Recapping the Best and Worst of Michael Vick in Philadelphia
The Michael Vick era in Philadelphia has officially ended.
Per the team’s official website, he has agreed to a deal with the New York Jets. This reunites the 33-year-old with his former offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
Vick will likely be given every opportunity to compete for the starting job in 2014; after all, the Jets weren't wowed by rookie Geno Smith last year. He threw just 12 touchdowns to 21 interceptions, and despite a strong stretch of play in December, there's reason to believe Vick will start at some point for the '14 Jets. Rex Ryan needs to win now to save his job, and he's got a better chance of doing so with Vick than Smith.
Vick has never stayed healthy for 16 games except for 2006, and his injury history as an Eagle suggests he may be good for 10-12 games with the Jets. Philly fans won't miss seeing him on the ground with what may or may not be another injury, and he wasn't going to take time from Nick Foles anyway.
But Eagles fans won't forget an up-and-down ride with Vick over the last five years. He entered as a humbled man looking to contribute in any way possible. He peaked as an MVP candidate, spiraled downward as a turnover machine in the "Dream Team" debacle and fought his way through a handful of quarterback controversies (first Kevin Kolb, then Nick Foles).
He eventually gave way to Foles midway through '13, despite Vick being what many thought was the ideal Chip Kelly quarterback.
Recapping Vick's tenure with the Eagles is an interesting roller coaster. When he was good, he was a league MVP candidate. When he was bad, he couldn't beat the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday Night Football.
For one last time, here's a glimpse at the best and the worst of five years of Vick in Philadelphia.
Worst Game No. 5: Michael Vick Loses to Arizona’s Kevin Kolb (2012)
For some reason, Michael Vick never played well against the Arizona Cardinals. He lost in 2012 by a 27-6 score. The previous year, he lost 21-17 to John Skelton.
The ’12 game gets the nod as the worst of the two for several reasons. Vick was without DeSean Jackson (benched) for ’11, so obviously the Philadelphia Eagles receiving corps was limited. And Vick’s loss in ’12 was to Kevin Kolb, which made it difficult to watch.
Kolb completed more than 70 percent of his passes for 222 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, playing a near flawless game. Meanwhile, Vick was disastrous. He completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes. He was held to just 15 yards on the ground and didn’t lead the Eagles to any touchdowns on 11 drives.
He fumbled the ball away early in the second quarter, but it was his turnover right before halftime that sealed an ugly Eagles loss.
Down 17-0, Vick had the Eagles in position to put seven on the board right before the intermission. But he never saw a blindside blitz from Kerry Rhodes. He was hit, and he fumbled, which was taken 93 yards by safety James Sanders for a game-sealing touchdown.
Best Game No. 5: The Week 1 Near-Comeback (2010)
Michael Vick wasn’t expected to start for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010. After an offseason trade that sent longtime franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins, Vick’s role was to back up Kevin Kolb.
He was called upon early, though, as Kolb suffered a concussion against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1 and left the game. Vick entered the game with the Eagles down 13-3, and the deficit grew to 20-3 soon after.
Vick nearly brought the Eagles all the way back, looking very much like the quarterback that made the Atlanta Falcons pick him first overall in 2001. He ran for 23 yards on his first play and ended the game with a 66.7 completion percentage on 24 passes. He threw for 175 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, and he added 103 yards on 11 rushes.
He brought Philadelphia to within seven points late in the contest, and if the game had gone five quarters, there’s a good chance the Eagles would have won by two scores.
Worst Game No. 4: Final Game to Showcase His Skills (2012)
The disastrous 2012 season ended with a contest against the New York Giants. Even with the Philadelphia Eagles long out of the playoff race, a healthy Michael Vick had one more chance to come back from injury and prove that he was still worth something in the upcoming free-agent market.
Instead, he looked completely lost for 60 minutes, and the Eagles fell, 42-7.
Vick completed just 19 of 35 passes for 197 yards. He threw an interception on the first drive of the game and capped off a brutal 4-12 season for the Eagles.
Best Game No. 4: Michael Vick Beats Peyton Manning (2010)
In three tries as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Andy Reid had never been able to beat Peyton Manning. In fact, he had never come close, losing 44-17 in 1999, 35-13 in 2002 and 45-21 in 2006.
To beat Manning, Reid would need a tremendous game plan, a turnover-free performance from his quarterback and a big play from the defense. Reid did his part, Vick did his and Asante Samuel came up with a game-clinching interception of Manning to seal a 26-24 victory in the final minute.
Vick completed 17 of 29 passes for 218 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. He ran the ball 10 times for 74 yards and one score as well, and he led the Eagles to points on their first four possessions of the game.
This performance vaulted him into the MVP discussion.
Worst Game No. 3: Four Picks at Buffalo (2011)
The Philadelphia Eagles entered 2011 amid “Dream Team” expectations, and they opened the season with a resounding 31-13 win over the St. Louis Rams.
Then came losses to the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers, with the Eagles blowing fourth-quarter leads in all three games. At 1-3, Philly still could stay in the picture with a win over the Buffalo Bills, a team quarterbacked by Ryan Fitzpatrick.
But Vick tied his career high with four interceptions in that game, as the Eagles lost a close one, 31-24. The first two drives for Philadelphia ended in interceptions, and the Eagles went down 28-7 before making it a seven-point game in the final minutes. Vick’s fourth interception gave Buffalo the ball back, and Juqua Parker jumping offside clinched the game.
The game was memorable for Vick setting the career rushing record for quarterbacks, but turning the ball over four times stole the show. As a result, the Eagles dropped to 1-4.
Best Game No. 3: Michael Vick Debuts the Chip Kelly Era (2013)
Remember when many people thought Michael Vick would be the ideal quarterback to run Chip Kelly’s offense? It made sense, given his incredible skill set and ability to make plays happen with his legs.
The first drive of this Monday night contest against the Washington Redskins was one for the ages. The Philadelphia Eagles ran a hurry-up offense so fast that the Redskins had no answer. While the first drive officially ended with a long Vick fumble that was taken all the way by DeAngelo Hall, the Eagles put up 26 points and a ridiculous 53 plays on offense in that first half.
Vick ended the day, completing 60 percent of his 25 passes. He threw for 203 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, posting a 112.6 passer rating. He ran the ball nine times for an additional 54 yards. At one point, he even hustled downfield and threw a block for LeSean McCoy, which is something you don’t normally see from a 5’11” quarterback.
Worst Game No. 2: Michael Vick Against Andy Reid (2013)
The Chip Kelly era began with a resounding win over the Washington Redskins and a 31-point performance against the San Diego Chargers the following week.
The third game set the stage for Andy Reid’s return to Philadelphia as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, Reid saw the Michael Vick he had grown weary of in Philly: Vick turned the ball over four times, suffered an ankle injury (although he stayed in the game) and was sacked five times.
He completed 43.3 percent of his passes and threw a pick-six among his interceptions. And he led the Eagles to just 16 points, dropping Philly to 1-2 and 0-2 in home games.
Best Game No. 2: Miracle at the Meadowlands, Part II (2010)
It’s a close call between the Miracle at the Meadowlands (Part II) and the Monday night miracle against the Washington Redskins. While Michael Vick pulled off a comeback for the ages in this one, it doesn’t beat out the Redskins game because of how poorly Vick played for so much of this contest.
The Philadelphia Eagles squared off against the New York Giants in a Week 15 matchup that had heavy playoff implications. Both teams were 9-4, and it was likely that the winner would capture the NFC East title.
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Eagles trailed, 31-10, and the offense had been unable to generate any momentum. That’s when Vick turned in one of the most dominating performances by any quarterback in NFL history. He led three consecutive touchdown drives, throwing two and running one in, to set up DeSean Jackson’s walk-off punt return.
For the game, Vick finished with 242 passing yards and three touchdowns. His 130 rushing yards marked the fifth-best single-game total by a quarterback in history, and he had 94 of those yards in the final half of the fourth quarter. And for those seven minutes in the fourth quarter, he was the NFL’s most unstoppable player.
Worst Game No. 1: Tuesday Night Football Loss (2010)
Following the Miracle at the Meadowlands (Part II) game, the Philadelphia Eagles looked to be cruising to a division title. They had a game with the Minnesota Vikings pushed back to Tuesday because of inclement weather, and it should have been an easy win considering the Vikings were starting rookie quarterback Joe Webb.
But it was Webb who baffled the Eagles, while Vick looked largely mediocre. He threw an interception and fumbled twice, with Antoine Winfield taking one of them all the way for a score. Vick led Philadelphia to just 14 points, and it all but ended his MVP chances.
Fortunately, the Eagles still won the NFC East, as the Giants lost to the Green Bay Packers.
Best Game No. 1: The Monday Night Rout (2010)
Somewhere DeAngelo Hall is still seeing ghosts of DeSean Jackson running past him en route to an 88-yard touchdown on the game’s opening play.
Michael Vick’s night started off with an 88-yard toss to Jackson (the throw traveled 63 yards in the air). Vick then ran for a touchdown on the next drive. Next, he threw for one. Then Jerome Harrison ran it in from 50 yards out. Finally, Vick threw a tremendous pass in the corner of the end zone to Jeremy Maclin.
When the dust settled, the Eagles had scored touchdowns on their first five possessions and held a 35-0 lead early in the second quarter. The final score was 59-28, which set a Monday Night Football record for points scored.
In all, Vick accounted for six touchdowns—four passing and two rushing. He was the first player in NFL history to pass for 300 yards and four scores and rush for 50 yards and two scores in the same game.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), he completed all four of his passes that traveled more than 20 yards in the air. Those passes went for 183 yards and two touchdowns. He was credited as having been under pressure on seven different throws, and three of those went for scores.
Simply put, the Redskins had no prayer of stopping Vick, and this goes down as arguably the most dominant individual performance by a quarterback in league history.
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