The Philadelphia Eagles were constantly reminded that Michael Vick couldn’t start 16 games this season. In fact, if the Eagles lost to the winless New York Giants on Oct. 6, the calls might have begun for Vick to get benched. However, those calls may be starting anyway after a win, as Vick left in time for Nick Foles to help Philadelphia save itself.
The Eagles’ 36-21 victory came on the strength of three late Eli Manning interceptions, and Foles’ ability to take advantage. Vick couldn’t build the Eagles’ lead any higher than 16-7 in the first half before he hurt his hamstring, and the Giants took the advantage and the lead in the third quarter. But when Manning started throwing picks, Foles capitalized to help Philadelphia score the final 17 points.
The ironic thing is that Vick wasn’t even hit when he hurt himself, as he tweeked his hamstring while running out of bounds. Nevertheless, he was running so gingerly that Foles came in on the second play of the Eagles’ last first half drive.
When Foles immediately marched the Eagles from their own goal line to a last-second field goal, the move seemed to work. Once the Giants rallied back and were poised to take control, it looked more questionable. Yet it was two-time Super Bowl champion Manning who crumbled in the final quarter, while a backup who’s only won once in his career stood firm.
Foles’ numbers weren’t eye catching, as he went 16-for-25 and couldn’t replace Vick’s 79 rushing yards. But he and the Eagles had no turnovers, unlike Manning and the Giants. And after Manning’s first pick, Foles ultimately delivered the play of the game on a 25-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek.
The big question now if whether Vick will be healthy enough to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 13. If he is, the bigger question will be whether the Eagles should start him anyway. Foles beat the Buccaneers for his only win last season, when Tampa Bay wasn’t winless and still had Josh Freeman, so he can certainly beat them again.
In that scenario, Vick can get extra rest to face the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 20 -- with first place improbably on the line -- if the Eagles still feel like they need him. They knew they’d have to figure that out soon, although they hoped for more than a five-week reprieve.