Ah, football. It is back, and the future is bright for the Eagles. However, Philadelphia could not even get through warmups without an injury. Jeremy Maclin reportedly tweaked his right hamstring, and Jason Avant started in his place.
The Defense made its presence felt early. Rookie LB Mychal Kendricks showed some pretty explosive speed, and Philip Hunt and Brandon Graham found their way into the backfield multiple times.
After being stood up at the first down marker by Joselio Hanson, the Steelers went for it on 4th and 1, and Isaac Redman was able to convert. Philadelphia was finally able to slow Big Ben Rothelisberger and the Steelers offense.
After a Sean Suisham 46 yard field goal, the Steelers went up 3-0. That would be all for Roethlisberger, going 7/8 for 48 yards.
Rookie Brandon Boykin was in the endzone to return the first Kickoff, and showed some serious moves, juking and cutting his way out to the 36. However, the Eagles would go 3 and out on their first possession.
Philip Hunt continued his strong play into the Steelers second series, blowing past Tackle Mike Adams and forcing Ben Roethlisberger to fumble. But just as it was a problem last year, the Eagles ability to stop the run game continued. Jonathan Dwyer was able to convert a long third down, before breaking open a 33 yard run when Jaiquawn Jarrett ran into his own teammate.
Jarrett's horrific night continued, as he and Nnamdi Asomugha were not able to communicate on pass coverage, and Byron Leftwich was able to connect with Emmanuel Sanders on a two yard Touchdown pass, making it 10-0 Steelers.
And if the night was already heading down a bad path, it got a whole lot worse. Cullen Jenkins left the game with a right hamstring injury, an issue he had suffered in camp.
But things got much worse.
On a 3rd down play, Michael Vick went to step up in the pocket, and smacked his throwing hand against Jason Kelce's helmet, a move that was very similar to the injury he suffered against Atlanta last year when he connected with Todd Herremans helmet. Vick was wincing and in some serious pain, and went in for X-rays on his left thumb. The results came back negative, and the city Philadelphia left out a collective sigh of relief. His final stats for the night were 3/4 for 6 yards.
After the Steelers were forced to punt, Mike Kafka took the reigns at Quarterback. But he could not sustain any offense, and ended up putting the ball in Steelers DT Al Woods bread basket, and he returned the interception all the way down to the Eagles 4 yard line. Kafka would not come out after halftime, and his stats for the night were 5/9 for 31 yards.
Suisham sent home a 31 yard field goal, and the Eagles found themselves down 13-0 at halftime. Pittsburgh really controlled the first half, holding on to the ball for 19:53 , to the Eagles 10:07.
The Eagles came out looking like a whole different football team in the second half.
Rookie Defensive End Vinny Curry made his presence felt on the first Defensive series of the second half, breaking through the line of scrimmage and recording his first tackle for a loss in an Eagles uniform.
But the Nick Foles show was the true story of the second half. After going three and out on in his first series, the rookie rolled out of the pocket and threw a deep bomb to a wide open Damaris Johnson for a seventy yard Touchdown. He then came back on the next possession and threw a beautiful back shoulder fade to Mardy Gilyard, who tripped his way into the endzone for a Touchdown, and the Eagles found themselves up 14-13.
Foles would be done for the night, but did plenty to impress. He was the first rookie QB in Eagles history to throw for two touchdowns in his preseason debut. His final stats were 6/10 for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
Pittsburgh wouldn't let the lead go for long, as Chris Rainey took a dump pass from Jerrod Johnson to the house, putting the Steelers back up by seven.
But as everyone turned away from from the TV, Trent Edwards was dominating the Steelers defense. He was able to work the Eagles down the field in just 3:40, and connect with Jamel Hamler who made a few moves to sneak into the endzone, to put the Eagles back up 21-20.
The Steelers had an answer for every Eagles move, as Running Back Baron Batch led Pittsburgh down the field and put them in field goal range. Danny Hrampman downed a 43 yarder, and the Steelers seemed poised to go home with a 23-21 win.
But if the game (and a spot on the Eagles roster) were written off for Trent Edwards, nobody told him. He seemed incredibly poised, working the ball around to his to Tiger Jones and McKay Jacobson down the field. However, the drive stalled, and the Eagles were forced to call on Alex Henery to win the game.
And with 10 seconds left in the game, Henery got all of the 51 yard field goal, and then some. After a miserable first half, the Eagles came away winners by a scoree of 24-23.
By the end of the night, Pittsburgh ended with just 99 passing yards. The Eagles defensive line really provided heavy pressure, and when healthy, they will cause some serious trouble.
And after just one performance, Nick Foles could have leaped Kafka on the depth chart. He showed the poise and comfortability that one would expect out of a veteran.
Damaris Johnson was also impressive. He had 4 receptions for 85 yards, and one touchdown. He seems like an early lock to make the roster
Jake Pavorsky is a contributor for Eagledelphia. You can follow him on Twitter @JakePavorsky