Vick’s Take On the Game-Changing Fumble

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick.There were plenty of miscues for the Eagles in their 27-6 loss to the Cardinals, but the game-changer was aMichael Vickfumble at the end of the first that was returned 93 yards for a touchdown.

Down 17-0, the Eagles set up at the Cardinals’ 1-yard-line, facing a 3rd-and-goal with six seconds left before halftime.Andy Reiddecided to trust his quarterback and run one final play. The thought process was simple: Get rid of the ball quickly, even if there’s no one open. Worst-case scenario, kick the field goal and go into the half down 17-3.

Obviously, the worst-case scenario turned out to be quite different. Safety Kerry Rhodes blitzed Vick from his front side, sacked him and forced a fumble, which James Sanders returned for the score, putting the Cardinals up, 24-0.

“It was a situation where I should have been looking to get the ball out of my hands if things weren’t there,” Vick said. “I tried to hold on to it, make a play and just took a hit.”

The Cardinals showed six defenders at the line of scrimmage on the play. The Eagles had three receivers split out wide. Brent Celek started on the line outside Todd Herremans. And LeSean McCoy was directly behind Vick.

Vick took the snap, took a three-step drop and got crushed. McCoy moved to his right, looking for a defender to block. Rhodes came unblocked from the other side.

“I knew he was coming and was just hoping that the back would pick him up, but still trying to make a play,” Vick said. “That’s my responsibility. I’ve got to get that taken care of in the protection schemes, especially with a new center, and just got to play better.”

It’s difficult to say without knowing what the protection call was for McCoy who exactly was at fault. Vick said he knew Rhodes was coming, but watching the replay, it’s clear he thought the Eagles had the safety blocked.

Overall, it was another tough outing against the Cardinals for Vick. He completed just 17 of 37 passes for 217 yards and lost a pair of fumbles. There were several issues with protection, but even when Vick had time, he either couldn’t find a receiver or was hesitant to pull the trigger.

“They played some good coverage,” Vick said. “They played a lot of zone, did some good things on the back end and took away our deep threat. I give a lot of credit to them. They played a great game, and they beat us.”

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

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