The last time Michael Vick played quarterback for a full half under center in a meaningful game, he was here in Philadelphia as his Atlanta Falcons lost to the Eagles in the 2006 NFC Championship Game. Tonight, four years later, Vick stepped back on that same turf and looked as though he never left.
Filling in for an injured Kevin Kolb, Vick performed admirably as he brought the team back with an efficient offensive attack. After not attempting a pass in the first half, Vick finished the game with 175 yards and a touchdown while completing 16 of his 24 attempts.
But that only accounts for half the story.
Vick carried the ball eleven times, and gained 103 yards off those attempts for a whopping 9.4 yards per run. One run, a 37-yard dash up the Packers' sideline, resulted in a first-and-goal for the Eagles and provided fans with a vintage Michael Vick highlight. Following the game, head coach Andy Reid praised Vick for his calm demeanor and effective play.
"I think Michael did a phenomenal job today," Reid said. "He brought the team back, he kept his poise, and he had some big runs, and he made some big throws. I'm happy as heck for Michael."
Reid wasn't the only one who praised Vick despite the tough loss on Sunday. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson said postgame that he was impressed by Vick's explosiveness and decision making throughout the second half.
"He was just being himself," Jackson said. "Everybody knows that he's a dynamic quarterback who can run and throw. He just let the game come to him. It's good to see him out there making plays."
Vick was a bit more critical of himself, as it was the yard he couldn't get that haunted him. With two minutes to play and no timeouts left, the Eagles needed one yard to convert on fourth down and keep their hopes alive. Vick took the snap from the shotgun and ran up the middle, meeting Packers linebacker Clay Matthews at the line of scrimmage.
"A play like that, everybody has to buckle up their chinstraps and go out and get it, including me," Vick said after the game. "If there was something I could have done to get the yard, that's what I had to do."
But that play aside, Vick said he felt more like his old self tonight than at any other point while a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. And the numbers tell a similar story. With 277 total yards against the Packers, Vick far surpassed the 181 total yards he gained all of last season. Vick told reporters following the game that it all came down to conditioning – both mental and physical.
"Well honestly I felt good when I was out there," Vick said. "I felt like I could play three or four more quarters. So that's a good thing. My legs (weren't) tired. I felt like I'm in shape, in great shape. I felt like I'm battling and that I fought and that I had the instinct and desire to win."
Whether Vick starts next week will depend on the health of Kevin Kolb. Reid stated unequivocally following the game that Kolb is the starter, if healthy. But a concussion suffered on Sunday could potentially keep Kolb out of next week's trip to Detroit.
Still, the bottom line is that an electric Michael Vick is a giant positive for the Eagles offensive moving forward.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 10:15 p.m., September 12