles on a 73-yard scoring strike in the third. The Eagles put the contest out of reach when another pair of running backs, Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner, each galloped into the end zone in the third.
Eagles rookie head coach Doug Pederson told Mark Kaboly of DKPittsburghSports.com (subscription service) about Wentz, “He continues to make plays and continues to protect the football. He protected himself tonight. Everything right now is going in the right direction.”
Pittsburgh has only one sack after the first twelve quarters of the 2016 campaign. Philadelphia was 3 of 5 in red zone efficiency on the afternoon. The 31-point margin of victory is the largest against the Black and Gold during head coach Mike Tomlin‘s time on the sideline.
Chris Boswell got the Steelers to within seven of the Eagles with his 40-yard field goal after an eight play, 61-yard drive in the second quarter. Ben Roethlisberger’s 41-yard pass completion to Sammie Coates was one of the vital components during the drive. The 6-foot-1, 212-pound wide receiver has hauled in at least one pass for 40 yards or more in each of Pittsburgh’s contests so far this season. Boswell went 1-for-2 as he did have a 36-yard field goal attempt blocked in the first quarter.
Over the course of the matchup, Antonio Brown was targeted 18 times by Roethlisberger and recorded 140 receiving yards on 12 receptions. The 5-foot-10, 181-pound wide receiver averaged 11.7 yards-per-catch and earned the Steelers Digest Player of the Week award.
Special teams did get a boost from Jordan Berry who punted a total of three times for 165-yards, averaging 49.7 yards-per-punt. His longest was a 63-yard kick inside the two-minute warning of the first half that saw Philly begin their next drive from their 20-yard line.
The battle of attrition pushed the Steelers’ Next Man Up process to its limits. Inside linebacker, Lawrence Timmons left the contest and visited the hospital with a shin injury. He did return to the stadium. Fellow inside linebacker Ryan Shazier missed time because he “aggravated his MCL” in his knee according to Tomlin. Safety Robert Golden missed the second half due to a hamstring injury. Left guard Ramon Foster came out of the matchup with injuries to his chest and elbow. Wide receiver Eli Rogers had a problem with his foot and safety Mike Mitchell with his knee.
Around The Division: Baltimore (3-0) is alone at the top of the AFC North as the Ravens edged the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) 19-17 at EverBank Field in Florida. The Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) lost 29-17 at home to the Denver Broncos (3-0) while the Miami Dolphins (1-2) outlasted the Cleveland Browns (0-3) 30-24 in overtime in the Sunshine State.
Next Up: Pittsburgh is back at Heinz Field Sunday, Oct. 2 for an 8:30 p.m. matchup with Kansas City (2-1). The Chiefs defense intercepted New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a total of six times in their 24-3 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.