Vick pulls ahead of Foles as Eagles beat Panthers

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles looks to pass as Carolina defensive end Mario Addison closes in. Foles passed for 53 yards, had one interception, and rushed for a touchdown.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles looks to pass as Carolina defensive end Mario Addison closes in. Foles passed for 53 yards, had one interception, and rushed for a touchdown. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 17, 2013

Chip Kelly was not yet ready to name a starting quarterback Thursday night after the Eagles beat the Carolina Panthers, 14-9, even though Michael Vick continued pushing ahead of Nick Foles in his preseason bid to win the job.

"I told you since Day 1 we're not going to make any rash decisions," Kelly told reporters. "You can put your pens down if you think I'm going to name a starting quarterback in this room right now."

It was Foles' turn to start at Lincoln Financial Field. Both quarterbacks impressed, but Vick had the better night.

On his first drive of the game, Foles marched the Eagles downfield as if he was a veteran of Kelly's offense. Then came a head-scratching, ill-fated interception in the end zone. He later ran for a touchdown.

When Vick entered the game in the second quarter, the 33-year-old surpassed even last week's sterling performance. He connected on his first nine passes, and aside from a Hail Mary that was intercepted as the first-half clock expired, his performance was flawless.

Foles finished 6 of 8 for 53 yards and the interception, as well as 13 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Vick was 9 of 10 for 105 yards and one interception, and also rushed twice for 20 yards.

"I think we have two quarterbacks that can play in an NFL game," Kelly said. "You feel better about that situation."

Overall, the Eagles looked better in their second preseason game, with a first-team defense that either dramatically improved in six days or simply validated what Tom Brady can do to an unrefined unit. One week after the Patriots dominated the Eagles defense, the same unit kept Carolina out of the end zone.

The offense was boosted by the return of LeSean McCoy, who had 47 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries. He also caught three passes for 16 yards in his debut.

The Eagles opened the game with the up-tempo pace that Kelly calls a "tool in our toolbox." Operating exclusively out of the shotgun in the no-huddle offense, Foles led the Eagles near the Panthers goal line over 13 plays.

Foles also mishandled two snaps. On the second one, he picked up the ball and tried to throw the ball out of the end zone. It instead landed in the hands of Panthers cornerback Josh Thomas. Foles rebounded on the next drive, when the Eagles drove 39 yards for a touchdown - 26 coming on McCoy's rushing. Foles scrambled for a 7-yard score to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.

"All I can do is go out there and correct what I did wrong and improve," Foles said.

When the Eagles regained possession, it was Vick's turn. He led the team 52 yards before Chris Polk fumbled.

On Vick's next drive, it took him only 2 minutes, 7 seconds to bring the Eagles 74 yards, with all but McCoy's 1-yard touchdown directly coming from Vick. He hit four straight passes, then ran for 20 yards before McCoy's score. Vick admitted to losing confidence at the end of last season, but he is energized in Kelly's system.

Vick was asked what he still has to prove. "Just continue to show that I can be consistent . . . and protect the football," he said. "Just got to keep pushing forward and not regress."

Midway through the preseason, clarity is coming to the quarterback competition.

"I think they're both doing a great job of making it difficult right now," Kelly said.

Extra points. Tight end Emil Igwenagu left the game in the second quarter with a head injury. Cornerback Curtis Marsh was taken into the locker room in the third quarter with a right hand injury. Running back Felix Jones left with a left rib injury.

Click here for complete coverage of Philadelphia Eagles training camp.

Contact Zach Berman at Follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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