Second preseason loss this year the 13th in last 15 attempts for Pittsburgh Steelers

First offense moves ball but four interceptions cripple Steelers in preseason loss to Eagles

PITTSBURGH -- After a strong finish to training camp, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones was in line for his best preseason game to date.

But it was a disaster for the fourth-year pro.

Jones -- the backup to Ben Roethlisberger -- started last night's game and threw four interceptions in the first half as the Philadelphia Eagles returned one for a touchdown and went on to a 17-0 win at Heinz Field.

"An unpleasant experience," was how Coach Mike Tomlin described it.

Playing without offensive stars Roethlisberger, Antonio BrownLe'Veon BellDeAngelo Williams and Marcus Gilbert, the Steelers were held scoreless in spite of outgaining the Eagles in the first half, 161-122.

The bright spots on offense were Eli Rogers and the starting linemen.

Rogers caught four passes for 39 yards in the half and showed deft moves to break tackles after catches and on a 17-yard punt return.

"I really like Eli a lot, the way he gets vertical up the field and makes great plays," said Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey.

Pouncey played his first two series of the preseason, and he and the linemen opened up holes for both Fitzgerald Toussaint and Daryl Richardson. The pair combined for 41 yards on 15 first-half carries.

"It was nice to get some long drives in there and get that heart going, get you breathing a little bit," said guard David DeCastro.

While Toussaint outgained Richardson, the latter was the flashier runner as the two continue to battle for the No. 3 spot behind Bell and Williams. Richardson also made a fierce tackle on a second-half punt to help his cause.

After a poor first game, Sammie Coates rebounded last night to make a spectacular 24-yard catch. Coates was also the intended receiver for two of Jones' four interceptions. The first resulted in the touchdown.

"Some of it was good plays by them and some of it was negligence by us," said Tomlin. "Whether it was route-running or throwing, I understand that it falls under his stat line. But those are unit plays. The bottom line is that we as a unit or team have got to do a better job of securing the football."

Jones' first pass of the Steelers' second series was intercepted by Nolan Carroll, who stepped in front of Coates and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown.

The Steelers came back with a drive to the Philadelphia 8, but on third-and-3 Jones threw to Cobi Hamilton in the back of the end zone. Hamilton and cornerback Leodis McKelvin fought for the ball and it was batted to Malcolm Jenkins for Jones' second interception.

Jones' third interception was also in the end zone. He overthrew Coates and was intercepted by Aaron Grymes after the Steelers had driven to the Philadelphia 20.

Jones' fourth interception completed his sixth and final series. A pressured pass over the middle was intercepted by Jaylen Watkins to set up a 40-yard field goal and a 10-0 Eagles lead late in the first half.

Jones finished the night with 12 completions in 20 attempts for 111 yards and the four interceptions.

Dustin Vaughan took over the QB duties but couldn't muster much of an attack. He was sacked four times while completing seven of 13 for 67 yards without an interception.

The Eagles added a touchdown, a five-yard run by Kenjon Barner -- on their first drive of the third quarter for the 17-0 final score.

The Steelers' starting defense played well. The unit didn't allow any points and only four first downs before it was replaced by the second unit with 2:21 left in the first half.

Stephon Tuitt made three tackles to lead the unit.

The highlight play was a 12-yard sack of Sam Bradford by Arthur Moats.

"I felt like we had a real good couple of series," said Moats. "I felt like we bounced back from last week where we weren't getting off the field on third downs."

The Eagles were two-of-six on third-down conversion attempts in the first half.

"We got some pressure," said Cameron Heyward. "But there were more opportunities we could've capitalized on. I liked our run defense. Our guys were flying around."

The good news is the Steelers didn't suffer any major injuries. Cody Wallace, according to Tomlin, may have suffered a hyperextended left knee.

The bad news is the loss was the second in the Steelers' two games this preseason, and 13th out of their last 15 preseason games.

The Steelers travel to New Orleans to play the Saints next Friday.


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