Ravens-Eagles PreviewBy JUSTIN EINHORN
STATS Senior Editor
2012-09-12 14:21:59 -
A late game-winning drive salvaged an otherwise dreadful Week 1 for Michael Vick.
Joe Flacco was brilliant for virtually all 60 minutes.
Vick could be facing an unfriendly home crowd if his performance is much like the season opener, and Philadelphia Eagles fans would only be more temperamental if Flacco and the new-look Baltimore Ravens offense have another big game Sunday.
Limited to 12 snaps in the preseason due to injuries, Vick looked rusty last Sunday as he tied a career high with four interceptions in a 17-16 victory at Cleveland in a game many expected the Eagles to win easily. Vick had to march them 91 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:18 to play.
"The great thing about it was nobody pointed fingers," said Vick, who finished 29 of 56 for 317 yards. "Everybody just stuck together and encouraged one another."
Philadelphia fans might not have been as supportive. Many complained on Twitter and sports radio that Vick should have been pulled for rookie backup Nick Foles, who impressed in the preseason.
"I know Michael took the blame," coach Andy Reid said. "But it's not a one-man show. That's not what it is."
In fact, Reid received some blame for having Vick throw so much - his attempts were a career high - and not getting LeSean McCoy more involved early on. The Pro Bowl runner had 12 carries through three quarters, then got eight more in the fourth and finished with 110 yards.
One of the biggest knocks on Vick is he doesn't take better care of the football - or himself - after missing seven games over the past two seasons due to injuries. He fumbled twice last Sunday - neither was lost - and continued to take many hits, whether when dropping back to pass or scrambling.
"I have a responsibility to this team and that's to lead them, not to hurt them," said Vick, referencing his fourth interception, which was returned for a TD that put the Browns ahead in the fourth quarter.
While Vick emerged with the NFC's lowest passer rating, Flacco was named AFC offensive player of the week after a 44-13 rout of Cincinnati on Monday night.
Flacco finished 21 of 29 for 299 yards with two TDs and no turnovers.
"Scary good. That's probably the word right there," said coach John Harbaugh, a former Eagles assistant under Reid. "... Joe Flacco is going to be a great player. Joe Flacco is a great player. Joe Flacco has been a great player."
Baltimore debuted its new no-huddle offense, a scheme Flacco seemed to relish. He hit Torrey Smith with a 52-yard pass on the game's first offensive play and would lead the Ravens to points on all but two of their possessions, excluding a kneeldown to end the first half.
"We practiced against this offense all offseason, so to see it now, when everything is real, I think you have to take your hats off to how we worked as a team," said Ray Lewis, who had an AFC-best 14 tackles and a sack to kick off his 17th season.
"Trust me, I am pro-Joe because he has proved himself year in and year out."
Lewis led a Baltimore defense that had a solid debut under new coordinator Dean Pees despite the absence of reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs, out until at least November with a torn Achilles. The Ravens had four sacks and forced two turnovers, one a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ed Reed.
However, their once-vaunted run defense - they allowed the league's second-fewest rushing yards last season - let Cincinnati gain 129 yards on 28 carries.
The Eagles are 9-1 when McCoy rushes for 100 yards.
Philadelphia's defense also played well last Sunday but was facing a Cleveland team relying on rookies at quarterback and running back. Facing Flacco and Ray Rice, who had 68 yards and two TDs on 10 carries in Week 1, will surely be a stiffer test.
"This Philadelphia team, they came off a big win, a tight game," Flacco said. "It was a pretty crazy game, and they're going to be at their home opener, and they're going to be ready to go. It should be a lot of fun."
Baltimore beat visiting Philadelphia 36-7 in 2008 in the last matchup as Flacco threw for two TDs and Reed had a 107-yard interception return for a touchdown. The series is tied 1-1-1.
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