Raanan Review: Michael Vick in the Clutch

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

By Jordan Raanan, XFINITY Sports NFL Columnist and Bleeding Green Contributor

As Jason B said in his power rankings, "There's been a lot of talk about what the Eagles have done wrong this season, but what about what they've done right?" Same can be said of Michael Vick.

There's the nine turnovers. There's a completion percentage (56.8), sack total (11) and QB rating (72.7) that conjure memories of Mike McMahon. There's also the three come-from-behind game-winning drives late in the fourth quarter.

That just can't be overlooked. With the game on the line and pressure at its highest, Vick is 13-of-18 passing (72%) for 113 yards and a touchdown. He has six rushes for 46 yards (33% of his season total) and a touchdown. And he has three wins to his name. (Let's be honest, right or wrong, at the end of the day quarterbacks are judged by their W-L record.)

Against the Giants on Sunday night, all the Eagles needed was a field goal to take the lead. Vick got them that with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that left Eli Manning with less than two minutes on the clock and no timeouts.

Let's take a look at how well Vick played on the drive:

Play 1: The Giants sent five and center Dallas Reynolds did an excellent job picking up the blitzer. Vick calmly completed a 19-yard pass to DeSean Jackson on the left side.

Play 4: After two runs to the right that netted 19 yards the Giants only sent four and Vick completed a quickly released 7-yard strike to Jeremy Maclin on the left side.

Play 6: After a LeSean McCoy 1-yard run, the Giants again sent four and the offensive line did a nice job. Vick made a quick decision and scampered for 13 yards and a first down.

Play 7: The Giants again sent only four and Vick found Celek underneath for a solid 8-yard gain on the left side.

Play 11: Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg called for Vick to rollout left on 3rd-and-goal with specific instructions to go down if there wasn't a wide open lane to run or uncovered wide receiver. Vick did just that and smartly took the sack as the Eagles settled for a chip-shot field goal.

Five plays, five solid decisions. Give credit where credit is due, Vick has been cool and calm under pressure. He now has three game-winning drives this season and six in two-plus years as the Eagles starting quarterback.

Just as a reference point, Donovan McNabb led 10 game-winning drives in his last six seasons with the Eagles. Vick should be close to that number by the end of his third year.

Other Notable Observations:

  • Fletcher Cox is attracting attention of opposing teams. The rookie defensive tackle was double-teamed on 10 of the 43 defensive snaps he was on the field. Remember, this is an Eagles defense with two starting Pro Bowl defensive ends that attract plenty of attention. Like the rest of his defensive linemen, Cox excels as a pass rusher. He forced a throwaway, had excellent pressure and push on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's interception, hit Eli Manning twice and dominated on the final drive as the Giants looked for the winning score. The first-round pick looks like a rising star.
  • Left tackle Demetress Bell appears to be getting more comfortable in the Eagles offense. After a rough start Sunday night, he played a strong second half. I charted all 69 offensive snaps and had him with seven negative plays. Five of those plays came in the first half. That's not bad considering Bell spent most of the game matched against Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora. Bell had help on 12 of the 37 called pass plays. In comparison, right tackle Todd Herremans had 10 negative plays and was helped on seven of the 37 called pass plays.
  • Stanley Havili easily had his best game of the season. His run blocking was stellar. Still, the Eagles starting fullback played 28 of the 69 offensive snaps (48%).

Jordan Raanan has covered the NFL since 2005. Follow him on Twitter @JordanRaanan, on Facebook or email him at jraanan@hotmail.com.

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