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For those who elected to stay up late on Sunday for Sunday Night Football, the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons put on a show for you. The teams scored 66 points between them, Michael Vick's concussion ushered in the (likely brief, but thoroughly entertaining) Mike Kafka era, both teams turned the ball over and the Falcons' skill players put up big numbers. For those who didn't get to see the game on Sunday night, or for those who just want to relive it, here are the video highlights.
In case you were wondering if Tony Gonzalez has gotten old yet or if a 250 pound man can maintain the nickname "The Burner", the answers to those questions are, respectably, "no" and "yes". Gonzalez and Michael Turner's big plays were the ultimate deciding factor for the Falcons as they put on great performances.
Kafka was fantastic in relief of Vick, but Jeremy Macklin's fourth down drop ended the game for the Eagles. This is not a good way to build confidence in a young quarterback who very well might be starting in Week 3.
Both teams are now 1-1 on the season after the Falcons' win.
Matt Ryan returned to the Georgia Dome on Sunday and suddenly found his groove after a rough first week. Of course, the prevailing sentiment will continue to be Ryan is unflappable, and nearly unbeatable, at home. And on Sunday night, as the Atlanta Falcons faced the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryan looked every like a force, playing in the comfort of his home stadium while leading his team to a 35-31 win.
But take the home and away out of the equation. It's a fun storyline, to be clear, but has also been beat into the ground. Ryan wasn't perfect by any means, throwing two interceptions while completing 17 of 28 passes for 195 yards. It was far from a perfect stat line, but he did throw four touchdowns, helping the Falcons come back to down the Eagles.
Ryan benefited from superb play by Tony Gonzalez, who caught two touchdown passes and was a force in the passing game all night. Michael Turner also provided ground support, rushing for 114 yards and a touchdown that turned out to be the winning one.
So yes, Ryan was solid at home. But it was Gonzalez who helped unlock the Eagles defense. The Philadelphia secondary is strong, as we know by now, and has the ability to take receivers -- plural -- out of the game with lockdown corners.
Gonzalez was the outlet, and by far the leading receiver for the Falcons, as the Eagles locked down the outside. And thus, the mismatch. It's why he's still one of the best in the game.
Michael Vick made his return to Atlanta as a starter on Sunday night, and for three quarters it looked like his Philadelphia Eagles were on their way to victory. But suddenly everything turned, leaving Vick on the sidelines and Mike Kafka, the unlikeliest of quarterbacks, in the huddle for the Eagles.
Vick's injury didn't directly result in a Falcons win -- Atlanta made its own breaks and earned the victory with a strong fourth quarter. But Vick was the story, for better or worse. And it was an interesting story regardless of the outcome.
Scanning the crowd, the Vick jerseys were easy to spot, with large amount of fans sporting the the number 7, either in Falcons or Eagles colors. Yes, there was even at least one person who decided to burn a Vick jersey before the game. Watching how the fans reacted to Vick added intrigue to the high-powered matchup on the field.
While Vick led the Philadelphia offense, Falcons fans booed and cheered against him, even letting him hear it as he left for the locker room. But it was clear he still held a place in Atlanta sports fandom. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to see the game out, suffering a concussion in the third quarter that kept him from finishing the game.
As Vick was attended to in the locker room, Atlanta's new franchise quarterback went to work and took advantage. Matt Ryan found Ovie Mughelli for a one-yard touchdown in the fourth, then led the Falcons on the game-winning drive, capped by a three-yard Michael Turner run. The Atlanta defense held on down the stretch, squashing the Eagles' hopes by batting down a last-second heave to preserve a 35-31 win.
Vick's return was far from a movie script or story book, but the actual football -- regardless of the side stories -- kept fans entertained throughout the night.
via Bubba Prog
And then later, after the Falcons sealed the win...*
Picture was not from Sunday night, but it works so well here.
Michael Vick's injury was shrouded in a bit of secrecy after he left the field abruptly in the third quarter of the Philadelphia Eagles' matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. We weren't sure what, exactly, was ailing him, but it didn't look good. Vick was seen spitting up blood on the sidelines, and generally looked dazed before heading to the locker room.
Though the initial reports said Vick had a neck injury, Eagles head coach Andy Reid told reporters it was a concussion that knocked his star quarterback out of the game. Vick never did return from the locker room, where he was reportedly undergoing further tests.
While a concussion is never good, and can be a tricky injury, it is better news than a possible neck injury. It's unknown how long Vick will be out, and the timetable will depend on when he passes his concussion tests, administered by the training staff to diagnose whether a player is over their symptoms.
The Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday Night Football, 35-31, but they lost more than just the game. Michael Vick left the game in the third quarter with what appears to be a neck injury right now. After he left, LeSean McCoy put the ball into the end zone for a 31-21 lead. Would Vick have been able to put more points on the board had he not been injured?
We can't answer that question, but we did see the NFL debut of Mike Kafka. The second-year quarterback went 2-of-2 for 7-of-9 for 72 yards. On the Eagles' last drive, Kafka hit Jeremy Maclin for a 43-yard gain and a spot in Falcons' territory. The Eagles came as close as the 21-yard line, but Kafka was unable to advance beyond that. On 4th-and-4, Kafka threw a pass right to Maclin, who wound up dropping the ball.
The Falcons ran down the clock, but did need to punt the ball. Kafka's last throw was a deep one to the end zone, but it too fell short. It was a victory for Matt Ryan, who threw four touchdown passes. Michael Turner piled up 114 yards on the ground to help in the win.
Chris Collinsworth is still trying to grasp how this whole “football game” thing works (via Matt Sussman).
“Are we ever going to have a game that doesn’t end on the final play?”
I sure as hell hope not. If we do, it probably means something has gone very wrong.
Neither the Philadelphia Eagles nor the Atlanta Falcons want to give ground in this game. Down by three in the fourth quarter, the Falcons are looking to take advantage of an Eagles team that is without Michael Vick. Running back Michael Turner is doing his best to help the Falcons out.
Turner's first rushing touchdown of the game has put the Falcons back in the league, 35-31. His biggest play of the game came on a 61-yard run from his own 13-yard line. This set up a series of plays that resulted in a three-yard touchdown run by Turner.
The Falcons have been in the red zone five times this game and have put the ball in the end zone for a touchdown each time. This game is far from over, though.
The Philadelphia Eagles are without star quarterback Michael Vick after he left the game with a neck injury, but they are leading in the fourth quarter, 31-28. After Vick left the game following a crushing hit and then fall into his own blocker, Mike Kafka took over the Eagles offense. LeSean McCoy paced the offense on the rest of the drive and came up with a two-yard touchdown run.
However, the Falcons aren't going down without a fight. Matt Ryan was banged up on the next drive when he wound up tackled to the ground while doing a split. However, Ryan shook it off and remained in the game. As it turned out, Ryan kept matriculating the ball down the field and almost found Tony Gonzalez for the tight end's third touchdown of the game. Instead, Ryan found Ovie Mughelli for the touchdown and the 31-28 score.
Michael Vick's injury, for now, has been deemed a neck injury by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was taken back to the locker room after falling into his own offensive lineman midway through the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons. NBC's Michelle Tafoya reports that Vick suffered a neck injury a few minutes later.
Vick immediately left the game after the hit. The NBC cameras caught Vick spitting up blood after the play, which raised many alarm bells. However, Tafoya reports that is only because he bit his tongue on the way down.
The Eagles were able to score on their first few drives after Vick's injury on a LeSean McCoy touchdown that made the score 31-21, but the Falcons are driving to get back into the game.
Michael Vick walked off the field to head to the locker room on Sunday night after taking a hard hit during the third quarter of the Philadelphia Eagles' matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. He was seen spitting up blood on the sidelines, and looked out of it after taking a blow to the head from one of his own linemen while going to the ground after throwing a pass. He just didn't look right on the sidelines after the hit, which knocked him out of the game.
But that didn't stop Vick from reminding the fans, who were showering him with boos as he walked off the field, what the score was.
The last thing the Philadelphia Eagles wanted to see in this game was Michael Vick leave the game, but that's what happened late in the third quarter. Vick made a short pass to Jeremy Maclin, but took a hit from a Falcons defender. Before going down to the ground, Vick also hit into one of his blockers, Todd Herremans.
He was slow to get up, but he was able to walk off the field. However, he did labor to come off the field. On the sidelines Vick was seen spitting up blood. After a few minutes he left the sidelines and went to the locker room.
With Vince Young inactive for this game, the Eagles were forced to put Mike Kafka in for relief. This was Kafka's debut NFL debut. The Eagles lead, 31-21, in the third quarter.
The offenses for both the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles are full gear during the second half, but the latter is the hot one at the moment. After Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez connected for a second touchdown, Michael Vick answered right back with a 36-yard strike to Jeremy Maclin, cutting the Falcons' lead to 21-17.
If anyone thought that Matt Ryan would answer right back, that would have been wrong. Ryan threw a deep pass to rookie Julio Jones, but Asante Samuel was in the right place at the right time and intercepted the pass. Replay could not disprove the interception, so the play stood.
LeSean McCoy completed the short field by running eight yards into the end zone for his first touchdown of the game. The Eagles took control again with a 24-21 lead.
Tony Gonzalez might be good at this whole football thing. On Sunday night, Gonzalez showed why he's still one of the best tight ends around, snaring a Matt Ryan's pass in the back of the end zone with one hand while falling to the ground. It was acrobatic, athletic and impressive to watch. Then again, Gonzalez has done this countless times over his career, so we should probably expect it by now.
Here's the catch, which was upheld on further review. He just barely controlled the ball while dragging his feet for the touchdown.
On the night, Gonzalez has four catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns, leading all Atlanta receivers. In fact, Gonzalez has been the main source of scoring offense thus far. Thanks to his efforts, the Falcons hold a 21-17 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles in Michael Vick's return to Atlanta.
For more on the game, check out our Sunday Night Football StoryStream.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez had the last score of the first half when he made a nimble reception in the back of the end zone for a score. He then started the scoring in the second half of the game with a 17-yard grab just a couple minutes into the game. The Falcons lead the Eagles, 21-10.
The Falcons were in position to make that score because of Michael Vick's poor throw. After the Falcons punted on their opening drive of the second half, Vick lined up in shotgun formation and directed his pass to Jason Avant. However unfortunate for him, the Falcons' Kelvin Hayden stepped in front of the ball and took control of it for a two-yard gain.
That led to Matt Ryan making a short pass to Michael Turner for 17 yards before he found Gonzalez for the touchdown.
The Atlanta Falcons lead Philadelphia at halftime, 14-10, but the Eagles might have been in the lead still had Michael Vick not fumbled the ball. At Atlanta's four-yard line, Vick was about to hand off the ball, but Falcons defensive tackle Peria Jerry forced the ball out of Vick's hand. Ray Edwards picks the ball up and brought it to Philly's 24-yard line for a 64-yard gain.
Matt Ryan and Tony Gonzalez hooked up for a 14-yard gain to start the drive, but they would also come back together to finish the drive. Ryan completed a four-yard pass to Gonzalez in the end zone, but a review from the booth was necessary. The booth confirmed the original call that upheld the touchdown. Gonzalez pressed the ball between his right hand and his chest while he dragged his first across the end zone before going out of bounds.
It doesn't matter that this happened during the pregame and without pads: Julio Jones can flat get up. This gives "jump ball" a new definition.
Just throw it up to him. Don't bother with anything else, just throw it up high and watch him work. For our own entertainment.
The Philadelphia Eagles don't want to be left out of the scoring, especially after the Falcons had just scored a touchdown. Michael Vick answered with two scoring drives for the Eagles. The first ended with a short five-yard pass to a wide-open Jeremy Maclin in the end zone and the second saw a field goal, putting the Eagles in the lead, 10-7.
Vick and Maclin started the drive with a quick 20-yard gain, moving the team to its own 36-yard line. Ronnie Brown and LeSean McCoy split carries on the drive, eventually because the latter left to have his left hand checked out. By the time the Eagles were eight yards away from the Falcons' end zone, the drive stalled. However, on third down, defensive end John Abraham lined up in the neutral zone on a play that otherwise would have ended on an incomplete pass to DeSean Jackson. Two plays later, Vick and Maclin ended the drive with the touchdown play.
On the second scoring drive, Vick found Jason Avant for a 29-yard pass and Brent Celek for three yards, placing the ball three yards out. However, the Eagles had to settle for an Alex Henery 22-yard field goal for the three-point lead.
The Philadelphia Eagles were unable to mount anything on their second drive, going three-and-out at their own 21-yard line. The Falcons' Eric Weems fielded the punt at his own 43-yard line and ran it back for 19 yards, reaching the Eagles' 38-yard line.
Matt Ryan started the drive with consecutive completions, including a 15-yarder to Tony Gonzalez. The offense then turned to Michael Turner to pound the ball, which he did on a nine-yard run to reach the 10-yard line. He picked up six on the next run, which ended with a Cullen Jenkins personal foul penalty. The ball was now half the distance to the goal line, just two yards away.
Turner was unable to punch it on the next play, so Matt Ryan took the snap in the shotgun and found Roddy White at the back of the end zone. White had to use some fancy footwork to get both feet down and then keep his body in bounds with possession of the ball. The Falcons took a 7-0 lead.
Michael Vick and the Philadelphia attempted a bit of trickery on the opening drive of the game, and while it worked, that drive ultimately failed. Receiver Jeremy Maclin lined up behind the center and received the snap. He flipped it over to Vick, who scanned the field and then took the ball for a seven-yard run. However, LeSean McCoy was unable to pick up the first down on the following two runs, forcing a punt.
The Falcons had a promising drive with Michael Turner picking up 26 yards on five carries. His first two runs gained 23 yards. Matt Ryan had a nice 15-yard pass to rookie Julio Jones, but a few plays later Ryan got to know Eagles defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins well on a sack for a loss of seven yards.
The Eagles and the Falcons are scoreless midway through the first quarter.
Fine, we can understand calling it The Ohio State University. But was it really necessary for Ovie Mughelli to proudly announce he was from The Wake Forest University? Were we going to confuse it with some other Wake Forest University?
At least Tony Gonzalez got a little creative and went all Ron Burgundy, announcing his name in the form of a question. “I’m Tony Gonzalez?”
That's enough! I have had it with these motherf'n Eagles in this motherf'n Georgia Dome.
A potential preview for the NFC Championship game, the Eagles continue their tour of outdated domes with a trip to Atlanta for a prime time game against the Falcons. MIchael Vick has been back here once before since returning to the NFL, but this time he is front and center for the Eagles.
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