Eagles lose to Vikings with "pathetic" effort

Quarterback Michael Vick points to the sky after firing a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clay Harbor in the first quarter. The score was tied at 7 at halftime.
Quarterback Michael Vick points to the sky after firing a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clay Harbor in the first quarter. The score was tied at 7 at halftime.
Posted: December 29, 2010

Pathetic. Terrible.

Two days after clinching the NFC East with help from the Green Bay Packers, a disgusted Andy Reid used those words to describe a flat, sloppy, 24-14 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night that cost the Eagles any shot at a first-round playoff bye and that left quarterback Michael Vick limping with a bruised thigh.

The Eagles are now locked into the third seed in the NFC and will host a wild-card game Jan. 8 or 9 against the Packers, Giants, or Buccaneers, depending on the outcomes of Sunday's games. A loss to a struggling Vikings team that gave rookie Joe Webb his first start eliminated any hopes of skipping the first round.

"We don't deserve it after that performance right there," Reid said of a penalty-strewn game full of defensive breakdowns and offensive miscues. "It was an absolutely pathetic job on my part of getting my team ready to play. We didn't coach well, and we didn't play well."

Sunday's game against the Cowboys will have no impact on the Eagles' playoff standing, but Reid wouldn't say whether his starters will play. "We're not good enough to do that," he said at one point but later said he had not yet started thinking about the next game.

Several players said they would like to get back on the field after a disappointing performance Tuesday night. But with a first-round game looming, the wild-card game would be the Eagles' third in 12 or 13 days, and Vick, in particular, may need rest after taking another pounding.

"You're only as good as your last game, and we played bad," said defensive end Darryl Tapp. "You've got to get yourself together."

"I always want to play, but, ultimately, it's Andy's decision," Vick said. "He'll make the best decision possible, and I'll go with whatever he asks me to do."

The Eagles still have one home playoff game guaranteed, so one loss won't derail the entire season. But it does leave the Eagles facing a far-tougher road to the Super Bowl. After winning six of their last seven games, with late comebacks often covering for early mistakes, the loss to the 6-9 Vikings may serve as a wake-up call, several players said.

"Any time you go out and have a showing like that, you don't want to go into the postseason after something like this," said safety Quintin Mikell. "We're going to have to take the long road, take the hard road, but hopefully it's a wake-up call."

Five Eagles stars were honored with Pro Bowl berths before the game, but none looked the part once play began.

Vick, who has carried the Eagles in their recent run of success and was named to his fourth Pro Bowl before the game, had his worst game of the year, losing a fumble in the second quarter that was returned for a Vikings touchdown, throwing an interception, and launching at least two other passes that should have been picked off. Under pressure the entire night - often from cornerback blitzes - Vick lost another fumble in the third quarter and finished with his lowest quarterback rating of the year, 74.1.

He played all night with a quadriceps injury sustained on the first play from scrimmage.

"My leg wasn't 100 percent, but I still felt strong. I still felt like I could get the job done," Vick said. He took "sole responsibility" for his turnovers and their impact on the game. The second-quarter fumble that Antoine Winfield forced on a blitz and picked up for a score was "a huge momentum swing for the Minnesota Vikings," Vick said.

It was Vick's sixth straight game with a turnover; he has nine giveaways in that span.

DeSean Jackson, another Pro Bowler, had just two catches for 32 yards. Kicker David Akers might be forgiven for missing a 54-yard field goal but committed a significant error by kicking off out of bounds after the Eagles had pulled to within 17-14. The Vikings turned their good field position into a game-sealing touchdown.

The defense gave up 118 rushing yards to Adrian Peterson, the most they have allowed any runner all season, and could not take advantage of Webb's inexperience. Instead, Webb looked poised and elusive, completing 17 of 26 passes, with no interceptions and no touchdowns, and running for a 9-yard score that even Vick should have admired.

The Eagles added a whopping 12 penalties for 62 yards.

In the fourth quarter, Vick began what might have been another late rally with a slick, 10-yard touchdown run that pulled the Eagles to within 17-14. But defensive breakdowns let the Vikings to put the game away on the next drive. Webb hit wide receiver Percy Harvin for 19 yards on a third and 11 - the speedy Harvin covered by linebacker Jamar Chaney on the play. Peterson took a handoff on the next play and went 27 yards, setting up a game-sealing touchdown.

After using fourth-quarter comebacks to win four of their last five games, the Eagles' magic ran out Tuesday night against a team that had nothing to play for. While the game was unusual because of Sunday's snow - it was the first Tuesday NFL game since 1946 - several Eagles said the delay should have had a worse impact on the Vikings. After all, they were the ones who had to spend two extra days away from home after preparing for a one-day trip.

"I think we thought they were going to lay down for us. That's what it seemed to me," said wide receiver Jason Avant. "It didn't seem right. It didn't seem like us, and it didn't feel right. All night, just careless, not disciplined, a lot of different things."

Tight end Brent Celek said the Super Bowl is still a goal but knows it won't come with a repeat of Tuesday night.

"If we don't regroup and get things together, we're not going to go anywhere," Celek said.


Vick vs. Webb

Here is how Eagles quarterback Michael Vick compared to Vikings quarterback Joe Webb:

Vick

Passing

25-43, 263 yards, 1 TD,

1 Int.

Rushing

8 carries for 63 yards,

2 lost fumbles, 1 TD.

Webb

Passing

17-26, 195 yards, 0 TD,

0 Int.

Rushing

6 carries for 31 yards,

1 TD.


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JonathanTamari.

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