On the 19th day, the Eagles will rest.
The Birds’ run of four games in 18 days ended happily. There were some tense moments, but they managed to outlast the Houston Texans, 34-24. The Eagles are 8-4 with 9 days to get ready to go to Dallas. They won three of the four installments of their little marathon.
The difference last night, as it often has been this season, was Michael Vick. When the Eagles fell behind, 24-20, at the end of the third quarter, Vick rallied an offense that had started fast and stalled, a group that might have been getting cold standing on the sideline, watching the Texans’ offense play.
“We just did a great job of battling back,” Vick said after completing 22 of 33 passes for 302 yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and a 103.3 passer rating. He also ran 10 times for 48 yards and a TD.
“I told the guys, ‘Now’s the time to put it all together and come out and make the plays I know we can make. Let’s be efficient, let’s be smart, and win this football game.’ ”
Every now and then, a game shapes up pretty much the way everybody thought it would. The Texans’ defense is pliable. The Eagles’ defense is better, but, once again without cornerback Asante Samuel, who rested his sprained knee, the Birds’ secondary figured to be vulnerable to a quarterback such as Matt Schaub and a potent, balanced offense such as the Texans’.
All week, a major point made in favor of the Eagles was that the Texans’ defense, ranked 28th overall, was not anything close to the Chicago defense that played Vick effectively for three quarters Sunday. Indeed, Vick reclaimed his magic.
“I love games like this,” Vick said, after seemingly taking a big hit after almost every throw. “You get knocked around a couple times. You get put in a position where you almost have to come back and score. You find out a lot about yourself playing this game. At times, when you think you can’t do it, something’s always in the back of your mind saying, ‘Yes, you can.’ That’s what drives me, that’s what motivates me.”