Eagles ride Vick, offense to victory

With 50 seconds left in the third quarter and the Eagles down by 4, it looked like the offense would have to carry the Birds if they wanted to avoid a second straight loss.

And that's exactly what happened as they escaped with a 34-24 victory to improve to 8-4 on the season.

Michael Vick led the Eagles on a six-play, 61-yard drive that resulted in a fourth-quarter touchdown, putting the Birds back up, 27-24.

After a stop by the defense, Vick came back on and drove the Eagles 72 yards for another score. The key play on the drive was a 19-yard completion to Brent Celek on 3rd-and-19. The officials first ruled Celek short of the marker, but replays showed he landed on the Texans defender and stretched for the first down.

Two plays later, Vick hit Owen Schmitt for a 5-yard touchdown.

The win puts the Eagles at 8-4 on the season and in first place in the NFC East, a half-game ahead of the Giants, who host the Redskins on Sunday.

Here are other observations from the game:

* On the Eagles' opening drive, they went 88 yards on 11 plays and took 7:04 off the clock. Vick completed 7 of 8 passes for 89 yards, hitting five different receivers.

* Drama with DeSean Jackson made headlines during the week, but Vick connected with him for a 30-yard gain on the game's first play from scrimmage. After one snap, Jackson had more yards receiving than he had all of last week against the Bears. He finished with three catches for 84 yards, including a big 30-yard gain in the second half.

* The Eagles scored on four of five first-half possessions.

* Defensively in the first half, the Birds got a boost from Trevor Laws, who intercepted a Matt Schaub pass with 1:20 left in the second quarter. The Texans' defense had forced an Eagles punt for the first time on the previous possession, and Houston had a chance to tie the game with a touchdown. But Laws picked the pass off and returned it to the Houston 18. The Eagles got a field goal and went into halftime up 20-10.

* By my count, the Eagles have fumbled five times in the last two games and recovered them all.

* The Eagles went 6-for-12 on third down after going 7-for-27 in the previous two games.

* The Birds were 4-for-6 in the red zone. They had been 2-for-10 in the previous two games.

* Vick finished 22 of 33 for 302 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He was also the Eagles' leading rusher with nine attempts for 51 yards.

* LeSean McCoy finished with 44 yards rushing and 86 receiving. He also found the end zone twice.

* Celek finished with a season-high 55 yards on four catches. He dropped a pass in the end zone at the end of the first half. By my count, that's four drops in the end zone in the last three weeks for the Eagles.

Jorrick Calvin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, but Clay Harbor was called for a penalty. The Eagles started at their own 12.

Max Jean-Gilles got the start for Nick Cole at right guard.

* Vick was intercepted in the third quarter on a deep ball to Jeremy Maclin. He had zero turnovers in his first five starts, but now has given it away (2 INTs, 1 fumble) in three straight games.

Mike Patterson had 1.5 sacks all of last season. He now has two sacks in two weeks.

* The Eagles ran only six offensive plays in the third quarter.

* The Texans scored touchdowns on all three trips into the red zone. The Eagles' D was allowing opponents to score on 76.67 percent of their red zone possessions coming in, worst in the league. That percentage will go up.

Winston Justice limped off in the fourth with a left knee injury. King Dunlap replaced him.

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