Shortly after DeSean Jackson capped off the greatest comeback in NFL history, the gravity of what the Eagles were able to accomplish began to set in. It was just the ninth time in NFL history that a team trailed by 21 points in the fourth quarter and still won the game, and the first time it's happened since 2006. Jackson's touchdown was also the only game-winning punt return as time expired in NFL history.
Sure, it was a comeback for the ages. But not one that was *completely *unexpected.
After all, the Eagles have come back to win four of their last five games, and have done so by outscoring their opponents 79-21 in the fourth quarter. A belief exists on the Eagles bench that no game is out of reach, and that no lead is insurmountable. That mindset starts with the team's leader, a quarterback who teammates say won't hesitate to put the team on his back when the time calls.
"He has the attitude like 'I'm going to score and get the job done … If you want to be with me, come with me. If not, I'm going no matter what,'" running back LeSean McCoy said of Michael Vick.
It's only fitting that as he continues to write his own remarkable comeback story, Vick has saved his best football for the fourth quarter, leading the Eagles to victory from even the most clenching jaws of defeat. Consider his last five games:
The Giants held a 17-16 lead at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 11 until Michael Vick completed 7-of-9 passes for 58 yards, setting up a 50-yard McCoy go-ahead touchdown run with under five minutes to play. Vick's fourth-quarter passer rating was 93.5 as the Eagles came back to beat the Giants 27-17.
While the Bears ultimately won the game in Week 12, Vick led the Eagles on a ferocious comeback at Soldier Field. He completed 12-of-18 passes in the fourth quarter for 144 yards and a touchdown, for a quarterback rating of 109.5. The Eagles scored 13 points in the fourth, but lost 31-26.
The Houston Texans had a 24-20 lead in the fourth quarter in a Week 13 Thursday-night tilt in Philadelphia. That is, until Vick completed 5-of-6 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in the final frame. He also ran for a touchdown as he compiled a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating in the fourth quarter. The Eagles eventually won that game 34-24.
The suddenly resurgent Dallas Cowboys held a 20-17 lead entering the fourth quarter in Week 14 from Arlington, Tx. as they looked to pull off the upset against the playoff-hopeful Eagles. While Vick only attempted five passes in the final quarter, he completed three of them for 95 yards and a touchdown for a quarterback rating of 143.7. The Eagles came back to win 30-27, and set up a first-place showdown in the Meadowlands.
Everyone knows how that game finished.
And while Jackson has received a ton of praise for his punt return, as well he should, that play would have never happened if not for a heroic fourth quarter from the Eagles quarterback. Vick completed 7-of-14 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the final 15 minutes, while adding 94 yards and a touchdown on the ground. His fourth-quarter passer rating of 128.3 doesn't even take into account his dominance on the ground. In total, Vick accounted for 245 yards of offense and three touchdowns in the Eagles' first-ever 28-point fourth quarter in franchise history.
Vick's NFC-best 113.8 quarterback rating in the fourth quarter this season is 20 points higher than the next highest NFC QB (Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman). And while it'd be nice for the Eagles to hold a lead entering the fourth, Vick has shown his teammates - and the rest of the NFL - that you can never count the Eagles out.
It might take your breath away, but everyone loves a good comeback story.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 12:00 p.m., December 21