The Philadelphia Eagles had little going right in the preseason before Aug. 21. Some of it had to do with the Eagles' poor defense, with Nick Foles looking less than sharp and with their tough competition. But those factors weren't a problem when the Eagles returned to Philadelphia, as the Pittsburgh Steelers proved less difficult to handle in a 31-21 win.
This was the stage in the preseason where the starters got to play together for a full half. If this is how the starters will play for an extended period of time, then the Eagles will indeed be in good shape. While Foles threw an interception, he still led Philadelphia to 17 first half points, which was much more than what Ben Roethlisberger did for Pittsburgh.
The Eagles lost two shootouts to the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots earlier in the preseason, yet the Steelers are not as loaded as those teams. They may be less loaded when the regular season starts, after running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount were arrested for marijuana possession earlier this week. Pittsburgh still allowed them to play in Philadelphia anyway, although things could be different later on.
Bell, Blount and Roethlisberger couldn't do much when they did play, as the Eagles finally found the defensive strength they were lacking in Chicago and New England. Maybe it was because they were playing a less explosive offense, or maybe it was due to the starters playing for a longer stretch. The Steelers did score 21 points in the second half against the backups, so the latter point might have some merit.
When the regulars were in action, the only things that went wrong for Philadelphia were LeSean McCoy spraining his thumb and Jeremy Maclin briefly going down. Those two incidents far outweigh any success in meaningless games, however. Fortunately, Maclin went back into action a short time later and didn't suffer another serious injury, while McCoy will have over two weeks to heal before the regular season starts.
The Eagles may not have had everything go right, but a lot more did than in the previous two weeks. If they get through their even more meaningless preseason finale against the New York Jets on Aug. 28 with no further scares, then this month will end on a high note after all.