As Philadelphia Eagles fans, we have a tendency to panic over the smallest things.
A big example would be the way a significant portion of the fan base was convinced that middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans was a bust before he ever played in a regular season snap.
Our fears vanished when Ryans collected five tackles and displayed impressive range and quickness in the season opener against the Cleveland Browns.
But it seems to make a lot of sense for the fan base to be panicking over the performance of quarterback Michael Vick against the Browns.
Vick, to put it bluntly, was absolutely brutal. He was awful. He was a total embarrassment.
He completed 29 of 56 passes for 316 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. He took 16 hits, the most by a quarterback in the last two years. He made multiple stupid throws across his body to the middle of the field. And he came within a fumble and a dropped pass in the end zone, both on the final drive, of sending the city into absolute panic this week.
And yet the Eagles won the game.
He rallied his troops and he led his Eagles teammates to a dramatic 91-yard touchdown drive. That really could be a season-changing drive. We’ll never know, but the difference between 1-0 and 0-1 to one of the worst teams in the NFL is just monumental.
As Eagles fans, how many times are we treated to come-from-behind game-winning touchdown drives late in the fourth quarter?
It hasn’t happened since November 11, 2007, when Donovan McNabb led the Eagles back from a 22-13 fourth quarter deficit against the Washington Redskins. The game-winning touchdown came on a 57-yard screen pass to All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook with just 3:29 remaining in the game. The Eagles trailed 25-20 and led 26-25 after Westbrook’s score. Westbrook actually added another touchdown run less than a minute later, and the Eagles won 33-25.
That makes it 76 games, postseason included, since the Eagles scored the go-ahead touchdown in the final five minutes or the fourth quarter. It shouldn’t be that rare, and yet it is.
As a fan, I’m choosing to focus on the dramatics of the victory and not the drama surrounding Vick’s disappointing performance.
It happens. Every quarterback has bad games.
Last year, Vick threw four interceptions in a loss to the Buffalo Bills. The next week, he led the Eagles to a 20-0 lead and an eventual victory against the Redskins. And the following week, he helped the Eagles torch the Dallas Cowboys, 34-7, in arguably their best team performance of the season.
That’s how Vick responded to his horrible four-interception performance last season. He put it behind him, and he led the Eagles to consecutive victories. In fact, Vick led the Eagles to wins in six of his final seven starts after the Buffalo game, and the only loss came when he still led the Eagles to 24 points.
As of right now, Vick has led the Eagles to victories in five consecutive games. He has a 16-3 record since he became the Eagles’ starter when he plays the entire game, completely healthy.
He didn’t miss a single play last week or struggle to get up once despite taking more hits than Tom Brady or Peyton Manning takes in a month. In fact, he convinced me that he may play all 16 games this season.
Relax, Eagles fans. Feel confident about the victory against the Browns.
I’m not saying Vick is going to lead the Eagles to a victory against the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, I am picking the Ravens to win the game, 22-17, but that’s just because I think they’re just a better team than the Eagles.
But don’t expect Vick to throw for three or four interceptions. He’ll probably turn the ball over once or twice. A lot of quarterbacks do that against the Ravens’ defense.
But this isn’t going to be a repeat of the 2008 game against Baltimore, where Reid benched McNabb at halftime. You won’t be seeing Nick Foles at any point in this game.
Everything will be okay for the Eagles this season. Vick will likely begin playing as we all expect: not as good as he did in 2010 but better than he did in 2011. And for an Eagles team that is stacked at multiple positions, that could be good enough to compete for a Super Bowl title.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. You can follow Bryn on Twitter by clicking here and here. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.