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Steelers fall to Eagles, 35-13

PHILADELPHIA -- The Steelers' woes in Philadelphia have now reached into a new decade.

Having not won in Philadelphia against their cross-state rivals since 1965, the Steelers faced a daunting task coming here Sunday against the NFL's last unbeaten team.

And the Eagles showed why they're the lone remaining unbeaten team, as A.J. Brown caught three long touchdown passes in the first half alone as Philadelphia defeated the Steelers, 35-13, here at Lincoln Financial Field.

"We've got to keep a lid on it. If you don't keep a lid on it in the NFL, you don't give yourself a chance to play," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said. "We didn't do that, and I thought it was a domino effect from there on."

Brown, acquired by the Eagles (7-0) in the offseason via a trade with the Titans, proved he was worth the first- and third-round draft picks Philadelphia sent to Tennessee to acquire him, catching six passes for 156 yards and the three scores in the game.

And when Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts wasn't throwing the ball to Brown, he was targeting tight end Dallas Goedert, who finished with six catches for 66 yards as Hurts threw for 285 yards and four scores before being replaced by backup Gardner Minshew in the fourth quarter.

That proved to be too much to overcome for a Steelers offense that was busy shooting itself in the foot with penalties.

The Steelers, who head into their bye week at 2-6, had nine penalties in the game, including six on offense.

"We've got to stop beating ourselves before we do anything," said running back Najee Harris. "We beat ourselves up. We helped the other team by doing the stuff that we do. We have pre-snap penalties. I don't know if we lead the league in pre-snap penalties, but I think we do."

Compounding issues with the penalties was rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett getting sacked six times and losing a fumble while also being intercepted once as Pittsburgh lost the turnover battle, 2-0. Philadelphia entered the game plus-12 in turnover ratio, the best in the NFL.

Philadelphia scored on its first two possessions, getting a 39-yard touchdown catch by Brown to the deep middle of the field on a pass that safety Minkah Fitzpatrick had lined up for a potential interception only to have Brown leap in front of him and make the catch.

The Steelers answered with a touchdown drive of their own, overcoming three penalties. The Eagles helped the drive with a pair of penalties of their own, the second of which came after Tomlin had sent his field goal team onto the field on fourth-and-goal from the 2. Philadelphia's Brandon Graham was called for delay of game for simulating a snap call, moving the ball to the 1.

Tomlin sent his offense back onto the field and Chase Claypool took a jet sweep handoff from Pickett and tossed a 1-yard pass to fullback Derek Watt to tie the game at 7-7.

The Eagles quickly marched downfield on their next possession, scoring on a 27-yard pass from Hurts to Brown, who was working against cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, for a 14-7 lead.

The two teams traded punts before Hurts and Brown struck again midway through the second quarter with a 29-yard touchdown pass that was nearly identical to his previous throw. Brown ran down the sideline with Witherspoon on his inside hip and Hurts dropped the ball in on his outside shoulder for a 21-7 Philadelphia lead.

Witherspoon, who was coming back from missing the past four games with a hamstring injury, was pulled at halftime, replaced by James Pierre. Pierre later left with a foot injury.

"That's on me to make the plays when I'm in that position. Coaches trust me to do my job and I didn't do that," Witherspoon said. "You've just got to try to make the play. I don't think I did a good enough job to try to make the play. It's as simple as that."

The Steelers answered with a scoring drive of their own, going 45 yards on 12 plays for a 38-yard field goal from Nick Sciba, who was subbing for injured Chris Boswell, that made it 21-10 at the half.

But the Eagles quickly extended that lead to 28-10 on the opening possession of the second half with Hurts throwing a 34-yard touchdown to Zach Pascal on a blown coverage that made it 28-10.

The Steelers again answered, but with another field goal drive after stalling in the red zone. Sciba kicked a 29-yard field goal to finish off a 15-play, 64-yard drive that pulled the Steelers back within two scores at 28-13 with 5:55 remaining in the third quarter.

Marcus Allen converted a fourth-and-2 taking a direct snap in punt formation, while Chase Claypool also had a nice catch and run of 25 yards during the drive.

Sciba, however, kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, giving the Eagles the ball at their own 40. But the defense held and forced a punt that was downed at the Philadelphia 1.

The Steelers moved the ball all the way to the Philadelphia 36, but Pickett was sacked by former Pittsburgh defensive tackle Javon Hargrave and fumbled. The loose ball was picked up by former Pitt cornerback Avonte Maddox and returned to the Philadelphia 46 with 13:30 remaining in the game. Hargrave had two sacks against his former team.

On the first play coming out of the stoppage following the turnover, Hurts connected with Brown over the middle on a catch-and-run to the Pittsburgh 11, and one play later, Miles Sanders scored on an 11-yard run to put the game away.

"It sucks because we know what type of talent we have as a team," said outside linebacker Alex Highsmith. "But we're not producing right now. We've really got to reassess ourselves during the bye week. The character of our team is really going to be tested. Are we going to fold or are we going to take the next nine games and take advantage and bring our season alive? We've just really got to reassess ourselves during the bye week and get better."