The Eagles coach had intended to play his starters three quarters Thursday night against Cleveland. But a violent downpour late in the second quarter helped sway Reid to pull his first-teamers at halftime. With the Eagles leading 17-0, and fans heading for the exits, it really didn’t make much sense to run them back out there.
Michael Vick was vastly improved from last week’s three-interception performance. He went 10-of-18 for 98 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown run. The quarterback high-fived Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor as he trotted off the field.
“It was great to be able to get back out there with the guys and play two full quarters and play with a different mindset,” Vick said. “We went into this game knowing that we were going to play at least three quarters and we wanted to put on a good performance.”
If there was one negative, it was that Vick didn’t connect with a wide receiver until the 5:45 mark — Jason Avant, on a 14-yard completion — of the second quarter. Part of that was the result of some very shaky offensive line play early. Even though he wouldn’t admit it, Vick seemed to be running for his life in the first quarter.
“The offensive line did well,” Vick said. “I’m proud of those guys, we can always improve starting with me.”
Rookie center Jason Kelce was especially erratic. He gave up a 14-yard sack, then was flagged 10 yards for offensive holding and provided the lead blocks on Ronnie Brown’s 13-yard TD run. Fellow rookie Danny Watkins was also inconsistent as he was pushed around and driven back on several plays.
LeSean McCoy, the lone bright spot against Pittsburgh, continued to see his star rise. The running back accounted for 81 total yards, including seven catches for 69 yards. McCoy also did a Brian Westbrook impression, lining up in the left slot and going across the middle — uncovered — for a 15-yard gain. McCoy was open quite a bit on dink-and-dunk plays, and he took full advantage.
“You can’t be a greedy offense. Sometimes you need to take what the defense is giving you,” McCoy said. “They gave us some stuff underneath and we took that. I think as we get more into game-planning and scouting, we’ll have more room for different things.”