PITTSBURGH -- As he again stood at the podium answering questions about a game in which he again 1) Turned the ball over too many times; and, 2) Led a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that gave the Eagles the points to take a lead, quarterback Michael Vick chose a positive approach, and offered an answer that pretty much sums up his performance through five games of this 2012 season.
"I wish I could tell you, but I don't have an explanation," he said.
The Eagles lost 16-14 in Pittsburgh as Shaun Suisham's 34-yard field goal on the final play of the game sailed through the uprights, but the story of the day was a missed chance to win a crucial game on the road against a team that was ripe to be defeated.
Vick fumbled three times in the game and lost two of them, one early in the fourth quarter that was dislodged on a nice hit from safety Ryan Clark and bounced into the end zone, recovered by Steelers linebacker Larry Foote.
That missed opportunity -- Vick ran a quarterback draw on third and goal from the 3-yard line -- came back to haunt the Eagles, who could not preserve a sliver of a lead in the final minutes of the game for the fourth time in five weeks.
Vick now has turned the ball over a staggering 11 times, including 5 fumbles. His giveaways on Sunday marred an otherwise strong performance -- he completed 20 of 30 passes for 175 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and compiled a passer rating of 104.2.
"In the game of football you can't be perfect on every play. You're not going to do everything right," said Vick. "If that was the case, I'd be standing here with a different set of emotions."
In the previous Sunday's win over the Giants, Vick didn't turn the ball over a single time and the Eagles won. Against the Steelers, the Eagles lost the turnover battle and the botched play at the 1-yard line was crushing.
"I wish I could take the fumble back on the goal line, but you can't," he said. "Ultimately, I think we put ourselves in position to win this game and we didn't win. That's how it goes in the NFL. You wish you could have some plays back. There are plenty of plays I wish I could have back through the course of the season, but I can't.
"I've got to do a better job of protecting the football."
Vick described his feelings as "hurt," rather than frustrated. He wanted to focus on the positiives of coming back and taking a lead in Pittsburgh and using that as a springboard into Sunday's game against Detroit.
The Eagles scored on drives of 80 and 79 yards, the latter of which consumed 17 plays and 8 minutes, 15 seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter. The offense converted twice on fourth-and-1 plays as LeSean McCoy fought his way for the first downs, and finished off the drive on a pretty Vick pass to tight end Brent Celek.
Other than those drives, though, the offense struggled. In all, the Eagles compiled just 246 total net yards and 19 first downs and the 5.1-yard-per-pass-play number was far below the team's goal.
More than anything, the giveaways were against the theme of the day. The Eagles gave away the football and ultimately gave away the game.
"I'm pretty sure teams are going to try to take the ball away from us. They've been trying all year and we're giving it away too much, and committing too many penalties," said right tackle Todd Herremans. "We have to be a lot better."
Said wide receiver Jason Avant: "It's not just one player. It's all of us, and we have to realize how important it is to take care of the football on every play and commit ourselves to that."
The turnovers may be on the whole team, but nobody felt the sting on Sunday more than Vick. A very winnable game slipped away because of many things, including the early turnovers.
"This one is gonna burn for a minute," he said. "I've never really had a problem fumbling the football. It was just one of those days. Everything happens for a reason. It was meant to be."
Hopefully, from this point moving on, the turnovers will halt and the Eagles will win and Vick won't have to answer questions that he just doesn't have the answers for right now."