Birds hurdle Ravens, remain undefeated
What went right and what went wrong in the Eagles’ 24-23 victory over the Ravens:
What went right
Follow the script
For the second straight week, Mike Vick erased all the bad memories with one efficient, clutch drive. Vick took the Birds on a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive with under two minutes to play in yesterday’s 24-23 win. He finished 23-of-32 for 371 yards, including a 1-yard TD run to win it in the fourth quarter. While Vick looked skiddish at times, he’s quickly establishing himself as one of the most clutch signal-callers in all of football. His 71.9-percent completion rate was his second-highest percentage as an Eagle.
Juan Castillo pushed all the right buttons and severely out-coached Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. The Eagles held the Ravens to 4-of-14 on third down and have now held their first two opponents to 22.2-percent (6-for-27) on third down. The secondary, led by Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and rookie Brandon Boykin, was especially dominant. Baltimore got the ball with enough time to score at the end of the fourth, but Boykin broke up two big plays down the field.
Andy Reid came under fire last week for letting Mike Vick throw it 56 times and refusing to run the ball early in the game. Yesterday, Reid’s run-pass ratio was right down the middle (23 passes, 21 rushes). LeSean McCoy ran 25 times for 81 yards, with rookie Bryce Brown getting three touches for seven yards. The Birds ran it almost at will despite being without two starters on the offensive line (Jason Kelce, King Dunlap), who left early due to injury.
What went wrong:
1. Turnover battle.
The Eagles are going to have to stop turning the ball over if they hope to make a Super Bowl run. Vick chucked two picks and the usually sure-handed LeSean McCoy fumbled for the second straight week. That’s nine turnovers in two weeks. “You can’t do that,” Reid said.
2. Center of attention.
Jason Kelce, the most important man on the offensive line not named Jason Peters, left yesterday’s game with a knee sprain. He’ll undergo an MRI today. The starting center makes all the calls at the line of scrimmage and helps Vick run the offense. If he’s out for an extended period — and Reid didn’t sound optimistic — that means big trouble.
3. Under review.
The replacement refs were bad again. They flagged Birds CB Nnamdi Asomugha for a ticky-tack pass interference call late in the game and nearly ended Vick’s game-winning drive, after they ruled he fumbled. Since it was under two minutes, they got a booth review and correctly ruled it an incompletion. One play later, Vick scored.