The Philadelphia Eagles and Michael Vick were having one of those days early on against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 14. Eagles fans like myself practiced our booing early and often in the first half, with a few more Vick fumbles and an 6-0 deficit late in the half. However, Philadelphia and its quarterback seemed to turn it around in the second half - until things ended even worse than they began.
By the time the Eagles took a 23-13 lead with minutes left, all of the mistakes in the first half were almost forgotten. Then they were overshadowed by worse mistakes at the end of the fourth quarter and in overtime, which ended this up-and-down day on the down note of a 26-23 loss.
The Eagles certainly didn't look like they deserved to win in the first 25 minutes of the game. Vick had two blown snaps in one drive and lost one of them, and also threw an interception on another possession. But as bad as the Philadelphia offense was, the Detroit offense was even worse, which bought the Eagles enough time to get going.
Vick finally heated up late in the first half, culminating on a touchdown shovel pass to LeSean McCoy. Then in the second half, he was actually protected and didn't turn the ball over, which put the Eagles in control throughout the third quarter and in much of the fourth. Yet all that was missing was more touchdowns, which allowed the Lions to keep hanging around.
It all appeared moot when Jeremy Maclin caught what looked to be a dagger of a long touchdown pass with minutes left. It was the biggest upswing of the day for the Eagles, which appeared to end this difficult game on a high note. It even erased Vick's latest interception moments earlier and appeared to make his latest three turnovers meaningless. But the real low notes were yet to come.
The collapse started with another Lions touchdown drive, and continued when Vick couldn't pull off one big first down afterwards. Detroit made Philadelphia pay for it by driving to the 1-yard line, although the Eagles did force a field goal and overtime. But when Vick got sacked twice and was pushed towards his own end zone, the Lions didn't need to do much to get into position for the winning field goal.
For about 30 minutes, the Eagles were the dominant team on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, those were the middle 30 minutes and couldn't erase the awful first 25 - or the last five of regulation. For that matter, it didn't erase the even uglier few minutes of overtime that sealed Philadelphia's fate.
The Eagles have always been a roller coaster of a team, as this contest proved more bitterly than ever. Philadelphia and Vick took us on the lowest of lows, then the highest of highs, only to drop down even lower on the final turn. It would be nice to focus on their excellent play in the middle - but the middle is not an ending, and happy endings continue to be on short supply in Philadelphia lately.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
Other stories by this contributor
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Michael Vick
- Detroit Lions
- the Eagles