The Philadelphia Eagles have turned the ball over nine times in two games. After beating the Baltimore Ravens 24-23 on Sunday afternoon, they are 2-0 despite that fact.
Though he threw two interceptions and also fumbled, Michael Vick once again was able to lead the Eagles on a late fourth-quarter touchdown drive. Joe Flacco—last week's quarterback du jour—was unable to do the same, turning the ball over on downs as the Ravens tried to orchestrate a game-winning drive with less than two minutes to go.
Despite an eye-opening game in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Joe Flacco returned to earth against the Eagles, finishing 22-of-42 for 232 yards, a touchdown and two turnovers.
Much like last year, the Ravens were far more effective when they focused the offense on Ray Rice (16 carries for 99 rushing yards, six catches for 53 yards) than when they became too reliant on the passing game.
Despite the turnovers, Vick finished 23-of-32 for 371 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 10 times for 34 yards and another touchdown. LeSean McCoy (25 rushes for 81 yards and a touchdown), Brent Celek (eight receptions for 154 yards) and DeSean Jackson (seven receptions for 114 yards) also had big days for the Eagles.
Surprisingly, despite a reputation as a quick-hit, big-play offense, the Eagles won the time of possession battle, 34:21 to 25:39. They out-gained the Ravens 486 to 325 on the day, and were able to string together longer drives by finishing 7-of-15 on third-down conversions (as opposed to the Ravens, who finished 4-of-14).
Still, Philadelphia killed itself in the first half, with a Vick interception in the red zone and two fumbles, including one by LeSean McCoy. They were lucky on the Vick interception, however, as Trent Cole stripped Joe Flacco of the ball on the next possession, giving the Eagles the ball in the red zone once more.
That would set up the first key play of the game, a 4th-and-1 conversion from the 6-yard line. McCoy would pick up the first down on an excellent, squirming effort, and three plays later would scurry into the end zone to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
The Ravens would quickly counter, however, with a seven-play, 58-yard drive that was capped by a five-yard Vontae Leach plunge into the end zone, which was quickly followed by one of the numerous post-play scraps between the two sides.
If you like a chippy football game, you loved this one. Both sides were chirping at one another throughout, and the game was extremely physical. This game was a few beer bottles away from becoming a bar-room brawl.
But the Eagles responded in the third quarter. After a punt by the Ravens to open the second half, the Eagles would zip down the field on a six-play, 41-yard drive that would result in a 23-yard touchdown pass from Vick to Jeremy Maclin.
After forcing another Baltimore punt, the Eagles would again drive down the field, this time settling for a 23-yard field goal by Alex Henery.
The fourth quarter was set up for a fantastic finish after two Tucker field goals led to a 23-17 Baltimore lead with 4:43 remaining in the game. Vick promptly led the Eagles down the field, finishing the drive with a three-yard quarterback draw to give the Eagles a 24-23 lead.
For the second week in a row, Vick led the Eagles down the field with the game on the line late in the game.
But the Ravens still had 1:48 left on the clock and two timeouts, needing just a field goal. But Flacco couldn't lead the team down the field, twice overthrowing receivers despite needing just two yards for a first down.
The Eagles now look like a team that will be tough to beat, especially if they can limit their turnovers and dumb penalties. For the Ravens, it may be time to focus the offense on Rice once more.
For at least one week, all talk about Flacco being elite should be put on hold.
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