Michael Vick was frustrated when he sat at the podium Sunday afternoon, following the Eagles' 29-16 loss to the Giants.
He had been knocked out of the game for the second straight week. A season that began with such high expectations had morphed into a 1-2 start.
And so Vick took his frustrations out on the refs. He said he doesn't get the same calls other quarterbacks get.
So, the question being kicked around both locally and nationally today is: Does he have a point?
I went back, looked at every snap Vick played Sunday and counted 13 hits. That's 13 times when a Giants defender put Vick on the ground at Lincoln Financial Field.
Three of those plays were QB sneaks. And two were fumbled snaps that resulted in Vick runs after he recovered.
Here's what I saw on the remaining eight:
Play 1: The Giants only rushed four. Vick had plenty of time in the pocket, couldn’t find a receiver, took off and was tripped up after a gain of 10. He didn't really take a big hit, but fell to the ground.
Play 2: Vick’s pass bounced off of Steve Smith’s hands and was intercepted by Aaron Ross. Once the Giants had possession, Vick became a defensive player, and Giants defensive lineman Dave Tollefson didn’t miss a chance to shove Vick to the ground. Vick was pressured initially on the play. The Eagles had an empty backfield, sending Brent Celek and four wide receivers into their pass routes. The Giants blitzed six. There was no breakdown with the offensive line. They just didn’t have enough guys to block the defenders. You can either blame the design of the play for the pressure, or Vick for not getting rid of the ball quickly enough.
Play 3: The offensive line takes some blame on this one. The Giants only rushed three, but Jason Peters got beat by Jason Pierre-Paul, and LeSean McCoy did a poor job attempting to help him. Vick escaped the pocket and had time to either throw the ball away or take off and run, but he tried to buy time and eventually took a huge hit to the head from Pierre-Paul. There was no penalty for a blow to the head because Vick actually ducked low on the play.
Play 4: The Giants only rushed four, and the Eagles had a breakdown in the interior of their line. Vick had time initially before finding Jason Avant for 8 yards. Rocky Bernard was already taking Vick down as he released the ball. He crushed him, but it was a clean hit.
Play 5: In the red zone, the Giants sent six, and the Eagles had only five men to block them. Vick was looking for Smith, but Pierre-Paul deflected the ball and ran into him. Vick fell to the ground, but it wasn’t much of a hit. Not a crushing blow like many of the others on this list.
Play 6: I can’t tell you what happened here. The Giants sent a four-man rush, and the Eagles had six guys in to block, including Brent Celek. But somehow, Celek got matched up one-on-one with Pierre-Paul, probably New York’s most dangerous pass-rusher. Vick had time, got rid of the ball (incomplete to DeSean Jackson), but took a hit from Pierre-Paul. This one was questionable and could have warranted a flag, but it wasn’t a blatantly late hit. Vick might have felt otherwise though, as cameras caught him talking to one official after he got up.
Play 7: This looked like a designed run. Vick picked up the first down, but then was hit and fumbled. Peters recovered in what ended up being a 21-yard gain. Obviously, with Vick being a runner here, he's not going to get a flag unless the defense grabs his face-mask or hits him late.
Play 8: This is the play where Vick got injured. The Eagles ran play-action and Vick rolled to his right. Celek was originally lined up against Chris Canty, but then released into his pass route. Vick delivered a throw on the money to Jeremy Maclin, but paid for it, taking a big hit from Canty. This one definitely could have been a flag. Vick had released the ball when Canty hit him. It wasn’t blatant helmet-to-helmet though. Slowing it down on replay, it looked like Canty’s helmet hit Vick in the chest, right below the chin. Again, a flag could have been thrown, but it was far from a slam dunk.
What's the point here? Vick was hit 13 times on Sunday, and there were two questionable no-calls. So does he have a case?
Not really. Refs miss calls all the time. In Week 2, Jason Babin had a pretty blatant late hit on Matt Ryan, but there was no flag. Just yesterday, Babin grabbed Manning's facemask as he sacked him, but there was no penalty.
I don't think refs are targeting Vick. The truth is, he's probably just a difficult player to officiate, just like he's a difficult player to block for and a difficult player to defend. Vick does things no other player in the league is capable of, which might be part of the reason he thinks he's being targeted.
ESPN's NFL Live looked it up, and only six teams in the NFL have benefited from more roughing the passer penalties than the Eagles since the start of the 2010 season. The Eagles have had more of those calls (5) than any other team in the NFC East.
Vick was frustrated Sunday, and understandably so. But the proof from the game shows he was probably off-base in thinking the refs purposely treat him differently.
In case you missed it, I posted Man Up on the defense earlier today.
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