PITTSBURGH -- Mike Kafka made the fourth quarter his. After three desultory offensive periods, the Eagles' needed a wakeup call. Kafka was only too happy to deliver.
He provided a spark in the 24-14 loss to Pittsburgh, completing 14 of 19 passes for 160 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Gerald Jones. The performance continued Kafka's outstanding preseason: In two games he has completed 27 of 38 passes (71.1 percent) for 292 yards, 2 touchdowns and interception. In the process, Kafka has compiled an impressive passer rating of 99.9.
The improvement is obvious. Kafka is throwing the football with more authority, more zip and he has a firm command of the offense.
"I think I have more confidence," said Kafka, the second-year man from Northwestern. "Obviously, today we didn't accomplish what we came here to do, and that was to win. There are some things we can clean up. I'm looking forward to getting back to practice.
"It was just good to go out there and play again. I wanted to make the most of it. We were all trying to get some points back and we had some opportunities. Some of them we hit on and some we missed. We need to be better."
Kafka was pretty darn good, even showing nice athletic ability with a pair of scrambles for 24 yards on the ground. He had one really athletic play during which he emerged from traffic, high-stepping away from defenders, to gain 17 yards.
While Kafka isn't the next Michael Vick or, for that matter, Vince Young, he showed what kind of athlete he is.
"Seriously, those guys have been great examples for me. All joking aside, they really do set a great example for me as far as preparation and their approach to the game. They are true professionals," said Kafka. "I'm able to watch them and learn a lot from them."
Both of Kafka's touchdown passes came on crossing routes to Jones, who made the catch and adjusted to get up the field and dive into the end zone. The first score, a 14-yard catch and run, capped an 8-play, 80-yard drive and the second, from 7 yards out, ended a pretty 12-play, 94-yard drive.
It was that kind of night for Kafka, who takes his chances and makes the most of them.
"That's all that I can do. Whenever they call on me, I have to be ready," he said. "You get out there and get into a groove and it helps. I was able to do that at times tonight."