Vick: ‘I Gotta Get Out Of Cleveland’

On the play before Michael Vick threw the game-winning touchdown to Clay Harbor, he nearly threw his fifth interception, but Browns linebacker L.J. Fort couldn’t make the play.

Did the Eagles quarterback feel lucky the game didn’t end in a loss right there?

“Oh man, yeah. I gotta get out of Cleveland,” Vick said. “I gotta get out of Cleveland.”

In all, Vick went 29-for-56 for 317 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions in what was mostly a nightmarish outing. With 6:25 left, after the Eagles failed to put up any points for most of the second half, the offense drove 91 yards and picked up the win.

“We fought hard all game, and obviously I had plenty of throws that I would like to have back,” Vick said. “I was sort of rusty out there, but I just fought through it, and that’s all I could do. But when we scored that last touchdown, there was a sigh of relief.”

A year after throwing 14 interceptions, the focus this offseason was to cut down on turnovers. Going up against a Browns defense that finished with just nine interceptions last year (third-fewest in the league), Vick had a chance to get off to a good start. But that obviously didn’t happen.

Vick said he let the turnovers get to him, particularly the interception in the fourth quarter that Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson returned for a touchdown, giving Cleveland a 16-10 lead.

“When you throw interceptions, it’s one thing, but when you throw an interception for a touchdown, and it changes the dynamic of the game, and you look up at the scoreboard and now you’re losing, you feel a sense of dissatisfaction,” Vick said. “You look over at the sideline and you hold yourself accountable for making positive plays, and it doesn’t happen. I have a responsibility to this team, and that’s to lead them, not to hurt them. And so I was more disappointed in that than anything and just wanted another chance at it to get the ball back and try to make things right.”

Vick lasted just six snaps in each of the first two preseason games before suffering a thumb injury and then a rib injury. He didn’t get injured in this one, although he did take two sacks and 11 hits, as the offensive line turned in a shaky performance.

Last year, Vick had zero game-winning drives or fourth-quarter comebacks. In 2010, he led four fourth-quarter comebacks and three game-winning drives. It wasn’t pretty, but he and the Eagles somehow left Cleveland with a 1-0 record.

“My teammates, they all just had a sudden look in their eyes, as if they were wondering what was wrong with my attitude,” Vick said. “Why was I hanging my head? They had never seen me like that before.  But I just felt like I let them down. And it’ll never happen again, regardless of what the game dictates. But that last drive, it was just put it all together. I wasn’t going to disappoint my coaches. I wasn’t going to disappoint my teammates. Even though we had to go 90 yards for the score, whatever it took, I was going to get it done.”

Next up is a date with the Ravens at home Sunday afternoon.

“The thing I have to do is continue to get better,” Vick said. “I know I can keep the turnovers down. I just have to play within the system, and that’s what my coaches tell me all the time, not try to do too much. Sometimes I do that.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.