When Michael Vick threw his fourth, and certainly worst interception of the day into the hands of Browns’ linebacker D’Qwell Jackson early in the fourth quarter , it appeared the Eagles were letting yet another winnable game and fourth-quarter lead slip away. Jackson raced into the end zone and gave the Browns what at the time seemed to be an insurmountable six-point lead. It appeared to be the key moment in the game that you could look at and say, “That’s the turning point. This one is over.” Turns out it was just part of the rising action.
After the following Eagles’ drive ended with a missed 45-yard field goal from kicker Alex Henery, his first miss in his last 17 attempts, the Eagles had once last opportunity to avoid an opening week debacle. We know by now that Vick atoned for his sins and found tight end Clay Harbor in the endzone to put the Eagles back on top to stay, but there were a few important plays that got the Eagles to that point. One of them was this week’s turning point of the game.
Facing a critical fourth and one at the Cleveland 23-yard line, Andy Reid finally opted to put the ball in the hands of LeSean McCoy, who the Browns had a no answer for all day. McCoy ran right tackle for three yards and put the Eagles into the red zone. From there, the Vick converted a 17-yard completion to Brent Celek and then capped the drive with the Harbor touchdown. But none of that would have ever happened and the Eagles would have walked away losers in Week 1 had McCoy not found just enough space off the right edge to push forward for a fresh set of downs. Given the team’s recent history of botching such plays, it was a huge play that should give them some confidence in similar high pressure situations moving forward.