The last battle between the Eagles and the Lions was a seminal moment in Eagles history.
Quarterback Michael Vick was simply phenomenal completing 62 percent of his pass attempts for 284 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-32 win. He also rushed for 37 yards and finished with a 108.0 passer rating. Two days after that performance, head coach Andy Reid made it official that moving forward Vick would be the starting quarterback of the team.
When he reflected on that game Wednesday, Vick simply recalled how the Lions were a young team looking to make their mark.
"(It was) just a tough football game on the road against a team who was up and on the rise, a very hungry and trying to make a statement in the league," Vick said. "They've gotten better over the course of the past two years and they're going to continue to get better."
Vick leads the 3-2 Eagles into Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday to take on a Lions team that broke through and made the postseason in 2011 for the first time since 1999. However, the Lions are off to a slow start going 1-3 this season.
"Despite what their record shows, they're a good football team," Vick said. "If you look all across the board, they've got good football players over there. It's going to be a good game. It's going to be a physical game. They're going to come to play and we have to make sure we take care of things on our end."
The Eagles are coming off a tough loss to the Steelers in a game where Vick had a workmanlike performance going 20-of-30 for 175 yards with two touchdowns for a 104.2 passer rating, his best of the season. However, the game is remembered for Vick's two lost fumbles, including one at the Steelers' goal line. With 11 turnovers through five games this season, Vick expects pass rushers to be trying to strip the ball every time they get close.
"Absolutely," Vick said. "It's my responsibility to take care of the football, especially for the sake of this football team. It's something I have to get corrected. I set a goal for interceptions, now I have to set another goal. That's the least I should be worried about right now at this point in the season, but it's a situation I created for myself and I have to definitely take care of it."
The question is whether it's worth it for teams to send extra pass rushers. Overall, Vick's numbers have been solid against the blitz this season. Vick is 38-of-71 for 613 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 96.7 passer rating. But in the last two games, Vick is 20-of-29 for 253 yards with all three of those touchdowns. Seven of the team's nine pass plays of 25-or-more yards this season have come against the blitz.
"You saw it in this past game. They blitzed us on some of the plays in that long drive we had, in some cases zero blitzes where they brought everybody they could bring it, and still covered the guys who were eligible," head coach Andy Reid said. "He did well against those."
The Lions are not known for blitzing. They run the wide-nine technique up front like the Eagles do and rely on the front four to get pressure. The Lions have blitzed on 24.8 percent of pass situations on first, second or third downs this season.
Vick would not only like to take care of the football, but get off to a quick start. The Eagles' three wins this season have come courtesy of last-quarter drives.
"We just want to put ourselves in the position to win the game. We don't want to leave any stones unturned," Vick said. "Sometimes we try things in the first half that may not work. In the second half, we just kind of take it back to the basics and do something we all know how to go out and execute."
Two years after catapulting to the starting job with a win over the Lions, Vick hopes to keep the Eagles in first place heading into the bye with another stellar performance against Detroit.
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