The Daily Puppy

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Vikings vs. Eagles: Joe Webb Outduels Michael Vick in Tuesday Night Shocker

Whether it was having clinched the NFC East title with the New York Giants' loss Sunday at Green Bay or having their game postponed two nights by the snowstorm that hit Philadelphia, the Eagles looked very out of sorts in losing at home to lowly Minnesota, 24-14.
The defeat means that Philadelphia won't get a first-round bye and will open the playoffs at home on either Jan. 8 or 9. It also means that the NFC North champion Chicago Bears will join the NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons in getting to spend that weekend on their couches. The Vikings started rookie quarterback Joe Webb -- who was drafted in the 2010 sixth round as a receiver -- with Hall of Fame lock Brett Favre and Tavaris Jackson both injured, yet improved to 6-9 overall and 3-2 under interim coach Leslie Frazier.
• The Eagles  opened the scoring with a tremendous catch at the back of the end zone  by Harbor with 7:42 left in the first quarter.  Just what Philadelphia foes need: another great weapon to worry about  beyond Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Brent Celek.

• Webb is the eighth rookie quarterback to start this season, most since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The others are Arizona's Max Hall and John Skelton; Carolina's Jimmy Clausen, Cleveland's Colt McCoy, Denver's Tim Tebow, St. Louis' Sam Bradford and Tennessee's Rusty Smith. Webb was drafted in the same spot in 2010 that New England chose Tom Brady (No. 199) in 2000. Brady succeeded Drew Bledsoe, whom Favre beat for his only Super Bowl victory 14 years ago.

• The Vikings drove to the Philadelphia 27 on their second possession, but Peterson lost a yard, right tackle Phil Loadholt was penalized for facemasking Darryl Tapp, Webb underthrew Rice, and Eagles rookie middle linebacker Jamar Chaney made a beautiful deflection of a deep ball for tight end Visanthe Shiancoe to kill the threat. The next time Minnesota penetrated Philadelphia territory, defensive end Trent Cole beat tight end Jeff Dugan for an 8-yard sack on second down. An incomplete pass on third down forced a punt.

• Minnesota came into the game ranked 24th in sacks per play, but defensive ends Jared Allen and Ray Edwards each got to Vick in the first 17:06. The Vikings wound up sacking him six times.

• Former Eagles cornerback Lito Sheppard  heard it from the crowd when he dropped a sure interception during the  second quarter. Safety Husain Abullah picked off Vick on the next play  when the quarterback was off-target on a deep throw for Jackson. The  interception was Vick's sixth in the last five games after he didn't  have any in his first seven games.

• Peterson broke free for 23 yards to the Philadelphia 36 in the second quarter, only to have teammate Bernard Berrian kick the ball out of his hands for the Pro Bowl running back's first fumble of the year.

• Vick lost two fumbles, twice as many as he had all year. The second one on Tuesday was caused by defensive tackle Kevin Williams and recovered by Allen at the Minnesota 24 late in the third quarter.

• Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel, who has missed time with a pair of concussions this year, will be fined by the NFL for his helmet-to-helmet in the third quarter on Rice that knocked the latter out of the game with a head injury.
The shocking upset came in Minnesota's third straight rescheduled game since the Metrodome's roof collapsed during a blizzard. Minnesota played host to the Giants in Detroit and took on the Bears outdoors at the University of Minnesota before this one, both blowout losses.
Philadelphia, who slipped to 10-5, closed within a field goal on Pro Bowl starter Michael Vick's 10-yard quarterback draw with 10:17 remaining, but then fell behind by 10 points again when Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson followed Webb's 18-yard strike to Percy Harvin with a 27-yard run and subsequent 1-yard touchdown.
Vick had put Philadelphia ahead with a 3-yard toss to rookie tight end Clay Harbor in the first quarter, but Minnesota tied the game at halftime when defensive back Antoine Winfield,  who had driven the Eagles crazy in the first half with untouched  blitzes, got to Vick for an 11-yard loss and made him fumble. Winfield  swiftly scooped up the ball and raced 45 yards to make it 7-7 with 44  seconds left in the half.
The Vikings took a 10-7 lead on a 30-yard Ryan Longwell field goal that followed an overturned touchdown catch by Sidney Rice  and a foolish 11-yard sack suffered by Webb. However, Webb, the  Alabama-Birmingham product, made up for the mistake later with a nifty  9-yard touchdown run with 6:43 left that capped a drive that was fueled  by Peterson.
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