|by Ryan Messick |
The Eagles may have taken themselves off life support at the end of the first half, but they still trail the Packers 14-3. Aaron Rodgers has a pair of touchdown passes, one to Tom Crabtree and one to James Jones, both from inside 10 yards. Rodgers is 13-18 for 111 yards, the two touchdowns and no interceptions.
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.