- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2008

PHILADELPHIA | Ben Roethlisberger had a bandage on his throwing hand and winced while dressing. Considering he was persistently chased, battered and stomped by the Philadelphia Eagles, the damage could have been worse.

With Brian Westbrook sidelined and Donovan McNabb hurting, the Eagles did it with defense.

The Eagles had nine sacks, forced a safety and got three turnovers, and Philadelphia beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 15-6 on Sunday.

“We can’t thank them enough for how they played,” running back Correll Buckhalter said. “They bailed us out.”

Just six days earlier, Philadelphia’s defense couldn’t stop anybody. The Dallas Cowboys moved the ball at will in a 41-37 victory last Monday.

But this unit was rejuvenated against the Steelers (2-1). Roethlisberger had no time to throw, and Willie Parker couldn’t find any room to run. Juqua Parker had 2 1/2 sacks as the Eagles kept blitzing Roethlisberger, banged him around and eventually knocked him out of the game.

“Defensively, it was a phenomenal job,” coach Andy Reid said. “They were coming off a game they were disappointed in their performance. To rebound like that, I’m proud of them.”

Clinging to a 10-6 lead, the Eagles pinned Pittsburgh at the 6 following a 54-yard punt by Sav Rocca. Three plays later, Roethlisberger was under heavy pressure when he threw the ball away in the end zone for a safety.

On Pittsburgh’s next possession, Brian Dawkins made a flying sack, swatting the ball out of Roethlisberger’s hand and recovering at the Pittsburgh 18. David Akers kicked a 31-yard field goal to ice it.

Roethlisberger hurt his throwing hand on the last sack and was replaced by Byron Leftwich when the Steelers got the ball with a little more than two minutes left. Coach Mike Tomlin said X-rays on Roethlisberger’s hand were negative, and he’s expected to play next week.

“You’ve got to give it to them,” Roethlisberger said. “They are a very good team. They got after us.”

Westbrook injured his right ankle on the first play of the second quarter. The All-Pro running back appeared to get hurt while hurdling a teammate on a 2-yard run. He walked to the locker room without help but didn’t return.

Reid said X-rays showed the ankle wasn’t broken, but Westbrook will have an MRI on Monday. The Eagles (2-1) can’t afford to be without Westbrook for an extended period.

One play before Westbrook left, McNabb was visibly shaken up after getting sacked. He played the rest of the half and took a hard hit to the chest late in the second quarter. McNabb stayed in the locker room after the half but returned during Philadelphia’s second series in the third quarter.

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