Vick-Jackson vs. McNabb-Owens

Michael Vick leads the interference on an end-around for DeSean Jackson, above. Below, Terrell Owens runs behind Donovan McNabb during a practice session the season after the two led the Birds to the Super Bowl.
Michael Vick leads the interference on an end-around for DeSean Jackson, above. Below, Terrell Owens runs behind Donovan McNabb during a practice session the season after the two led the Birds to the Super Bowl.
Posted: December 21, 2010

There is a feeling that Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson evoke every time they create a big play out of thin air.

Fans simply shake their heads in wonder.

The last time that feeling permeated these parts, another Eagles quarterback-receiver duo was wowing Philadelphia on their way to the Super Bowl. Six years ago, Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens were arguably the greatest offensive twosome in franchise history.

But Vick and Jackson have raised that bar, at least in terms of excitement. And while a Super Bowl appearance like the one McNabb and Owens earned is still a long way off, Vick and Jackson, after their performances in Sunday's immortal 38-31 win over the New York Giants, have Eagles fans thinking Super thoughts.

"There's nothing that we can't do with those playmakers on the offensive side of the ball," Eagles safety Quintin Mikell said after Vick threw three touchdown passes and ran for another, and Jackson won the game with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown.

"When they take over, they make plays, and that's what you got to do to get to a championship."

But it's not just that Vick and Jackson assume ownership of a game or of a moment. It's the dramatic flair with which they do it. It's like Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino having a cup of coffee together in Heat - each player trying to one up the other.

"They're making each other better," Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel said. "One of them will make a big play, and it's like the other guy is, 'Well, look at what I can do.' "

Both Vick and Jackson struggled for almost three and a half quarters against the Giants. Each had a turnover. Each was taken out of his game. But something clicked midway through the fourth quarter after the Giants scored to go ahead, 31-10.

From that point on, Vick completed 6 of 11 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns, and ran five times for 91 yards and a score. And Jackson put the cherry on top with his otherworldly 65-yard game-winning punt return as time expired.

"That man is one of the most incredible athletes I've ever seen in my life," Samuel said of Jackson. "He doesn't have the size, but [he has] the speed, the quickness, the agility, the hand-eye coordination."

Six years ago, the same things were said about McNabb and Owens. It's hard to remember now in light of what happened between the two following the loss in Super Bowl XXXIV, but there was a similar view of the pair before that 24-21 loss to the Patriots on Feb. 26, 2005.

McNabb had a career year in 2004. He passed for 3,875 yards, 31 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions. He completed 64 percent of his throws and finished with a 104.7 passer rating. And Owens was the stud receiver McNabb lacked for many years, catching 77 passes for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Vick and Jackson are putting up similar numbers. The quarterback, like McNabb, is having the best season of his career. He's thrown for 2,755 yards, 20 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. He completed 63.2 percent of his attempts and has a 103.6 rating. And with two games still to play, Jackson has 45 catches for 1,024 yards and six scores.

They share other traits on and off the field. At quarterback, McNabb (circa 2004) and Vick are both lethal with their legs. While McNabb had toned down his scrambling by his sixth season, he still ran for 220 yards. Vick has already gained 613 yards rushing this season.

Owens (even today) and Jackson are polar opposites on the field - power vs. speed. But they both are brash and loud - and unhappy with their contracts. Jackson, however, hasn't come close to disrupting the team as Owens did the year after 2004.

But, for most of his first season with the Eagles, Owens was a dutiful soldier, although it is hard to imagine him saying about McNabb, as Jackson did about his quarterback on Sunday, that it's "a blessing to have Mike Vick on our team."

It's the personalties of the quarterback that are most different. Vick, who faced the possibility of losing his career due to his conviction for dogfighting, is generally serious in public, a quiet leader who speaks only when he has something to say.

As an Eagle, McNabb, who made soup commercials with his mother, was more jovial and relaxed in the spotlight. He liked to play air guitar, mug for the cameras, and joke with sideline reporters.

And it is this serious demeanor of Vick's that gives fans their greatest hope for another crack at a championship. The man seems driven.

Unlike the turbulence that followed McNabb and Owens after the Super Bowl, the relationship between Vick and Jackson seems like a big brother looking out for his little kid bro.

Sure, McNabb and Owens didn't have to overcome a shaky defense like Vick and Jackson did on Sunday. But all four men gave their teammates confidence.

It's something that Eagles tight end Brent Celek said make the players think "that we can win every single game."


Vick-Jackson Vs. McNabb-Owens

Which tandem is better? Here is how Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson of the 2010 Eagles match up statistically so far against Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens of the 2004 Birds:

Michael Vick, 2010

Passing

G      Comp.-Att.    Pct.    Yards     Avg.     TDs    Int. Sacks    Rate

11       208-329       63.2    2,755 8.4     20    5       28 103.6

Rushing

Carries      Yards       Touchdowns      Average       Longest

92             613          8             6.7         35

Donovan McNabb, 2004

Passing

G       Comp.-Att.    Pct.    Yards     Avg.    TDs     Int. Sacks    Rate

15      300-469      64.0   3,875 8.3    31    8    32    104.7

Rushing

Carries      Yards       Touchdowns      Average       Longest

41             220         3            5.4         28   

DeSean Jackson, 2010

G       Receptions    Yards          Average       Longest    TDs

13       45             1,024       22.8          91T       6

Terrell Owens, 2004

G       Receptions    Yards          Average       Longest    TDs

14       77             1,200       15.6         59T       14


Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.

Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jeff_McLane.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|