If three’s a crowd, then four is a fire code violation. And well before the game was over, Steelers’ fans were begging to find the exits.
Landry Jones threw four first-half interceptions as the Pittsburgh Steelers fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 17-0 Thursday night at Heinz Field.
The Eagles got ten points off those four turnovers, including starting the scoring with a Nolan Carroll 38 yard pick six off Jones with nine minutes left in the first.
Jones would respond with a lengthy drive down to the Eagles’ eight but a pass intended for Cobi Hamilton was tipped and led to a Leodis McKelvin diving interception in the end zone.
The Steelers put together another drive, working to the Eagles’ 20 when until Jones was intercepted in the end zone by Aaron Grymes, thwarting scoring attempt.
After a Philadelphia punt, a Jesse James whiffed block led to Jones’ fourth interception of the half, picked off by Jaylen Watkins. A six play, 38 yard drive set up a Cody Parkey 40 yard field goal to give the Eagles a 10-0 lead at the half.
“That performance is an opportunity to reiterate what we already know,” Mike Tomlin told reporters after the game. “How important turnover and possession of the ball is…we got a painful illustration of that tonight.”
Jones finished the day 12/20 for 111 yards, no touchdowns and those four interceptions. Dating back to 2001, as far back as NFL.com records go, no Steelers’ quarterback has thrown four interceptions in a preseason game. Only one has thrown three – Landry Jones in 2013.
The Steelers’ offense didn’t fare any better in the second half. Dustin Vaughan led the offense to four straight punts with no drive extending longer than six plays. The final possession ended in a turnover on downs after a Steven Johnson forced fumble late in the fourth quarter.
Though the first team offense moved the ball better than anything viewed last week against the Detroit Lions, as a whole, the numbers didn’t tell a much better story. The two quarterbacks combined for 157 yards passing, the running backs just 41 on the ground. They did go 7/14 on third down, a stark improvement from Week One.
Eli Rogers and Cobi Hamilton were bright spots at receiver. Rogers caught several third down passes to move the sticks while Hamilton made a highlight-worthy 29 yard catch down the left sideline.
Shamarko Thomas led the Steelers defense with five tackles. Arthur Moats rushed in free for the Steelers’ lone sack.
Pittsburgh was shut out in the preseason for the first time since a 10-0 loss against the Carolina Panthers in 2014. They haven’t had a rushing TD in 15 quarters.
For the Eagles, Sam Bradford went 14/19 for 115 yards. The Eagles capped a 15 play drive to begin the second half, ending in a Kenjon Barner five yard run. Barner led all backs with 41 yards rushing.
The Steelers will travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints next Friday at 8 PM.