I don’t think it is hyperbole to say that Michael Vick’s performance last night was the greatest game a Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has ever played. A case could be made for that being the greatest performance by a quarterback in the history of the NFL.
Never before in the history of the league has a quarterback thrown for over 300 yards and four touchdowns as well as rushing for over fifty yards and two more touchdowns. That is what Michael Vick did last night in leading the Eagles to the highest point total in both team and Monday Night Football history.
I was trying to think of a game by an Eagles QB that was even close to this. Randall Cunningham vs. the Redskins in 1989 was pretty amazing. And up until now, Donovan McNabb vs. the Packers in 2004 was as good a game as I’ve ever seen the Eagles offense play. But Vick’s performance last night outshined them all.
The only Eagles QB who could even come close to that kind of performance was the immortal QB Eagles from the Super Tecmo Bowl Nintendo game. For those who don’t remember, Cunningham had a separate licensing agreement, so his name couldn’t appear in the game. The game designers kept his amazing physical abilities, which in the video game world, made him near unstoppable.
Vick certainly looked like a video game character as he dodged hapless defenders, and fired perfect 50+ yard passes down the field.
How dominant was the Eagles offense? They had a 14 point lead before Donovan McNabb had even thrown a pass. In the first quarter—the best quarter I’ve ever seen an Eagles team play—they took a 28-0 lead, which was an NFL record for a visiting team. They didn’t let up until way after the game had been decided.
While the defense gave up 28 points, it’s hard to fault them too much, as most of the Redskins’ output came well after the game was in hand. In the first quarter, the defense looked just as dominant as the offense, holding the Redskins without a first down, and intercepting McNabb once. They would later add a touchdown of their own as Dmitri Patterson ran back his second interception of the night for a score.
Overall, this was just an amazing performance by the Eagles, and sets up their showdown against the Giants next week
What Went Right
- Just about everything the Eagles did on offense. From the 88-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson on the Eagles’ first play, the acrobatic catch by Jeremy Maclin, the laser pass to Jason Avant—the Eagles offense was simply unstoppable.
- Backup running back Jerome Harrison even made some noise, scoring on a long 50-yard run. He already looks like a much better option than former backup Mike Bell did.
- In the early going, the Eagles defense looked tough. Like in the first game between the teams, the Redskins tried to establish the run again. This time, the Eagles were able to shut it down, contributing to the early dominance.
- Dmitri Patterson continues to shine at cornerback. He had two interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown. I can’t see any reason why Ellis Hobbs should get his job back when he returns.
What Went Wrong
- The defense did seem to let up a bit after the first quarter. But it’s hard to blame them for that. Still, they seem to have some troubles in defending the long pass, something that teams will probably continue to try and exploit.
- Kick returner Jorrick Calvin was the one Eagle who had a bad day. He seemed to have a lot of trouble holding onto the ball.
- Brent Celek continues to struggle. Yes, his numbers are partially down because he’s being used more as a blocker, but he’s also dropping the opportunities that he gets.
Bad Andy Reid Coaching Move of the Week
It’s difficult to find much wrong with the team’s play this week, and the offensive game plan certainly worked well.
I do have to question why—in a blowout game, in the rain, with a short week ahead— are the starters still playing in the fourth quarter? I don’t care if Vick is having an amazing night. They’ll need him to be healthy against the Giants next week.
And why would he possibly have DeSean Jackson returning punts in the second half? Is Reid trying to get his guys hurt?
The McNabb Report
The good news for McNabb is that he got paid. He signed a five-year contract extension. The bad news is, after last night, most people are questioning if he is worth the money.
McNabb wasn’t horrible last night. But he also wasn’t especially great.
The Redskins needed him to have a big game, but instead, he threw multiple interceptions that killed any chances of a Redskins comeback. It was very representative of how he has played for most of this season.
Everyone is going to say “the Redskins traded for the wrong Eagles quarterback,” and maybe they’re right. But keep in mind, that Vick is throwing to DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Jason Avant, while handing off to LeSean McCoy. McNabb is surrounded by the likes of Keiland Williams and Anthony Armstrong. (Armstrong is a good deep threat, but he’d be lucky to be the Eagles’ fourth receiver)
Uncharacteristically, McNabb has been throwing a lot of interceptions this year. To his credit, more than a few of the picks have been his receivers’ fault, but it still odd considering how few he used to throw.
As for why McNabb would sign an extension after all the drama, I’ve heard reports that most of the negotiations were between McNabb’s agent and owner Dan Snyder. It isn’t clear just how happy that coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan are about having McNabb as the quarterback for the next few years.
Considering that they supposedly thought that backup Rex Grossman was a better option, I can’t imagine that they were 100 percent behind this move.
It appears that the Redskins can bring in all the winning coaches and quarterbacks that they want, but until Snyder steps aside, the same problems will remain.
Elsewhere in the NFL
- A week after getting run over by the Browns, the Patriots once again looked like a dominant team. Tom Brady tore the Steelers’ (who many had thought might be the best team in the NFL) apart. This once again proves that this year’s NFL is as wide open as it has ever been.
- The Bills notched their first win, hanging on to defeat the Lions. The game came down to a failed two point conversion by the Lions at the end of the game.
- The biggest play of the week had to be the hail mary pass completed by the Jaguars to earn a win over the Texans. The Texans defensive back tried to swat the ball to the ground, only to have it go right into the arms of Jaguars’ receiver Mike Thomas.
After the Colts game, many people said that if the Eagles could simply avoid the self-inflicted mistakes (mostly penalties) they would have scored about 40 points in that game. Against the Redskins, they eliminated those mistakes, and the result was a record setting performance.
Right now, Vick is playing as well as a quarterback can play. He’s throwing accurately, he’s hitting his deep throws, and he’s avoiding interceptions. He’s using his legs to extend plays and also to pick up big yards when necessary. He seems to be fulfilling the potential that most people saw when he was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.
Armed with perhaps the best set of skill position players in the NFL, if Vick can continue to play like this, the Eagles have to be considered legitimate contenders.
One warning: As great as this win was (and it was as great as they come) it only counts as one win. They don’t have much time to celebrate as the Giants are heading into town on Sunday night with first place in the NFC East on the line.
Originally published on my blog: Stranger in a Strange Land