Vick Hurt, Foles Guides Eagles to 27-17 Win Over Patriots
Michael Vick’s second preseason game felt like a repeat of his first. Vick lasted just six offensive plays before leaving the game with an injury, this time dealing with soreness in his ribs.
Vick’s x-rays were negative for fractures, but he’ll undergo an MRI and a CT scan tomorrow to check for cartilage damage. Vick missed four weeks in 2010 with an injury to his rib cartilage.
While Vick appeared to see the hit coming from Jermaine Cunningham, a Patriots linebacker, prior to deciding to set his feet and throw a pass, head coach Andy Reid didn’t question his quarterback’s decision making on the play.
Reid also didn’t rule out further preseason action for Vick, who is 4-for-7 for 11 yards in two preseason games.
“If he didn’t play again, I think he’s okay,” Reid said. “I’d tell you I’d probably like to see him play a little bit more.”
With backup Mike Kafka already sidelined by a hand injury, rookie Nick Foles stepped in and shined again.
Foles completed 18-of-28 passes for 217 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, guiding the Eagles back from an 11-0 deficit to a 24-17 lead when he left the game in the third quarter.
Foles may have played his way into the lead for the backup quarterback job.
“We’ll see,” Reid said. “You’ve got to make sure that you go back and study the tape and see what you think, but I would tell you that I think he did a decent job.”
Backup tight end Clay Harbor caught both of Foles’ touchdown passes of two and three yards. Harbor finished with six catches for 30 yards and the two scores.
Meanwhile, the Eagles first-string defense was far too frequently incapable of making stops on third downs against a Patriots unit that lacked most of its starters. New England rested 10 offensive starters, including Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and four defensive starters according to its depth chart.
At halftime, the Patriots were 7-of-11 on third downs and had gained 10.18 yards per play on third down attempts, but only 1.32 yards per play on first and second downs.
“There are a couple where we didn’t quite get in the right zone, but the penalties,” Reid began to explain. “Listen, are they going to get a first down? Teams are going to get first downs, but to give them first downs – that’s the issue. We’ve done that the last two weeks too much. Too much.”
The Eagles defense was again characterized by its over-aggressiveness, with 16 penalties for 131 yards and repeated problems stopping screens and draws.
That helped the Patriots jump out to an 11-0 lead after settling for a field goal to cap an 11-play, 41-yard drive in the first quarter and driving 60 yards in 13 plays on a 5-plus minute drive that ran into the second quarter.
The touchdown drive ended in a 7-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett to Alex Silvestro, the Patriots sixth tight end, who beat Mychal Kendricks on an out route.
An illegal substitution penalty on the Eagles was enforced prior to the PAT and the Patriots opted to go for two, with a successful 1-yard run by Shane Vereen.
Despite the mistake on the scoring play, Kendricks was a huge bright spot for the Eagles, amassing six tackles, including one for a loss and frequently showing up around the ball.
After punting on their first three drives, a special teams error by the Patriots sparked the Eagles. Brandon Bolden muffed a punt with Brandon Boykin bearing down on him, and Akeem Jordan recovered at the Patriots’ 24-yardline to give the Birds a short field.
After a 9-yard run by LeSean McCoy, full back Stanley Havili ran for 14 yards. That set up a 1-yard touchdown run by McCoy, pulling the Eagles to within a score at 11-7.
On the second play of the following drive, Phillip Hunt sacked Brian Hoyer and forced a fumble that Darryl Tapp recovered, giving the Eagles offense another short field at the 12-yardline.
Foles hit DeSean Jackson for 11 yards over the middle, then found Clay Harbor for a 1-yard touchdown strike and a 14-11 lead.
New England responded with a 14-play, 63-yard field goal drive to tie the game at 14-14, which was the halftime score.
Foles started the second half off with a stat-boosting drive, completing 5-of-6 passes for 87 yards and a 3-yard touchdown to Harbor. The highlight of the drive was a 40-yard hookup with DeSean Jackson on a ball that was underthrown, but which Jackson adjusted to nicely.
Later in the third quarter, the Patriots settled for another Stephen Gostkowski field goal, to cut the Eagles lead to 21-17.
The Birds answered with a 42-yard field goal by Alex Henery, stretching the lead back out to a touchdown at 24-17 at the end of the third quarter.
Henery added a 21-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to finish the scoring in a 27-17 Eagles win.
Reid and Jenkins In Verbal Altercation
Eagles head coach Andy Reid and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins were caught in a heated verbal dispute on the sidelines by ESPN’s Monday Night Football cameras.
The duo had to be separated by defensive line coach Jim Washburn, known himself as a fiery individual, who then had a few words with Reid.
During the game, linebacker DeMeco Ryans seemed to take issue with Reid’s handling of the situation in an interview with ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters.
“It was a lot of penalties, so he was getting on us about getting the penalties when we should’ve been off the field,” Ryans said. “It was a little – got a little too rowdy for, you know, preseason, it’s a little too early for that. But we know the importance of it and he’s trying to teach us to be smarter.”
After the game, Reid said he had spoken with Jenkins later on in the night and that the two were on good terms.
“It’s an emotional game,” Reid said. “He was fired up. I was fired up. Those things happen. Cullen’s my primary leader on that defensive line. I count on him for a lot of things. He was upset and I was upset.”
Quarterback Michael Vick will have an MRI and a CT scan on his ribs to check for cartilage damage, but x-rays were negative.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie injured his shoulder, but tried to convince Reid to let him return to the game
Safety Tom Nelson left the game with a high ankle sprain.
Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe (hamstring), linebacker Jamar Chaney (hamstring) and linebacker Casey Matthews (high ankle sprain) did not play.
Ryan Messick covers the Eagles for 97.3 ESPN FM. Follow him on Twitter.