The Philadelphia Eagles resembled the walking wounded against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 16. Eagles fans like myself cringed when important players like Jeremy Maclin, King Dunlap and Jason Kelce got injured, in one of the more physical games Philadelphia will endure this year. Yet while seemingly everyone else was going down, Michael Vick stayed upright - somehow.
The Ravens and the Eagles' offensive line didn't make it easier on Vick, who seemed to get hit on almost every play. But despite getting banged up and throwing two more interceptions, Vick stayed on his feet and put together his second straight last-minute drive for a 24-23 victory.
In the previous week, Vick didn't take as much of a beating from the Cleveland Browns - except on the stat line where he threw four interceptions. If Cleveland could do that much to him while not really putting him under pressure, how much worse would Baltimore treat him? The Ravens treated him pretty rough, but in this case, Vick answered the challenge.
He was scorching hot for most of his first drive - until he threw an avoidable interception in the end zone. But there weren't that many more bad passes from Vick, as even his second interception was more Brent Celek's fault when it bounced off his hands. Despite that bad break, and despite the Eagles committing two more turnovers after handoffs, this was a four-turnover game that Vick could live with.
When he kept giving the ball up to the Browns, he added insult to injury by being inefficient and overworked. But against the Ravens, Vick only had to throw 32 passes, wound up completing 23, and even ran in for the winning touchdown at the very end. His efficiency and his 371 yards was even more impressive, considering how he was on his back most of the day.
Given how many Eagles went down to injuries, it was ironic that Vick was one of the healthier players on the field. Despite his fragility, he kept getting up from every hard hit that the brutal Ravens gave him, although he was only sacked twice. Of course, it makes it less likely that he can take such a beating for 14 more weeks, but for the short term, his survival was very encouraging.
After the near-loss to Cleveland, Philadelphia's fans were ready to call for Vick's benching with a repeat performance. But even though he needed another last-minute escape and endured several more turnovers, no one is calling for Nick Foles to take over now - not for this week, anyway.
Vick assured that as long as he can stay upright, he will remain the Eagles' No. 1 quarterback and their best chance to win. It is easier to accept when he overcomes mistakes to beat elite teams, has fewer dumb incompletions and interceptions, runs the ball like in the old days and survives 60 minutes of brutal punishment. And maybe one of these weeks, it won't take that much for him and Philadelphia to win, if that's still possible.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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