Statistically, last night was the worst game of Michael Vick’s season. Intangibly, it was one of his finest. While Vick didn’t light up the scoreboard to the tune of 400 yards of offense or six touchdowns, like he did last week, he guided the Philadelphia Eagles back from a late 17-16 deficit to secure a critical win over the New York Giants.
“I told him I was proud of him,” said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. “He had great poise. Michael showed great poise, great leadership in that situation and then we came back and won the game by 10, so I told him I was proud of that.”
“This was an important game for him,” said head coach Andy Reid. “It’s very important to battle through when a team is coming after you, bringing extra people, you’re getting hit and knocked around, and things might not be going as smoothly as you want. You have to fight, and that’s what he did. That’s the only part we haven’t seen. You guys have asked me about that, so you saw it. He battled his tail off.”
Vick ended up completing 24-of-38 passes for 258 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. He ran 11 times for 34 yards and a touchdown, and lost a fumble on one of three sacks.
As the offense continually came up just short of making big plays against an aggressive blitzing scheme from the Giants defense, Vick wanted to show his teammates that he’d stand in and take hits to make plays.
“I spent a lot of the game on the ground,” Vick said. “This game is really going to give me a heart attack one day, but I love it to death and if I gotta get hit, keep getting up and keep believing in those guys in front of me and showing them that I’m willing to hang in there and letting them know that I believe in them, then I’ll continue to do it each and every week as long as I can get up.”
Vick’s leadership was exemplified after the Eagles had a 24-17 lead with 2:48 remaining and a 2nd and 10 from their own 40-yardline.
“I just challenged the guys in the huddle,” Vick said. “I just told them ‘We need a first down. Why can’t we get a first down to end the game? Let’s make this easy on ourselves,’ and LeSean popped it.”
As Vick said, McCoy ran 40 yards on the following play down to the Giants 20, and the Eagles went on to win 27-17. It was their first late come from behind win of the season and one that Vick and the Eagles can build on in the future.
“When you lose the lead, it’s frustrating at the same time, but it has to bring something out of you,” Vick said. “Something has to click and you realize that your back is against the wall and it’s all about how you respond.”
Vick and company responded with the biggest win of their season, moving to 7-3 and sitting second in the NFC. Vick still leads the league with a passer rating of 108.7, but more importantly demonstrated that he can guide his team to victory even when he’s not firing on all cylinders.
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