Friday, February 12, 2016

Eagles barely survive

Eagles 35, Lions 32

Eagles barely survive

Michael Vick completed 21 of his 34 passes in today´s 35-32 win against the Detroit Lions. ( Ron Cortes / Staff Photograher )
Michael Vick completed 21 of his 34 passes in today's 35-32 win against the Detroit Lions. ( Ron Cortes / Staff Photograher )

DETROIT -- Michael Vick won the Eagles a football game. That simple.

You can spin this any way you want. You can say that it takes 53 players on any given Sunday, and that it takes a village to beat the Detroit Lions, and whatever else you want to say -- including that LeSean McCoy and his three touchdown runs were a significant element in the story.

Vick won the game, though.

Down by 10 points in the second quarter, Vick brought the Eagles back to take a 21-17 halftime lead on the way to a 35-32, barely-hanging-on victory at Ford Field. In the end, the Lions made a furious comeback and even recovered an onsides kick in the final 2 minutes, an onsides kick that Eagles rookie Riley Cooper couldn’t catch.

More coverage
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Birds' Eye View: Vick leads Eagles past Lions
Eagletarian: Domo's Eagles-Lions report card
Box score: Eagles 35, Lions 32
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I believed in him before.

Still, they won -- and it evens their record at 1-1. The other big news of the day is that Kevin Kolb has passed all of his concussion tests, actually participated in the walkthrough on Saturday, and is likely to be back as the Eagles’ starting quarterback next week against Jacksonville. Middle linebacker Stewart Bradley also is likely to be back.

That the pressure just multiplied upon Kolb is as obvious as it is undeniable. Vick was very good against the Lions -- and that’s fully acknowledging that they are, until proven otherwise, still the Lions. Because there now is something else that must be said, and admitted, even if you are a Kolb fan:

That Kolb would have had a hard time winning this one.

The reason is the Eagles’ pass protection -- which is, charitably, disastrous right now. Vick was sacked six times and it could have been a dozen. Time after time, Vick found himself ducking and dodging and having to get out of the way of a launched missile before being able to look downfield for a receiver. There were several big plays in the game that would not have happened had the quarterback not been able to shake off the severe initial pressure. And Kolb isn’t doing that nearly as well as Vick does it.

When Vick did get loose, he was calm and accurate and dynamic. His 53-yard pass to Desean Jackson set up the go-ahead touchdown with 37 seconds left in the second quarter. The best way to describe the throw was...effortless. And there where several others that looked just as silky.

Again, McCoy had an explosive day on the ground. The last time an Eagles player had three rushing touchdowns in a game, the player’s name was Charlie Garner and the year was 1995.

The Eagles’ run defense, which looked awful early, settled in and finished up reasonably, including a fourth-and-1 stop in the fourth quarter and the Eagles leading by 11. (And why the Lions didn’t just kick the field and cut the deficit to eight is beyond me.) Still, the defense gave up two late scores. This isn’t a playoff-caliber defense right now, especially without Bradley in the middle. His return will be less discussed than Kolb’s, but vital nonetheless.

Still, this was Vick’s day. Based on the last 2 weeks, it is understandable why the Eagles kept him around this season after all. It was hard to see what they saw, based upon last season, and you still wonder what might have happened if somebody had knocked them over with an offer.

But Vick is here and Vick is valuable. They were right to keep him.

Next week, with what can officially be classified as being a tough act to follow, we really begin to find out if they were right about the other quarterback.


Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at Reach Rich at

Rich Hofmann Daily News Executive Sports Editor
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