Packers bruise Eagles, hold off Vick-led rally
Monday, September 13, 2010
PHILADELPHIA - Things did not exactly go smoothly for the Philadelphia Eagles in their first game since parting with Donovan McNabb. Their new starting quarterback, Kevin Kolb, was knocked from the game with a concussion and Michael Vick couldn't quite complete a second-half comeback as Eagles lost to the Green Bay Packers, 27-20, Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles wore throwback uniforms to honor their 1960 NFL championship team, but didn't resemble championship material. Kolb completed 5 of 10 passes for 24 yards and was sacked twice before giving way to Vick at quarterback to open the second half. Kolb made two starts last season in place of an injured McNabb, and became McNabb's successor when the veteran quarterback was traded to the Washington Redskins in the offseason.
Vick passed for 175 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 103 yards, his 10th career 100-yard rushing game. He joined Randall Cunningham and Steve Young as the only quarterbacks in league history to amass 4,000 career rushing yards.
"I believe in myself and I believe in the players around me," Vick said. "I trust the system and you just have to keep fighting. That was the most important thing."
Vick, in his second season with the Eagles after missing two NFL seasons while serving a federal sentence for his role in a dogfighting operation in Virginia, at times Sunday performed the sort of eye-catching on-field feats that he orchestrated with regularity for the Atlanta Falcons. He set up one touchdown with a 31-yard run and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in the fourth quarter.
But he was stopped by the Green Bay defense on a fourth-and-one running play in Packers territory with just less than two minutes to play, thwarting the Eagles' bid to rally from a 27-10 deficit. Philadelphia Coach Andy Reid said after the game that Kolb will remain the team's starter at quarterback if he's deemed healthy enough to play after undergoing further concussion-related tests.
Reid defended Kolb's outing, saying that the Eagles' problems early in the game were more widespread than just poor play at quarterback.
"Kevin will be fine," Reid said. "I think we all had a piece of that."
Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley also left the game with a concussion. Bradley and Kolb each returned to play in the first half after their injuries apparently were suffered. Reid said that both players initially performed well in concussion tests administered on the sideline but didn't feel well later and were removed from the game.
The Eagles also believed that fullback Leonard Weaver suffered a torn knee ligament and center Jamaal Jackson suffered a torn biceps. Both injuries could be season-ending, Reid said.
The Packers also had some issues, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing two interceptions and being sacked three times. But Rodgers passed for 188 yards and two touchdowns. The Packers got two field goals by place kicker Mason Crosby, including a 56-yarder as time expired in the first half, and held on late.
"I've been part of two ugly losses here," Rodgers said. "They were not a lot of fun. . . . This is a tough, hostile environment. It's nice to get a win here."
The teams traded early field goals, a 45-yarder by the Eagles' David Akers in the first quarter and a 49-yarder by Crosby for the Packers early in the second quarter. Kolb threw an apparent interception but had it ruled an incompletion after a successful instant replay challenge by Reid.
Kolb was hurt when he was hit by Packers linebacker Clay Matthews on the Eagles' next possession. Kolb made his way to the sideline and was examined by members of the Eagles' medical staff. The Eagles initially announced that Kolb had suffered a jaw injury and would return to the game. He played one more offensive series, and threw a pass toward Matthews that could have been intercepted but wasn't because the linebacker dropped the ball. That throw produced some boos by the crowd.
The Packers by then were on their way to taking control of the game. Rodgers zipped a pass between two Eagles defenders for a six-yard touchdown to wide receiver Donald Driver in the final two minutes of the first half. Green Bay got the ball back and maneuvered into position for Crosby's second field goal.
Fullback John Kuhn's three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter increased the Packers' lead to 20-3. Vick weaved his way around Green Bay defenders for his long run to set up a 12-yard touchdown run by tailback LeSean McCoy for the Eagles, but the Packers responded quickly with a 32-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Greg Jennings.