Things could have been different tonight at Lincoln Financial Field, in a big way. The Eagles took a 20-10 lead into halftime against the Texans, but left at least four points on the field after a pair of missed connections in the end zone caused a field goal at the end of the half instead of a momentum-grabbing touchdown. LeSean McCoy’s pair of touchdowns, a 1-yard reception from Michael Vick and a 4-yard run, seemed to be distant memories at halftime.
In the third quarter, the Eagles began to fold. Texans running back Arian Foster took over for 15 minutes, scoring one touchdown through the air from Matt Schaub and one on the ground to put Houston up 24-20. Foster racked up 53 total yards and the two scores on 13 third quarter touches, sandwiching a Jason Allen interception of Michael Vick.
“When you’re up and things start to go bad, it can either go one way or the other,” said safety Quintin Mikell. “It can kind of snowball. I think the one thing that we did was re-focus.”
Philadelphia could have collapsed instead. Its defense, without star cornerback Asante Samuel to cover Andre Johnson and struggling to slow Foster, hadn’t forced a punt in more than 27 minutes. A somewhat fluky interception by defensive tackle Trevor Laws late in the second quarter was the only drive in that stretch that didn’t end in points or due to the half.
Meanwhile, the offense hadn’t put up a touchdown in more than 29 minutes. Then, it all changed. Backup tight end Clay Harbor returned a squib kick 19 yards to the Eagles’ 40-yardline. Philadelphia spread the ball
around – a five yard run by McCoy, a nine-yard pass to Brent Celek, a two-yard run by Vick and a 33-yard pass to DeSean Jackson moved the Eagles to the Texans’ 11-yardline. Vick hit McCoy for nine yards, then punched it in on a 2-yard sneak, putting the Birds on top 27-24.
“It was very satisfying,” Vick said. First thing I just have to give glory to God for giving us the opportunity to come out here and play this game and win.
“I told the guys, ‘Now’s the time to put it all together and come out and make the plays I know we can make. Let’s be efficient, let’s be smart and win this football game.’ And they did.”
“[Vick’s] a quiet guy, but he was very vocal about everyone rallying and picking up their games and he was going to pick up his game,” said head coach Andy Reid. “It was all positive. For someone that’s normally quiet to speak up like that, people listen.”