He had just been asked the first question at his post-game press conference, but wasn’t sure how to explain what had just happened at Lincoln Financial Field: the Eagles blowing a 10-point fourth-quarter lead and losing for the third time in four games.
“I pretty much don’t know what to say,” Vick said. “I mean, we put ourselves in position to win games and we don’t finish, so it’s hard to decipher what mistakes are being made and what’s going on. This is the ultimate team game, and I can’t pinpoint what’s going on in the moment. I have to go back and watch it and assess it myself, but I think the bottom line is we had our chances to win this game.”
A little more than an hour earlier, Vick was feeling good. With 5:18 left in the fourth quarter, the Eagles faced a 3rd-and-4 from their own 30. The Lions blitzed, and Vick saw Jeremy Maclin wide open in the middle of the field. He threw a strike, and Maclin galloped 70 yards to the end zone for the touchdown. The Eagles were up 23-13, and a 4-2 record going into the bye seemed all but a certainty.
“Honestly, yeah,” Vick said, when asked if he thought the Maclin touchdown sealed the victory. “I know our football team. I know how good we are. After the touchdown to Maclin, I thought it was a great opportunity… to win the game. And before I knew it, we were in a fight, so it’s tough, it’s hard.”
In a loss like this, there’s plenty of blame to go around. The defense allowed 17 points in the fourth quarter after limiting the Lions to six in the first three. But the offense had its chances too. On their final two possessions – one with 3:32 left and another to start overtime – the Eagles went three-and-out. The opening possession of OT was a disaster as Vick took a pair of sacks on first and second downs, losing 21 yards in the process and setting the Eagles up at their own 4. After throwing the ball away on third down, Mat McBriar was forced to punt from deep in his own end zone.
Detroit’s offense had to go just 23 yards to set up the game-winning field goal.
“It’s very frustrating. I mean, that’s our shot, that’s our opportunity,” Vick said. “It changed the dynamics of the game. After the first possession, a field goal wins the game. Certain things just can’t happen. We all have to do our jobs and be accountable, and we didn’t get it done on offense.”
Overall, it was the kind of game we’ve seen time after time out of Vick. At moments, he was really good, completing 28 of 46 passes for 311 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while also picking up 59 yards on the ground as the team’s leading rusher.
At other times, he was mistake-prone, throwing two more interceptions for a total of eight in six games.
“The pass to DeSean [Jackson], I kind of laid it up, the wind caught it,” Vick said. “I could have threw it out there a little bit more. The one to Jason [Avant], just trying to make a play, and the ball got picked off.”
There was a third turnover for the Eagles that can be attributed to starting center Dallas Reynolds, who seemed to snap the ball before Vick was ready for it.
Overall, Vick was sacked three times and hit 11 times, according to the official game stats. Asked if he had enough time in the pocket, Vick said, “I do the best I can. I give everything I got, and I’m pretty sure my teammates do as well. Other than that, they wouldn’t be out there on the field.”
It was an honest answer. Reynolds spent three years on the practice squad and now is being asked to call protections, diagnose blitzes and block Pro Bowl-caliber defensive tackles. Demetress Bell wasn’t deemed good enough to suit up in Week 1 and is now protecting Vick’s front side.
After six games, you wonder if it’s a case of the offensive linemen making mistakes. Or just simply that the group is not good enough.
“I think we all just need to look in the mirror and figure out what can we all do individually to make sure that we maximize our opportunities to win football games,” Vick said. “At the end of the day, you can say whatever you want to say, but the only thing that matters is winning and losing.”
And after another loss, the Eagles are 3-3.
Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.