Examing the Pass Defense

Taking a look at how the defense handled Jay Cutler, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger this preseason.

Against Jay Cutler, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger, the starting Eagles defense was startlingly more good than bad.

Despite the panic-stricken 'phaithful' declaring that the sky was falling when Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo gutted the defense in freak circumstances, a closer look at the numbers is a little kinder to the defense.

First, let's look at each quarterback individually, based on their performances against the Eagles first-teamers:

Cutler: 9 of 13, 85 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 INT

Brady: 8 of 10, 81 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 INT

Roethlisberger: 8 of 17, 60 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 INT

A couple of caveats here: Garoppolo's statistics are excluded because of circumstances. Following Cary Williams' pick-six, and Ifeanyi Momah's fumble, the Patriots dominated time of possession, and the Eagles put many second-teamers in late in Brady's possession. It's hard to gauge what was truly the 'starting' defense among the fray, so I hedged my bets and included just Brady's numbers from the second game.

Additionally, Roethlisberger's stats don't consider his second-half numbers against the Eagles second-team. That excludes a marvelous drive that ended with a Heath Miller touchdown but, as I said, that was the second team. And even they weren't so easy on Big Ben's squad.

Combing the statistics as they are listed from the three proven quarterbacks, you end up with a line of 25 for 40 (62.5% completions) for 226 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.

The cumulative passer rating: 73.5. Those two interceptions from Williams and Nolan Carroll did their damage, as did allowing less than 10 yards a completion (9.04 to be exact).

Obviously, the way in which the defense man-handled Pittsburgh's passing attack weighs heavily on the average, and preseason is never a perfect barometer. Still, the numbers are mostly encouraging, and one could look at it as the Eagles D has gotten mostly better week to week.

In normal circumstances, the pass D has played just fine. Though if Chad Henne guts the team in Week 1, kindly disregard this column.

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