Michael Vick was stifled by the Bears cover 2 and single safety high coverages on Monday night, posting an Eagles career low 5.6 yards per passing attempt and despite great field position failed to orchestrate a final game winning drive.
On the Eagles final play Monday night against the Bears Michael Vick surveyed the field and found Jeremy Maclin in the right flat and nearly floated the ball over his head, but Maclin hauled it in off balance and fell one yard short of a first down on third and ten . Had Vick hit Maclin in stride, he likely would have been able to make the catch and gain the necessary 10 yards for a first down.
That play may as well be a microcosm for the Eagles and Vick’s season.
Good, but just not quite good enough to compete.
The Eagles continue to find new ways to lose games, and on Monday dropped to 3-5 thanks to a 30-24 loss to the Bears at Lincoln FInancial Field. Vick’s play left much to be desired against a Bears team that is now 5-0 against him as a starter, but head coach Andy Reid did his quarterback no favors with the game plan he put in place against Chicago.
Despite the Eagles being 2-0 in their last two games after giving LeSean McCoy 58 combined carries, they came out throwing early and often against Chicago. Vick finished just 21-38 for 213 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception.
Vick’s interception came at the worst possible time and was one of his poorest decisions as an Eagle. In the second quarter with the Eagles trailing 7-0 and driving into the red zone, Vick dropped back with plenty of time and un pressured by the Bears before forcing a pass intended for DeSean Jackson into triple coverage in the middle of the field for an interception.
Eight plays later the Bears led 10-0.
“I don’t know what it is,” Vick said of what Chicago has done so well against him during his career. “They did some things differently that we didn’t expect. I think for the most part, we were able to handle it. But they played good sound defense and they were able to keep me contained. The linebackers were pretty good and made the plays that they needed to make and we didn’t make enough.”
Chicago played a lot of mixed coverages alternating between single safety high and a deep cover two, which left Vick perplexed and looking more like the former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons than the quarterback who dissected the Cowboys with precision like efficiency in week 8. On the game’s penultimate play Brent Celek was open in the right flat, Jason Avant was in the clear 15 yards downfield along the left sideline but instead forced an incompletion to Maclin who was tightly covered.
Earlier, in the third quarter one play before LeSean McCoy dashed 33 yards for a touchdown, Vick scrambled for eight yards, but never saw a streaking DeSean Jackson who had beaten his man by two steps and gaining separation near the end zone against a single safety high coverage.
“They played some different coverages other than what we thought,” Vick said. “We thought they were going to come out and play us a little differently. It didn’t affect us at all. It was just some plays that we missed out on that I know I could have made that we didn’t make. I wish I could do it all over again, but I can’t.”
Vick finished with just 5.6 yards per attempt on Monday night, representing his lowest since taking over the starting job last season.
While Vick’s performance left much to be desired against a defense that has given him fits his entire career, Andy Reid’s game plan did him no favors.
Despite handing the ball to LeSean McCoy a combined 58 times the last two weeks and dictating the pace of the game in the process, Shady had just 16 carries against Chicago. It isn’t as if the Bears were containing him as McCoy still finished with a 4.4 yards per carry average, and yet Reid insisted on throwing the ball despite Vick’s struggles against the Bears and their cover two.
Reid’s departure from the run game is troubling, in addition to Vick’s 38 passing attempts, he scrambled an additional five times. That means that the Eagles called for a 43 to 16 pass to run ratio. Keep in mind that Vick is 0-9-1 in his career when he throws the ball 40 or more times, with three of those losses coming in midnight green.
Still, despite Number seven’s struggles the Eagles began the final drive of the game with four minutes to go on the 37 yard line and were unable to put together a drive to win the game. This with the heroics of Eli Manning leading the Giants on a game winning drive with under two minutes to play in Foxboro against the Patriots fresh on the mind from Sunday.
Unlike Manning and the Giants, Vick and the Eagles were feeble on their final drive Monday.
Clearly the weight of this loss falls on the shoulders of Andy Reid for a game plan ill suited for his quarterback’s deficiencies against a defense that has plagued him his entire career, and on Vick for failing to execute in some of the game’s most important moments.
Somehow the Eagles squander games on a near weekly basis. They’ve now led in the fourth quarter of every home game this season and are just 1-3 at Lincoln Financial Field.
After the loss the Eagles find themselves in the unenviable position of being 3-5, trailing the New York Giants by three games in the NFC East having lost to them earlier this season and now losing games in the wild card race against both the Falcons and Bears who look like playoff contenders.
If the Eagles are not already eliminated from playoff contention, then they likely soon will be because it appears that anything short of winning seven of eight to finish the season will result in the Birds being on the outside looking in.
Perhaps at this point, the Birds will settle for being good, but not quite good enough to compete.
Here is the audio from Vick’s after-game press conference:
Vick Part 1:
Vick Part 2: