On the Field: A series of bad connections

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick stumbles in the backfield as the Giants' Antrel Rolle grabs him. Vick was able to escape Rolle.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick stumbles in the backfield as the Giants' Antrel Rolle grabs him. Vick was able to escape Rolle.
Posted: November 22, 2010

DeSean Jackson was behind his man, free for the type of score he and Michael Vick have produced all season.

Only this time, the throw was too long. Vick had again done the seemingly impossible, but in a bad way: He overthrew one of the fastest receivers in the game.

The second quarter incompletion was the first of a series of unwanted firsts for Vick and the Eagles - making their late rally all the more remarkable.

On a night when it appeared an ugly fourth-quarter sequence might doom the Eagles, the team battled through the most ordinary performance of Vick's season to secure a crucial win.

"We knew this game wasn't going to be like last game. We knew there was going to be adversity that we were going to have to deal with," Vick said. "It's all about fighting, winning the tough ones, and pulling it out when you need to."

For the first time this season Vick, and Jackson could not connect for the type of explosive plays that can change a game. The receiver got two hands to an underthrown pass in the end zone but couldn't scoop up the score. Vick later misfired when Jackson was open in the end zone.

It was a sign of bad things to come for an offense that was dominant six days earlier. Instead of carrying the team to a win, the offense put the Eagles in a hole early in the fourth quarter, even with the defense playing one of its best games of the year.

The real trouble began on the first play to open the fourth quarter, with the Eagles clinging to a 16-10 lead. The Giants blitzed. As we have seen so often this season, Vick spun away from the free rusher and zipped toward open space. Only this time, a thicket of defenders was there to hem him in. Instead of a momentum-changing jaunt, Vick was held to a pedestrian 5 yards.

The small play by the Giants set up a big one on the next snap. On third and 11, Justin Tuck hit Vick from behind and stripped him. Barry Cofield fell on the ball and Vick had committed his first turnover of the season.

It was a costly one. It gave the Giants the ball on the Eagles' 27. In two plays the Giants scored and took a 17-16 lead.

"We're striving for perfection, even though we know being perfect is far-fetched," said Vick, who picked up the first major blemish on his stat sheet.

After producing six touchdowns a week earlier, Vick had one Sunday night. Jackson was limited to five catches for 50 yards.

"Better talk to the defense," Jackson shouted to the media in the Eagles' victorious locker room.

Indeed, the D came up with five turnovers and the offense got enough from Jeremy Maclin (120 yards on nine catches) and some late heroics from LeSean McCoy.

"Vick can't go out there and put 60 points up every game," cornerback Asante Samuel said. "It's a team thing and the defense stepped up tonight, and we've got to continue to do that."

Even on an off day for their biggest weapons, the Eagles had answers.

Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com.

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