On a day that began with Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb agreeing to a five-year, $78 million contract extension, it was Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick who turned out to be money.
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The 30-year-old signal caller, who is set to be a free agent after this season, had a game for the ages in leading Philadelphia to a resounding 59-28 victory in front of 84,912 at FedEx Field.
Vick put together a 14-of-18, 264-yard, three-touchdown passing performance — in just the first half. For good measure, he added six carries for 66 yards and two more scores before halftime. He finished the game connecting on 20 of 28 passes for 333 yards and four scores, along with eight carries for 80 yards and the two touchdowns.
His jaw-dropping performance started on the first offensive play of the game, when he hooked up with third-year wide receiver DeSean Jackson for an 88-yard touchdown. From there, the left-hander never looked back.
Was it the biggest passing play of his career?
“In a professional football game, maybe so, I don’t know how long it was but I have to go back and look at the film,” Vick said. “This was a great job of the offensive line holding up front. They did a great job all day. Great job by DeSean going to get the ball.”
Vick’s assault wasn’t limited to the Redskins’ defense. He did plenty of damage to the record book, as well.
Among the marks that will be tough to beat: Vick is now the only player in NFL history with three touchdown passes and two rushing touchdowns in the first half of a game. He is also the first player in NFL history with at least 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game.
“I’ve had some great games in my day, but I don’t think I’ve had one like this,” said Vick, who did his damage despite it raining most of the game and still nursing badly bruised ribs, which were first injured during the initial matchup between these two teams Oct. 3.
“Well, first of all I’m proud of him,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said about Vick’s showing. “I thought he did a nice job out there. He led our football team, on the offensive side, the way you are supposed to lead it. I think that the guys rallied around him and really played well collectively — the offensive line, receivers, tight ends and running backs really played well around him. He was in charge out there and he did a nice job.”
Reid surprisingly played Vick the entire game despite the game seemingly in hand by the end of the third quarter.
“Well, it was going back-and-forth there. I just wanted to make sure,” said Reid, whose team improved to 6-3 and is tied atop the NFC East. “I’ve been on the other side of the call and taken a player out too quickly. I just wanted to make sure that everything was secured. We had a wet football and so on. We ran the football a little bit.”
Reid’s offense wound up setting some team records, as well.
Philadelphia’s 59 points on eight touchdowns were the second-most in team history. The 592 total yards on offense (260 rushing, 332 passing), 28 first-quarter points and 45 first-half points are all team records. Philadelphia, which scored touchdowns on each of its first five possessions of the game, also set a Redskins’ opponent record with the 45 points in a half. The 59 points were also the most ever scored against a team coached by Mike Shanahan.
“Michael Vick did an excellent job on offense. Big credit to Michael Vick, he made some plays that I haven’t seen a lot of quarterbacks make for a long time,” said Shanahan, in charge of a team that is now 4-5 and two games behind the Eagles and New York Giants. “When something wasn’t there in the passing game, he made plays with his legs. He had a really big-time game.”
McNabb did what he could, going 17 of 31 for 295 yards, two scores and three interceptions. But Philadelphia’s performance on offense was just too much to overcome.
“I’ve been a part of the other end where everything just seemed to go well and in the second half, it seemed like everything turned — nothing to this effect,” McNabb said. “We have a solid team. We have a team [of] mentally strong guys and great character and guys who are willing to sacrifice themselves for the next man.
“This is one that, obviously a cliché but, we’ll watch film and come back from it. But, I think this is one that you already know is fresh in your mind of what happened. You should be anxious to get back out there on Wednesday to make some changes.”
As for Vick, this performance could be a major exclamation point on his for sale sign.
Who said you can’t reinvent yourself in your thirties?