It was a mixed bag for the Pittsburgh defense in their 16-14 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.
On one hand, they held the Eagles to 14-points and held running back LeSean McCoy to 53-yards on 16 carries, a 3.3 per carry average. They also sacked Michael Vick three times, hit him a total of eight times, and forced four fumbles of which they recovered two.
On the other hand, Philadelphia drove 79-yards in 17-plays over 8:18 to take a 14-13 with 6:33 remaining in the game, converting two 4th-and-1s and a 3rd-and-10 along the way. Vick finished with a passer rating of 104.2.
Linebacker Larry Foote had 8 tackles in the game, but admitted his unit wasn't feeling great afterward saying, "Our mood is down a little bit, especially that last drive defensively. Thank God our offense responded in the way they should have today. But we've got to get it corrected. 2-2 just 4 games in, we've got to get this thing rolling. Just execution, we didn't make the plays. A couple times when they ran it a couple guys got to make the play. When they go for it on 4th-and-inches you've got to beat the guy in front of you, do something to get off the field."
Defensive end Brett Keisel emphasized the positive, saying "We still feel like we can play, we still feel like we can play with anybody. For the most part we did pretty good today. We need to force teams to three points when they get to red-zone but 14-points is good enough usually in the NFL to get you a win. That turnover down there [in the first quarter] in the red-zone that was big. Big turning point in the game, if they get even three points there we lose this game. That's a great team. They're beat some good teams already this year. We're even keel now, .500. We've got to work on going to a place on the road and getting a win, we haven't done that yet this year. So that's our focus."
Foote admitted that sending pressure after Vick was a big part of the game plan. "Yeah, we blitzed a lot. They've got weapons and you don't want them guys back there all day long and looking at all those speedy receivers so we put some pressure on them today. We always blitz, and some of the big shots [team's have taken] they max protect so when teams start doing that it's a chess game between Dick Lebeau and whatever coordinator it is."
In particular, Foote said, fellow inside backer Lawrence Timmons was sent forward quite a bit "He played great, we blitzed him a lot. That's probably going to be his role the next couple weeks, I'm going to be in coverage and he's going to be getting all the blitzes. But, he did a great job putting pressure on them. I know a lot of people put a lot of heat on him for not making splash plays but if you come in there and watch film, he's one of the best players on our defense the little things he does. Helps us out tremendously."
And of course, the return of outside linebacker James Harrison didn't hurt, especially with LaMarr Woodley leaving the game early due to a hamstring injury. Keisel said that Harrison is a "great player, we expect him to be a force for us out there. It was good to get his first game back and to get a win. We're all excited about that and excited that for the most part he made it out of the game healthy. He's done a great job of staying in shape, he's a work-a-holic. That's why he's in such great shape and able to play the full game today, and he's a difference maker."
Foote is a self-described confident guy, but that when Harrison returns "it goes up another notch. That's why we paid him the big bucks, and I didn't see him get any sacks but I saw him helping up [Michael] Vick an awful lot today so he did a good job. All week, Coach [Lebeau] had a great game-plan, what we saw today we worked on all week. It's just up to us to stop them. The same way they tried to attack Arizona they tried to attack us. Their coach has been around there for a long time, the same stuff they were doing in '08 the last time we played them. So it's just a matchup game."