Through the first 14 weeks of the 2010 NFL season, quarterback Michael Vick has emerged a legitimate MVP contender. There’s no denying that.
ESPN has Michael Vick ranked third in their MVP watch. I have Vick ranked second.
But there’s a part of Michael Vick’s season that nobody wants to acknowledge: The first half of his season was incredible. The second part of his season has been merely good.
I’ve divided Vick’s season into two parts and it’s not hard to figure out where I’ve split the first part into the second part.
The games against Green Bay, Detroit, Jacksonville, Washington, Indianapolis, and Washington make up the first part of Vick’s season.
The games against the Giants, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas make up the second part of Vick’s season.
Analyzing the First Half:
Green Bay: 16-24, 175 yards, TD, 101.9 passer rating; 11 rush, 103 yards; led Eagles to 17 points (in one half)
Detroit: 21-34, 284 yards, 2 TD, 108.0 passer rating; 8 rush, 37 yards; 2 fumbles; led Eagles to 35 points
Jacksonville:17-31, 291 yards, 3 TD, 119.2 passer rating; 4 rush, 30 yards, TD; led Eagles to 28 points
Washington: 5-7, 49 yards, 90.8 passer rating; 3 rush, 17 yards; led Eagles to 3 points (in one quarter)
Indianapolis: 17-29, 218 yards, TD, 93.8 passer rating; 10 rush, 74 yards, TD; led Eagles to 26 points
Washington: 20-28, 333 yards, 4 TD, 133.3 passer rating; 8 rush, 80 yards, 2 TD; led Eagles to 59 points
Combined: 96-153 (62.7%), 1350 yards, 8.82 YPA, 11 TD, 0 INT, 113.4 passer rating; 44 rush, 341 yards, 7.75 YPC, 4 TD; 2 fumbles; led Eagles to 168 points in 4.75 games (35.4 PPG)
In the first half of the season, Michael Vick was virtually untouchable. He didn’t turn the ball over a single time. In fact, during his four complete games and two partial games, the Eagles committed just a single turnover, and that was on Vick’s third play of the season when Eldra Buckley lost a fumble after a 10-yard reception. (That was the last time Buckley touched the ball for five games.)
He averaged an incredible 8.82 yards per pass attempt. His passer rating would be the third greatest single-season total in NFL history. He averaged 70 yards and a touchdown per game on the ground.
Oh, and he led the Eagles to more points per game than all but one team in the Super Bowl era (the 2007 New England Patriots; perhaps you’re familiar with them.)
Analyzing the Second Half:
NY Giants: 24-38, 258 yards, 83.0 passer rating; 11 rush, 34 yards, TD; 2 fumbles, 1 lost; led Eagles to 27 points
Chicago: 29-44, 333 yards, 2 TD, INT, 94.2 passer rating; 9 rush, 44 yards; 4 fumbles; led Eagles to 26 points
Houston: 22-33, 302 yards, 2 TD, INT, 103.3 passer rating; 10 rush, 48 yards, TD; 1 fumble; led Eagles to 34 points
Dallas: 16-26, 270 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 90.2 passer rating; 8 rush, 16 yards, TD; led Eagles to 30 points
Combined: 91-141 (64.5%), 1163 yards, 8.23 YPA, 6 TD, 4 INT, 92.6 passer rating; 38 rush, 142 yards, 3 TD; 7 fumbles, 1 lost; led Eagles to 117 points (29.25 PPG)
In the second half of the season, Michael Vick has been very good.
He is producing close to 300 passing yards and two touchdowns in every game.
But he has turned the ball over at least once in every game, and has fumbled nine times in four games.
Teams have learned to contain his legs (as much as Vick can be contained). He’s still collecting 30 to 40 rush yards per game, usually with a touchdown, but he’s taken a ton of hits and has become a major target for opposing defenses.
The Eagles’ offense is still scoring a lot of points, although not quite as many as in the first half of the season.
Comparing the Two Halves:
There’s absolutely no question that Michael Vick was more productive in the first half of the season.
His passing and rushing numbers were better. The Eagles scored more points. And we didn’t lose a game.
Vick’s numbers have dipped in the second half, as has Philly’s scoring. We’ve also lost a game.
But take away the monster game against the Redskins and our offense has averaged 29.06 points per game. That’s almost the exact same production as the second half of the season (a little less actually).
In the first half of the season, Vick and the Eagles didn’t face any legit defenses, with the exception of the Packers, who Vick played one half against.
The Lions have the 21st scoring defense. The Jaguars are 25th. The Redskins are 22nd. The Colts are 23rd. And back to the Redskins, who are 22nd.
But in the second half of the season, the Eagles have faced better defenses.
The Texans are 30th and the Cowboys at 31st.
But the Giants are 10th and the Bears are 3rd.
There’s also no question that the Eagles played a rejuvenated Cowboys team, as well as a Texans team on the brink of elimination.
When I began writing this article, I really didn’t think there was any way to avoid the inevitable.
Michael Vick’s production has drastically changed for the worse in the second half of the season.
But then I looked at the quality of the defenses the Eagles played and the intensity of the schedule.
Sure, Michael Vick’s numbers aren’t as good. There is no denying that.
But is it Vick’s fault that the Eagles’ defense has allowed 24 or more points in five of the last six games?
Vick didn’t allow 31 points to the Bears. He led the team to 26, which should be enough to win every NFL game.
In fact, he’s led the Eagles to at least 26 points in every single game this season.
I don’t believe Tom Brady has done that. Peyton Manning hasn’t. Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers haven’t.
When your offense is scoring, you’re winning games. Vick’s Eagles are 7-1 in his eight complete game starts.
It’s not like he’s along for the ride either. He has been the single most important offensive player in every game he has played in this season.
Vick’s slight dip in numbers is not a cause for concern.
The number of hits he takes per game? That’s a cause for concern.
But until Vick is knocked out of a game, which has been the goal of every single team facing the Eagles’ quarterback since the Giants game a month ago, there’s no reason to worry about his production.
He’s been so consistent this season this season that the offense will never be a problem for the Eagles.
Not as long as Michael Vick is quarterback.