Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews celebrates after the Packers' defense stopped Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick on fourth down in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette
COACH MIKE MCCARTHY ON OFFENSE'S STRUGGLES:“I’m the offensive coach, so it’s never in sync enough. I thought we had spurts that we played the way we feel we can play. I wasn’t particularly happy with the third-down production in the fourth quarter when we needed to extend drives. I felt Brandon Jackson came in and did a good job, particularly with the run blocking unit in the second half with his opportunities. But we have to extend series, especially at that particular time, our defense was on the field way too much in the second half. We’re short defensive linemen, we’re playing against a very mobile quarterback, that was a tough, gutty performance by our football team. I thought our special teams played excellent, that was a major emphasis going into the game. We have a lot of respect for (Eagles special teams coach) Bobby April and the job he does over there on special teams. Feel very fortunate and pleased, we came in here to win, we also wanted to grow as a football team. There’s plenty in the film to look at and correct and get ready for Buffalo.”
MCCARTHY ON FOURTH-DOWN STOP:“That’s a tough call, especially when he goes to the (shot)gun, because he can still run the traditional quarterback sneak, or he has the ability to bounce the play to the edge. Now your short-yardage defense takes on different characteristics, we went with a sub-defense sneak defense. It was an excellent job of the front line holding their gaps and not letting him penetrate. Obviously biggest play in the game.”
MCCARTHY ON QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS:“We’ll look at the film. He had the (second) interception that slipped away, didn’t have a real good view of the first one down the middle that was tipped. The second one the ball slips out of his hand, he has Donald Driver open there on the B-line route. I’m sure there’s some decisions he wishes he had back. We tried to get into a rhythm with the quick passing game early and some seven-man protection early, we did not get off to a good start. But we still were able to generate 27 points. It’s definitely a performance we’ll build off and improve on.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR DOM CAPERS:“I like being able to go on the road in an environment like this against a good team that’s very explosive, (that) gives you a lot of things to prepare for, the ‘Wildcat, (Vick) as their quarterback, we saw a lot of those things in the first half. The game plan was totally different in the second half when he was in there, so it was something to learn from. The key is it’s easier to make corrections getting the win. I like the fact that they didn’t get any balls over the top of us. They hit the one seam on us, but a lot of the yardage came with him pulling the ball down and running.”
DEFENSIVE END RYAN PICKETT: “We had a lot of sacks. It’s tough to pass rush Michael Vick, you don’t want to do too much as a lineman because it opens up lanes and he takes off. I thought we were very conservative on our pass rush, we were just trying to collapse the pocket and take his lanes off the inside, but it’s tough.”
CORNERBACK CHARLES WOODSON: "I don't want to talk Super Bowl with you right now. We were tested on offense and defense, and there’s a lot of things we wish we had back, but we’ll try to correct them and get ready for another game. For us, we feel good. We got a big win, first test of the regular season."
RODGERS: "I think every victory is a team victory and every loss is a team loss. We win as a team, we lose as a team. We're a very united locker room. It's nice when the offense isn't playing as well as we know we're capable of playing that the special can continually give us good field position, flip the field position, and the defense did a great job in the first half containing them."
PHILADELPHIA — The Green Bay Packers almost lived a Michael Vick nightmare on Sunday.
Vick still might not be the quarterback he was before going to prison in 2007 for his role in a dog-fighting ring, but while playing in the second half for injured Kevin Kolb, he showed he still has the legs to scare the bejesus out of a defense.
His efforts to rally the Philadelphia Eagles from a 17-point deficit fell short because the Packers made just enough plays against his scattershot throwing and stopped him on a critical fourth-and-1 run in the game’s final minutes.
But this game was a sign that Vick still is a formidable player who had the Packers feeling pretty good after surviving the fourth quarter at hostile Lincoln Financial Field on an opening day when they were nowhere near the offensive juggernaut they looked like at times in the preseason.
“We’re short defensive linemen, we were playing against a very mobile quarterback. That was a tough, gutty performance by our football team,” a relaxed and happy coach Mike McCarthy said after the game.
It also was a different opponent than McCarthy expected to face. When the Packers began game planning for this matchup in the offseason, the Eagles had traded Donovan McNabb so they could turn over their offense to Kolb, a fourth-year pro. But Kolb flopped in his first half as the team’s new franchise quarterback, putting up only three points, 49 total yards and a measly 56.2 passer rating in the first two quarters.
He looked much inferior to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers even though Rodgers was hardly on top of his game.
Maybe Kolb would have bounced back in the second half, but he never got the chance because the Packers knocked him out of the game with a concussion.
Enter Vick, who played four snaps in the first half in the Eagles’ Wildcat personnel. At age 30 and in only his second season back in the NFL after a two-year layoff, he remains an unpolished thrower and decision-maker. But he’s still a sublime athlete whose running-back ability makes him different than every other NFL quarterback.
“It’s like you take your game-plan book and throw it out the window,” cornerback Tramon Williams said. “You game plan for (Vick) some, but you don’t game plan for him the whole game. It’s a whole different story.”
Vick ran for 103 yards on a variety of scrambles, draws and straight runs; threw for 175 yards with a 101.9 passer rating on mostly short throws; and put up 17 points in the game’s final 20 minutes. But the Packers didn’t let him make the difference in the game, either. They sacked him three times in the fourth quarter — once each by Frank Zombo, Cullen Jenkins and Clay Matthews — and didn’t give up any deep throws (Vick’s longest completion was for 27 yards).
Afterward, the sense of relief that they’d weathered Vick was palpable.
“You expect Vick to get in there, but you don’t expect him to be the quarterback the second half every snap,” defensive end Ryan Pickett said. “He brings so many different dimensions to the game. It’s hard to stop the run when he’s in there, it’s hard to stop the pass, it’s tough. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”
The Packers won this game because they made a stop on Vick when they absolutely had to in the game’s final minutes. Vick got the ball back at the Eagles’ 24 with 4:13 left and a chance to take the Eagles to the game-tying touchdown. He moved the ball to the Packers’ 42, where his coach, Andy Reid, had the 2-minute warning to decide what to do on fourth-and-1.
Reid put Vick in the shotgun and ran straight into the line, free to choose his hole starting from about 7 yards deep. The Packers were ready, and Matthews, Nick Barnett and Brad Jones stuffed him for no gain, in effect ending the game because the Eagles were out of timeouts.
“We knew when they get in short yardage they like to have Vick run the read quarterback sneak where he can find a hole and pick it,” Pickett said. “They did it all preseason and last year and always got the first down. So we kind of figured that was coming.”
The Packers weren’t the offensive power they expected to be, in part because Rodgers threw two interceptions — he threw only seven all last season. The Eagles also clearly weren’t going to let tight end Jermichael Finley beat them, so they cut back on their usual zone-blitz heavy calls and played coverage slanted to Finley most of the time, which held him to a relatively benign 47 yards on four catches.
But Rodgers’ 73.1 passer rating included a big 32-yard touchdown pass to receiver Greg Jennings, and backup halfbacks Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn combined for a respectable 69 yards rushing on 16 carries in the second half to control some clock and give the Packers the win.
“We won a football game,” said Mark Tauscher, the Packers’ right tackle. “It’s a tough place, a good football team, to win on the road is a good start to your season. But this isn’t going to be easy. From an offensive standpoint, you can talk to anybody in our group on offense, we didn’t play as well as we hoped we would.”
By The Associated Press
Phi_FG Akers 45, 4:23. Drive: 8 plays, 26 yards, 4:00. Key Plays: Hanson 17 interception return to Philadelphia 47; Maclin 11 run; Vick 13 run. Philadelphia 3, Green Bay 0.
GB_FG Crosby 49, 13:52. Drive: 10 plays, 43 yards, 5:31. Key Plays: Bradley 10-yard defensive pass interference penalty; Rodgers 15 pass to Jennings; Rodgers 14 pass to Finley; Rodgers 5 run on 3rd-and-2. Green Bay 3, Philadelphia 3.
GB_Driver 6 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 1:48. Drive: 11 plays, 76 yards, 5:33. Key Plays: Grant 13 run; Grant 18 run; Rodgers 16 pass to Jennings on 3rd-and-9; Rodgers 13 pass to Jackson. Green Bay 10, Philadelphia 3.
GB_FG Crosby 56, :00. Drive: 7 plays, 39 yards, 0:41. Key Play: Rodgers 11 pass to Jennings. Green Bay 13, Philadelphia 3.
GB_Kuhn 3 run (Crosby kick), 8:36. Drive: 10 plays, 62 yards, 4:53. Key Plays: Williams fumble recovery (Buckley); Rodgers 7 pass to Driver on 3rd-and-3; Rodgers 20 pass to Finley on 3rd-and-9; Kuhn 12 run; Jackson 11 run. Green Bay 20, Philadelphia 3.
Phi_McCoy 12 run (Akers kick), 4:24. Drive: 9 plays, 60 yards, 4:12. Key Plays: Vick 10 pass to Avant; Vick 12 pass to D.Jackson on 3rd-and-5; Vick 3 pass to D.Jackson on 3rd-and-3; Vick 31 run. Green Bay 20, Philadelphia 10.
GB_Jennings 32 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 1:56. Drive: 4 plays, 51 yards, 2:28. Key Plays: Nelson 51 kickoff return to Green Bay 49; Jackson 18 run. Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 10.
Phi_Maclin 17 pass from Vick (Akers kick), 10:23. Drive: 9 plays, 79 yards, 3:39. Key Plays: Vick 10 pass to Maclin; Woodson 5-yard defensive holding penalty on 3rd-and-2; Vick 27 pass to Celek; Vick 15 pass to Avant. Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 17.
Phi_FG Akers 24, 5:43. Drive: 9 plays, 45 yards, 3:31. Key Plays: Allen 11 interception return to midfield; Vick 12 pass to D.Jackson; Vick 27 pass to McCoy on 3rd-and-9. Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 20.
|THIRD DOWN EFF||6-14||5-13|
|FOURTH DOWN EFF||0-0||0-1|
|TOTAL NET YARDS||299||321|
|NET YARDS RUSHING||132||150|
|Avg per rush||4.0||7.1|
|NET YARDS PASSING||167||171|
|TOTAL RETURN YARDAGE||166||135|
|TIME OF POSSESSION||31:55||28:05|
RUSHING_Green Bay, Jackson 18-63, Grant 8-45, Kuhn 2-15, Rodgers 5-9. Philadelphia, Vick 11-103, McCoy 7-35, Maclin 1-11, Kolb 1-1, Weaver 1-0.
PASSING_Green Bay, Rodgers 19-31-2-188. Philadelphia, Vick 16-24-0-175, Kolb 5-10-0-24.
RECEIVING_Green Bay, Jennings 5-82, Driver 5-30, Finley 4-47, Jackson 2-12, J.Jones 2-10, Nelson 1-7. Philadelphia, McCoy 5-47, Avant 4-41, Maclin 4-38, D.Jackson 4-30, Celek 2-32, Buckley 1-10, McGlynn 1-1.
PUNT RETURNS_Green Bay, Williams 1-10. Philadelphia, D.Jackson 2-14.
KICKOFF RETURNS_Green Bay, Nelson 5-156. Philadelphia, Hobbs 4-93.
TACKLES-ASSISTS-SACKS_Green Bay, Matthews 7-0-2, Chillar 6-1-0, Woodson 4-1-0, Barnett 4-0-0, Collins 3-0-0, Williams 3-0-0, B.Jones 2-1-0, Shields 2-1-0, Raji 2-0-1, Burnett 2-0-0, Crabtree 2-0-0, Pickett 2-0-0, Zombo 1-0-1, Jenkins 1-0-1, Bush 1-0-0, Driver 1-0-0, Finley 1-0-0, Hall 1-0-0, Hawk 1-0-0, Martin 1-0-0, Poppinga 1-0-0. Philadelphia, T.Cole 6-0-1, Allen 5-0-0, Sims 5-0-0, Mikell 4-1-0, Hobbs 4-0-0, Bunkley 3-2-0, Gaither 3-2-0, Barnes 3-0-0, Hanson 3-0-0, M.Patterson 3-0-0, Samuel 3-0-0, Parker 2-0-2, Coleman 2-0-0, Fokou 2-0-0, Bradley 1-0-0, Jordan 1-0-0, McGlynn 1-0-0.
INTERCEPTIONS_Philadelphia, Hanson 1-17, Allen 1-11.
MISSED FIELD GOALS_None.
OFFICIALS_Referee John Parry, Ump Dan Ferrell, HL Derick Bowers, LJ Allen Baynes, FJ Scott Edwards, SJ Keith Washington, BJ Perry Paganelli, Replay Bob McGrath.