PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 18: Antonio Brown #84 and Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrate after Brown's touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the preseason game on August 18, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Eagles Vs. Steelers Score: Steelers' First-Teamers Lead Way To 24-14 Win

The Steelers play their second preseason game Thursday night.

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So Much For Fan Backlash, Steelers-Eagles Telecast Propels FOX To Thursday Night Win

The NFL preseason can be painful to watch at times, and there are undoubtedly pockets of fans across the country that were turned off by the three-plus month lockout, but all signs point towards the NFL having a monster year with television ratings. FOX’s telecast of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles’ second preseason game propeled the network to the win Thursday night.

Fox scored a touchdown with preseason NFL coverage last night.

The network easily won the night with a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating and 10 share from 8 to 11 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, 50 percent ahead of the night’s No. 2 finisher, CBS, with a 2.0/6.

The game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, won 24-14 by the Steelers, peaked with a 3.5 rating between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Unsurprisingly, the network’s share was highest for the 8-9 pm hour when the game was getting underway and fans knew they’d have the opportunity to watch starters like Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick play before being shut down for the night. Remarkably though, FOX won every hour between 8 and 11.

Ahh, to be king.

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Steelers Vs. Eagles: James Harrison, Troy Polamalu Comment On Michael Vick Interception Play

Steelers linebacker James Harrison has made a name for himself by unapologetically delivering some of the most vicious, and often controversial, hits in the NFL. He once told reporters he seeks to hurt offensive players when he tackles them. Thursday night, however, when his defensive teammate Troy Polamalu was on the other side of a potentially dangerous hit by Eagles quarterback Micheal Vick while returning an interception, Harrison was crying foul (Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports).

You should have heard the gasp when Polamalu went down.

He was fine, of course,  but some in the Steelers’ locker room fumed about Vick going low like that, especially in a preseason game. As Harrison told me, "You wouldn’t think he’d hit Troy like that if he was just trying to tackle him."

Was Vick's hit low, and possibly a little dirty? Sure. But for Harrison, a man who has railed against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's crackdown on illegal and dirty hits to the point of floating conspiracy theories, to even think about opening his mouth critically in this situation is the height of hypocrisy.

What's worse is Polamalu had absolutely no reason to expose himself to such a hit. It is preseason after all. No one would have faulted Polamalu for sliding to the turf and avoiding injury. Instead, Polamalu decided on the reckless route, opening himself up to a hit by not only running the interception back, but taking his eyes off a closing Vick. He almost looked like he was trying to find someone to lateral the ball to as he took the hit from Vick.

Here's video of the play.


Afterward, Polamalu tried to excuse his actions (Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports)

When you're taking it back, in the middle of the game, you don't know if you're in the postseason or the preseason," Polamalu said.

That's just dumb. Polamalu, if he's going to even make it to the regular season without getting injured this year, needs to tone down the bravado and think for a second before going on adventures like the one he did tonight. At the end of the day, Thursday night's game was almost meaningless and the interception return was completely meaningless. The Steelers' defense needs him to contend, and taking unnecessary risks like this is going to come back to bite him and his team if he keeps it up.

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Eagles Vs. Steelers Result: Steelers' First-Half Charge Leads To 24-14 Win

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Kafka managed to hit Gerald Jones for two meaningless touchdowns late in the fourth quarter, but the Steelers’ second preseason game was still a rousing success, as Pittsburgh won 24-14.

The Steelers dominated the first half, as the defense pulled off three interceptions and Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich combined for three touchdown passes. The Steelers led 21-0 after the first half, which mostly featured both teams’ starters.

In the second half, Kafka cut up the Steelers’ defense a bit, throwing for 160 yards, but it didn’t matter. The starters were long gone. Dennis Dixon went a meaningless 8-for-11 for 90 yards in the second half for the Steelers, who also used the second half to get a closer look at 2010 draft pick Jonathan Dwyer, who rushed for 44 yards on 13 carries (while looking visibly skinnier than last week – he’s been dropping some weight).

All in all, it was a far better effort for the Steelers than last week’s drubbing at the hands of the Washington Redskins.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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Eagles Vs. Steelers Score: Pittsburgh Dominates First Half, Leads 21-0

The first half of the Steelers’ second preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles has been as great as their first preseason game against the Washington Redskins was bad. The Steelers have played very well almost across the board, producing offensively and sacking Michael Vick three times, en route to a score of 21-0 at halftime.

Both Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich have been effective in leading the Pittsburgh offense. Roethlisberger passed to Antonio Brown for a 29-yard score in the first quarter, then to Hines Ward for a 20-yard score in the second. Leftwich entered the game with about nine minutes left in the second half and ended up with a 20-yard touchdown pass to newcomer Jerricho Cotchery.

Meanwhile, Vick did not look sharp, and Ryan Clark, Keenan Lewis (having a much-needed good game) and Troy Polamalu all intercepted him. The Eagles’ offense hardly ever seemed to be on the field at all, in fact.

The Steelers’ running game, led by Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, was also effective in the first half, as the Steelers picked up 93 yards on the ground.

Cotchery, making his Steelers debut, had two receptions for 49 yards, along with the score, in the first half.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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Eagles Vs. Steelers: Time, TV Info, And What To Watch For

The Steelers play their second preseason game Thursday night.

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