Eagles 33 Jaguars 32
PHILADELPHIA — All eyes were on Michael Vick — for all of six plays.
Playing his first NFL game since his release from prison, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback got a standing ovation, avoided any ugly protests and completed four passes for 19 yards.
Though his minutes were limited Thursday night, Vick was ready to take on any assignment. He played quarterback, ran the wildcat formation, even lined up at wide receiver and completed a pass right-handed.
The Eagles even won the game, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 33-32 on David Akers’ 34-yard field goal in the final minute.
Vick’s return overshadowed a somewhat sloppy effort by an Eagles team that has Super Bowl aspirations.
It was Vick and only Vick who captured fans’ attention — whether he was on the field, on the sideline or sitting on the bench.
Philadelphia coach Andy Reid didn’t wait long to use him. The three-time Pro Bowl quarterback jogged onto the field for the second play from scrimmage, lining up as a wide receiver, and got a hearty welcome from the notoriously tough Philly fans.
So much for all those protesters and anti-Vick factions.
He entered to a standing ovation from the crowd in a half-empty stadium. Later, some chanted “We want Vick!” after he left the game.
He was on the field for six plays — all in the opening 18 minutes. The results were so-so. He completed all four of his passes for 19 yards, ran for one yard and lined up in the slot for one play.
Vick hadn’t played in an NFL game since Dec. 31, 2006, with the Atlanta Falcons. He was released from federal custody July 20 after serving 18 months of a 23-month sentence for his role in running a dogfighting ring. He signed a US$1.6-million, one-year contract with the Eagles, who hold a $5.2 million option for a second season.
Though he showed little emotion at first, Vick loosened up as the game wore on and even flashed an occasional smile.
With Vick, the Eagles scored three points. Without him, they moved the ball far more efficiently.
Donovan McNabb completed 21-of-36 passes for 244 yards and one touchdown. He also threw one interception and his fumble on a backward pass was returned 92 yards for a score by Brian Iwuh.
Jaguars QB David Garrard was 8-for-14 for 93 yards and one interception while leading Jacksonville on one touchdown drive. Backup Todd Bouman also was 8-for-14 for 59 yards and one TD.
After missing a few plays, Garrard returned and tossed a three-yard pass to Nate Hughes, who fumbled at the 1 after a hard hit by Asante Samuel. Torry Holt picked up the ball and stepped into the end zone for a touchdown, giving Jacksonville a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. Hughes sustained a concussion on the play and didn’t return.