The 30 Most Memorable Moments of the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles Season, #14: Michael Vick Knocked Out in Consecutive Games

By Bryn Swartz

Michael Vick was pretty much the complete quarterback during the 2010 season, when he revived his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He threw for 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions, posted the first triple-digit passer rating of his career, and rushed for 676 yards and nine touchdowns.

The only problem?

He missed three (and three quarters) games with a pair of broken ribs. He also likely would have missed the season finale against the Cowboys with a right thigh injury suffered in week 16 against Minnesota, but the Eagles rested their starters and Kevin Kolb started.

And that’s typical of Michael Vick, whose playing style leaves him subject to injuries and plenty of big hits from linebackers and safeties.

Vick’s health was the biggest concern for the Eagles heading into the 2011 season.

And it got ugly pretty fast.

Vick played all of week one against the St. Louis Rams, leading the Eagles to an impressive 31-13 victory. He led the Eagles into a big Monday Night game against his old team, the Atlanta Falcons, in week two, a game that could easily have playoff implications.

The Eagles took a 24-21 lead but Vick was knocked out of the game late in the third quarter when Falcons’ safety tackled Vick after a pass, causing Vick’s head to slam into the back of tackle Todd Herremans.

Vick left the game and would not return. The Eagles inserted third-string quarterback Mike Kafka into the game because backup Vince Young still had a sore hamstring from preseason. It was Kafka’s NFL debut, and he led the Eagles to a quick touchdown, giving them a 10-point lead heading into the final quarter.

But the Falcons used two long touchdown drives, highlighted by a 61-yard Michael Turner run, to take a 35-31 lead.

The Eagles had a final chance to win the game late in the fourth. Kafka had the Eagles moving when he hit Jeremy Maclin on a deep pass to get the Eagles across midfield. But the drive ended when Maclin dropped a perfectly thrown pass from Kafka on 4th and 4 with 1:45 remaining in the game.

It spoiled a 13-catch, 171-yard, two-touchdown performance from Maclin, easily the best game of his career.

Vick’s status for the Eagles’ home opener against the Giants next week was up in the air all week, due to his concussion, but he somehow managed to play.

It was deju vu, or should I say deja blue, all over again. The Eagles had a 16-14 lead before Vick was knocked out of the game when his hand collided with the helmet of Giants’ defensive end Chris Canty. He was replaced by Mike Kafka, again, who never even got the Eagles close to scoring again.

Kafka threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter, Victor Cruz went wild on the Eagles, and the Giants held on for a big 29-16 victory.

Vick was diagnosed with a broken right hand after the game, but again, he incredibly healed and managed to play the next week against the San Francisco 49ers. It also helped that his hand had been misdiagnosed and it was just badly bruised instead of broken.

Vick would later break his ribs, just like 2010, and miss three games with injuries, just like 2010. The Eagles lose two of those three games, and ended up missing the playoffs by just a single game. That’s five games Vick was unable to finish in 2011 because of injuries.

I think the Eagles would have beaten Atlanta and lost to the Giants had he not been hurt.

Do the math. That’s a playoff berth, and no Super Bowl title for the Giants.

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