Crunch Time is a compilation and hits and misses from the Eagles' preseason game last night against Jacksonville:
* In his fourth play of the game, Michael Vick, in at quarterback for Donovan McNabb, stayed in the pocket and completed a 13-yard pass to Hank Baskett that brought the ball to the Jags 13. McNabb returned and the team gained 1 yard in the next three plays. The first time Vick tried to replace McNabb, the play call was botched (surprise!), and the team had to burn a timeout, since the substitution didn't complete until 10 seconds remained on the play clock.
* Vick returned on the next drive, second-and-10 from the Eagles' 28, replaced McNabb and flipped a pass to DeSean Jackson in the flat. Jackson was promptly brought down for no gain when Kevin Curtis missed a block.
* The Jags, pressured mercilessly in the backfield through the first quarter (QB David Garrard was briefly knocked from the game), burned the blitzing Birds on third-and-9 from their 34 with a screen pass to Maurice Jones-Drew, who broke it for 45 yards and set up go-ahead TD. Asante Samuel, part of the last line of defense, left the game after the play with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
* Samuel returned in time to be part of the game's signature play. On third-and-goal from the 4, Nate Hughes caught a pass in the flat. Samuel came off his man and met Hughes at the goal line, where the players' helmets collided; it looked as if Hughes initiated the headshots. Samuel ran past, but Hughes was knocked out and fumbled inches shy of the goal line. With Hughes lying on the ground, teammate Torry Holt alertly reached over his body, picked up the ball, pulled it into the end zone and scored the TD less than 4 minutes into the second quarter. Hughes left the game with a concussion and did not return.
* Samuel intercepted Garrard midway through the second quarter to squelch a promising Jags drive.
* The Eagles managed to waste that, not to mention three sweet completions to wideouts that brought them to the Jags' 1-yard line, first-and-goal. The Eagles called a pass in the flat to rookie running back LeSean McCoy, who looked for defenders and took his eye off the ball, which deflected off his helmet. Since he was behind McNabb at the time, the play was a fumble. The Eagles stood and watched as linebacker Brian Iwuh recovered it and ran 92 yards for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead.
* Reserve fullback Kyle Eckel fumbled away the Eagles' next possession, giving the Jags the ball at the Eagles' 34, and the Jags extended their lead to 17-3.
* The Eagles came right back with a 77-yard drive, highlighted by McNabb's 25-yard needle-threader to Avant, in double coverage, at the 3, the Eagles' best offensive play of the game. Three incompletions later, another field goal with 23 seconds to play in the half, making it 17-6.
* With prudent use of the replay rule, the Eagles, who scored a quick TD in the third against the Jags' second unit, saved themselves from giving up a touchdown in the third quarter after a 61-yard kickoff return by Brian Witherspoon and a 28-yard completion gave the Jags the ball at the Birds' 5. A catch-and-run-and-fumble was recovered in the end zone by the Jags, but the Birds challenged that Chauncey Washington never caught the ball before the fumble. They won the challenge, which set up fourth-and-goal from the 3 and forced a field goal instead of the TD; Jaguars led, 20-13.
* McNabb spoiled the next drive when Gerald Alexander intercepted his deep pass to Jackson (McNabb was well-protected, for once) along the left sideline and returned it 40 yards to set up the Jags' third TD for a 27-13 lead.
* When the Eagles got the ball back midway through the third quarter, the first "We Want Vick" chants were heard. McNabb then drove the team 60 yards in 10 plays for a TD to cut the deficit to 27-20.
* Kevin Kolb and the second team replaced McNabb and the firsts on the Eagles' next drive. Kolb continued the Eagles' error-riddled performance as he immediately was flagged for intentional grounding while in the end zone as he backpedaled away from pressure, a safety that made it 29-20 and returned the ball to the Jags, who got a 49-yarder from Josh Scobee for a 32-20 lead.
* The Birds cut it to 32-27 when Kolb hit Reggie Brown for a 9-yard score with 7:01 to play – a score set up by Danny Amendola's 40-yard punt return.
* Almost immediately, Brian Smith's interception of Paul Smith's pass at the Jags' 14 gave the Eagles a chance to regain the lead. They managed just a field goal to make it 32-30.
* With time running out and with no timeouts Kolb coolly moved the team to the Jags' 17 and set up David Akers' 34-yard field goal try - after Jags coach Jack Del Rio called his final timeout just before the kick, trying to ice the kicker in a preseason game. It didn't work. Akers hammered it through for the 33-32 win.
- Marcus Hayes