Eagles Comeback Falls Short, Packers Advance 21-16

The Eagles went to the well one too many times, and this time couldn’t dig their way out as they tried to mount a furious comeback, but fell to the Packers 21-16.  Michael Vick threw an interception to Tramon Williams with 33 seconds remaining, sealing the Eagles’ fate. Vick had pulled the Eagles to within a score with 4:02 left on a quarterback sneak, but the Birds took a penalty on the two-point conversion when Brent Celek stepped out of the back of the end zone and was the first to touch the ball when he caught Vick’s pass in the back-left corner. Celek was ruled to have re-established himself, giving the Eagles another attempt from the 7-yardline, but Vick was under heavy pressure and couldn’t find anyone, shoveling the ball incomplete.

Philadelphia trailed 21-10 going into the fourth quarter and had several opportunities inside Green Bay territory, being forced to punt and having David Akers miss a short field goal.  Still, the Birds battled on a 13-play, 78 yard drive that took 4:48 off the clock.  The Eagles appeared to be stymied near the end zone, but Vick was able to punch it in on fourth-and-1 on a quarterback sneak.

The Packers moved the chains once, but on third-and-10 with 2:10 remaining, the Eagles defense came up with a huge sack, as Keenan Clayton hauled Rodgers to the ground, giving the offense another chance. DeSean Jackson had a chance on the punt return, returning it to the Philadelphia 44-yardline.  A holding call on Gerard Lawson moved the Birds back to the 34-yardline with 1:45 remaining and no timeouts for the Eagles.

On the first play of the game, Vick hit Jackson over the middle and the shifty receiver broke a tackle, moving it all the way to the Packers’ 38-yardline. Vick lofted the next pass up for Brent Celek, who was crushed in the air but didn’t earn a penalty as a defenseless receiver, drawing boos from the Philadelphia fans.  Vick missed LeSean McCoy on a swing to the left flat on second down, setting up third-and-10 with 1:02 remaining at the Pcakers’ 38. Vick hit Riley Cooper for 11 yards on the next play, moving the chains again. On the next play, Vick launched it into the end zone for Cooper again but Tramon Williams made a leaping interception, sealing the Packers win.

Philadelphia trailed 14-3 before it capitalized on a turnover earlier in the third quarter when Darryl Tapp stripped the ball from Aaron Rodgers on a sack and Juqua Parker recovered. Two plays later, Vick threaded a beautiful pass to Avant after the offensive line picked up a blitz, cutting the deficit to 14-10.

Rodgers and company marched back down the field, going on top 21-10.  Since, the Eagles have had two drives in Green Bay territory – the first ending in a punt and the second still underway.

Philadelphia was off to a bad start immediately, as Michael Vick was sacked by Desmond Bishop on a blitz on the first play from scrimmage.  The huge hit set the tone as the Packers defense pressured Vick throughout the half, as he connected on 7-12 passes for 93 yards and no scores. Vick was sacked twice.

It seemed the Eagles might have a second chance to make a first impression after their first drive when Brandon Underwood was pushed into the loose punt.  Omar Gaither recovered at the Packers 41-yardline, but five plays later David Akers pushed a 41-yard field goal attempt wide right.  The two teams then traded punts before the Packers got their offense in motion.

It was largely the run game that did it, with James Starks running four times for 36 yards on a 10-play, 68 yard drive that took 5:38 off the clock.  At the end of the drive, Rodgers hit Tom Crabtree for a seven-yard strike, with Asante Samuel too deep in zone coverage near the end zone.

Philadelphia punted again on its next possession, and Green Bay went right back into rhythm on offense.  Starks ran for nine yards on his first two carries of the drive, then the Packers caught a big break.  On third-and-1, John Kuhn ran for a yard before fumbling.  Quintin Mikell was in the area to recover, but Kuhn ripped it away and fell forward, securing a first down.  Rodgers then hit Kuhn for 8 yards before finding Quinn Johnson for a 4-yard pickup on third-and-2.  Rodgers kept dealing, finding Donald Driver for a 7-yard gain, setting up a first down run of 6 yards by Starks.

Green Bay survived another scare as Rodgers fumbled for a 3-yard loss on the next play, but fell on the loose ball. He then found Jennings for 8 yards, scrambled for 8 and hit Jones for the 9-yard score, putting Green Bay on top 14-0.

Andy Reid’s answer was to go to the air, and Vick found Jeremy Maclin on a deep crossing pattern for 44 yards down to the Packers’ 30. Vick later scrambled for 14 yards on third-and-10, taking the Birds down to the Green Bay 16. A critical second-and-7 drop by DeSean Jackson killed the drive though, as Vick’s pass to Jason Avant on third-and-7 only picked up 2 yards.  This time David Akers was true from 29 yards, but the Eagles trailed 14-3 at halftime.

Follow Ryan Messick on Twitter.

Topics: Aaron Rodgers, Andy Reid, DeSean Jackson, Eagles, Greg Jennings, Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick, Packers

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