Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb probably spent many years dreaming about his debut as an NFL starter. This rainy afternoon in south Philadelphia was surely not what he had in mind. Kolb completed just five of his 10 passes for 24 yards before leaving the game at halftime with a concussion. The Eagles went on to lose 27-20 to the Packers.
As rough as Kolb’s day was, the Eagles’ afternoon overall might have been worse. Counting Kolb, whose status for next week’s game is unknown, the Eagles lost three offensive starters.
Center Jamaal Jackson (torn biceps) and fullback Leonard Weaver (torn ACL) both appear to be done for the year according to head coach Andy Reid. They’ll both undergo MRIs tomorrow to confirm the prognosis. Middle linebacker Stewart Bradley also left the game with a concussion, and his availability next week is still unknown.
Compounding the Eagles issues, backup quarterback Michael Vick was able to guide the offense to 17 second-half points while the unit put up just three in the first half with Kolb at the helm. Reid was quick to squash any brewing controversy when asked if Kevin Kolb would start next week if healthy. “Yes,” Reid answered succinctly.
The Eagles head coach also went out of his way to take the blame for the offense’s rough start. “I’m going to take the responsibility for this, because it’s a few different things going on there,” Reid said. “It wasn’t just the quarterback, it wasn’t just the offensive line, it was kind of a culmination of things.”
Despite trailing 27-10 going into the fourth quarter, the Eagles had a shot at the end of the game thanks to a 17-yard touchdown strike from Vick to Jeremy Maclin and a David Akers field goal. Coming out of the two minute warning, the Eagles had a 4th and one play at the Green Bay 42-yardline, down by a touchdown.
The Eagles called a run left for Vick out of the shotgun, but the Packers seemed to guess correctly with a blitz to that side, blowing up the play at the line of scrimmage. “We thought it was the right thing to do,” Reid said. “That’s the play we had, we felt strong about it, and it didn’t work.”
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said that the Packers showed a zero blitz on the play, leaving no safeties deep. “That’s what that [offensive] play is designed for,” Mornhinweg said. He explained that the Packers did not send more men than the Eagles could block. Green Bay penetrated though, ending the Eagles comeback bid and dealing Philadelphia a season opening loss. (For more on the failed fourth and one play, visit ITI tomorrow when we break it down with input from left guard Todd Herremans)
Vick expressed his disappointment in the loss, but felt that a full game at the controls might have changed the outcome. “I feel like if I had been out there for four quarters, maybe we would have had a chance to win the game,” Vick said.
With Kolb’s injury status still undetermined, Vick may get that opportunity next week in Detroit. Even though Kolb is clearly the starter in Reid’s eyes, you have to wonder what the sentiment would be if Vick was called upon next week to fill-in and performed at a high level.
While that situation will play out over the next week, one thing is clear. This was certainly not the way the Eagles hoped the Kevin Kolb era would start.
The Eagles sacked Aaron Rodgers three of the first 14 times he dropped back to pass. They couldn’t reach him again on the last 22 drop backs.
Kevin Kolb did not complete a pass to DeSean Jackson. The starting quarterback completed two each to LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin, with his other completion going to center Mike McGlynn on a ball that was tipped into the air by McCoy.
LeSean McCoy had just 35 yards rushing, with 12 of them coming on his touchdown run.
Nate Allen is the first Eagles rookie to notch an interception in a season opener since Eric Allen did it in 1988.
Nate Allen and Brandon Graham are only the seventh and eighth rookies to start on opening day under Andy Reid. The others are Macho Harris, DeSean Jackson, Shawn Andrews, Corey Simon, Jed Weaver adn John Welbourn.
Michael Vick became just the third quarterback in NFL history to surpass 4,000 rushing yards. Randall Cunningham (4,928) and Steve Young (4,329) are the others.
At least 10 players left the game with injuries at one point or another, with some returning. The Eagles saw Jason Peters, Jamaal Jackson, Leonard Weaver, Kevin Kolb, Stewart Bradley and Antwan Barnes banged up. The Packers’ Cullen Jenkins, Justin Harrell, Nick Collins and Ryan Grant all missed time.
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