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'The Bus' rolled against the Eagles

Steelers 27, Philadelphia Eagles 3November 7, 2004
Heinz Field

A week after the Steelers ended the New England Patriots 21-game winning streak, the Philadelphia Eagles came to Heinz Field with a 7-0 record and the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL.

In 2004 the Steelers defeated the Eagles in a regular season game 27-3.

For the Steelers, it was no problem. They once again dominated an opponent, beating the Eagles 27-3 and improving their record to 7-1 to tie the Patriots and Eagles for the best record in the NFL.

Running back Duce Staley, who rushed for 125 yards one week earlier, was sidelined with a hamstring injury but it would be Jerome Bettis who would do what he had been doing for a long time, carrying the ground game. Bettis carried the ball 33 times for 149 yards as the offensive line opened up hole after hole.

"It was important to establish the running game," said Bettis. "That has been our identity. It was not about me. It was about this football team. That was our goal, to go out and run the football. That is what we have done all year. Regardless of who the running back has been, we want to go out and run the football and set everything up.

"The offensive line did a great job of establishing that. It is not about me, it is about Pittsburgh Steelers football. I have been a part of it for a long time.  I am just happy that I can come in and do my part. I told coach (Bill Cowher) in pregame that this is the reason that I am still here. I told coach that this is the reason that I am still and this is the reason that you kept me here."

The Steelers were unstoppable early on, scoring on their first three possessions. Hines Ward got the Steelers on the board first when he took the reverse from Ben Roethlisberger for a 16-yard touchdown run and 7-0 lead.

Donovan McNabb didn't stand a chance against the Steelers defense, throwing for just 109 yards, with four sacks and one interception. Larry Foote delivered the first blow when he sacked McNabb on the Eagles first drive to force a punt.

"Donovan is one of those guys coming in that we said we had to pressure him," said Coach Bill Cowher.  "We couldn't let him sit back there and have time. He is just going to pick you apart. We tried to fill up all the lanes by rushing him and blitzing him. We had to be aware where Terrell Owens was. That is a good offense. We were fortunate that we had some pressure that really never allowed them to get into a rhythm."

It was back to work for Roethlisberger and company as the lead was extended to 14-0 on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ward. After the defense held strong again, the offense kept rolling. A healthy dose of Bettis kept the chains moving, and the drive was capped off by a two-yard touchdown pass to Jay Riemersma for the 21-0 lead.

The Eagles only score of the day came late in the first half on a David Akers 33-yard field goal, but that was all they could muster.

The Steelers added two second half field goals to put the Eagles away, 27-3.

"We just want to win football games," said Roethlisberger. "It was important for us to come out here and play our football game. It is a great Eagles' offense and defense. We knew it was going to be a challenge for us, especially finding out right before the game that Duce was not going to play. I give a lot of credit to Jerome (Bettis) and Verron Haynes and Willie (Parker) at the end for stepping up.  The offensive line once again had an outstanding performance."


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