The Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons will forever be linked together for many reasons. Of course, Eagles fans like myself will remember the 2005 NFC title game as the greatest Philadelphia-Atlanta game ever. Back then, Michael Vick was in a Falcons uniform, but things are far different now.
The next Eagles-Falcons game on Oct. 28 is the third time that Vick will face his former team. So far, he has had a mixed record against Atlanta, but it will need to get better very soon.
The first time that Vick came back to Atlanta was on Dec. 6, 2009. However, he only had to make a cameo on that day, although he made it a memorable one with a late touchdown. By then, the Eagles already had a blowout win in hand over the Falcons, as Donovan McNabb was in the midst of his last winning streak with Philadelphia.
Although McNabb was gone when the Eagles and Falcons met again on Oct. 17, 2010, Vick hadn't yet taken over. In fact, these two teams met right before the Kevin Kolb experiment was about to come to an end. Yet with Vick sidelined due to injury, Kolb tore the Falcons apart in another blowout victory, right before Vick returned and took over for good - although Kolb did make it a difficult decision with this victory.
Nevertheless, Vick retook control right afterwards - and the 2010 Falcons wouldn't get blown out like this again until their playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers. The next year, Vick was finally ready for a full start in his old home at Atlanta, yet he would not finish it.
The beginning of the Eagles' era of blown fourth-quarter leads came on Sept. 18, 2011 at Atlanta. Vick and Matt Ryan were in a shootout, but when Vick hurt his hand and had to be taken out, Ryan took over and led the Falcons back to victory. Back then, Philadelphia was still in the middle of its 'Dream Team' hype and wasn't all that concerned with one blown loss. However, the seed for all the other come-from-ahead losses in 2011 was planted with that first one in Atlanta.
That, above all else, is Vick's lasting legacy in his games against the Falcons - along with his inability to finish them. If he plays the full 60 minutes on Oct. 28, it will be the first time he's done so when facing Atlanta. But it will mean nothing if he doesn't have a win to go with it.
While the Eagles are 2-1 over the Falcons since Vick joined them, both of those wins came in games where No. 7 wasn't the starter. Although many Philadelphia fans wish Vick wasn't the starter for this battle either, this is his chance to finally come up big in front of his former team. Especially if he wants to still lead his current team.
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
- Atlanta Falcons