ABOVE PHOTO: Eagles guard Danny Watkins (63) gives quarterback Michael Vick a huge lift after his one-yard run put the Eagles on top for good in the win over the Ravens.
(Photo by Webster Riddick)
By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report
When a team commits nine turnovers in two games in the National Football League, that team is usually staring at a 0-2 record and praying that they don’t fall to 0-3 the next week.
But the Eagles are 2-0 in spite of their on-going penchant for shooting themselves in the foot. The Birds needed another fourth-quarter comeback by the offense to tough out a 24-23 victory over a physical Baltimore Ravens squad Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Despite committing four turnovers, Michael Vick and the offense saved the day for the second straight week with another fourth quarter comeback. With the Eagles trailing 23-17 with 4:43 left in the game, Vick put the team on his back and led them on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that was culminated with his one-yard plunge for the game-winning touchdown.
“Even though we’ve been down, even though we haven’t played our best, we’ve turned the ball over, we’ve fumbled, we found a way to win the game,” said center Jason Kelce, who left the game with a sprained knee and is now out for the season with a torn ACL. “I think that’s huge. Fighting through adversity is something that all championship teams have to do. The fact that we’ve won these first two games by one point shows that we’ve been fighting through adversity.”
For the game, Vick completed 23-of-32 passes for 371 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. On the Eagles first drive of the game, Vick threw an interception in the end zone after completing his first five passes and driving the Eagles to the Baltimore 12. Head coach Andy Reid said he told Vick not to get down on himself.
“I told him to just keep playing, you just keep playing,” Reid said. “He’ll work through this. He has enough history to know what a great player he is and that part hasn’t changed.
“I thought he saw things and he made some great decisions and some huge throws. He’s still firing and there’s no hesitation. That’s important. There’s a confidence he has.”
Vick said the thing he has to work on understanding that he can’t always make the really big play and not try to force things when it’s not there, especially on his first interception.
“To come out and get off to such a great start and to have it all negated by a turnover when you know there’s better decisions that could have been made,” Vick said. “You can’t always hit a homerun, sometimes you gotta get singles and doubles. That’s what I have to understand. I force too many balls sometimes.”
What also helped the Eagles against the Ravens is that they showed some balance on offense. After throwing the ball 56 times last week against the Cleveland Browns, the Eagles passed the ball 32 times and ran on 41 snaps from center.
“It kind of kept them off-balanced a little bit,” said Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who gained 81 yards on 25 carries with one touchdown and one fumble. “I think in the second half they kind of focused a little bit on the run because you could tell some lanes weren’t as big and a lot of their guys were in the box. I think it was the call of just switching it up and not being so predictable.”
The Eagles offense managed to move the football on the game-winning drive despite losing Kelce, Jeremy Maclin (hip-pointer) and left tackle King Dunlap (hamstring). Reid said he considered using some members of the Eagles defensive line, Cullen Jenkins in particular.
“(Reid) came and talked to me and it was definitely on my mind for the rest of the game,” Jenkins said with laughter. “When he came and told me, I didn’t know if he was joking or not. The more I looked at him, I’m like he’s serious here.”
The Eagles defense gave up some big plays, but when the game was on the line, they kept Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense from scoring on the final drive of the game.
After gashing the Eagles defense for some big runs in the first half, Ravens running back Ray Rice, who gained 99 yards on 16 carries, was held to just 21 yards rushing in the second half.
“The defense, we let some things get out on us, some mistakes,” said middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans. “But I’m proud of the way we continue to fight back and close the game out and had to play four quarters. That’s a mindset that we had to get.”