It appeared to be headed towards a blowout in the early going, when the Eagles jumped out to a 13-0 lead on a Desean Jackson touchdown and two field goals. But leads are never safe against Peyton Manning and failing to score touchdowns in the red zone always comes back to bite you. Jacob Tamme and Javarris James each put 6 on the board and, after Austin Collie was knocked out of the game on a questionable personal foul call, the momentum was firmly on Indy's side heading into the tunnel with the lead at the half.
But the Eagles defense forced a three-and-out to open the third quarter and David Akers kicked his fourth field goal of the game to put the Birds back on top. Both teams traded punts a few times before a 10 play, 80 yard drive ended in a one-yard QB sneak for Michael Vick's second rushing touchdown of the year. With a two possession lead, the Eagles drained 6:48 off the clock in the middle of the fourth, but couldn't get points out of that drive, handing the ball back to the Colts, who ran 14 plays ending in Javarris James' second touchdown run of the game with under two minutes left in the game.
Rather than risking an onside kick, coach Jim Caldwell decided to kick it away. After an end-around to Desean Jackson netted the Eagles a first down, the Colts used their three timeouts to stretch the clock. After Vick was stopped on 3rd and 7, Andy Reid was forced to give the ball back to Peyton Manning with 40 seconds left and the ball on his own 26. With no timeouts, Manning was forced to use the sidelines, and only managed to get 15 yards before two incomplete passes left him with a 3rd down from his own 41 and only 18 seconds to go. The former MVP dropped back and aired it out to Pierre Garcon around the Eagles 30 but Asante Samuel, who had picked him off earlier in the game, swiped his second, putting this baby on ice.
Michael Vick was in control all game, throwing his 7th touchdown of the season to no interceptions. He also used his legs a ton today, racking up 74 yards and a touchdown, narrowing the gap between he and Steve Young for 2nd on the list of most career rushing yards for a quarterback. LeSean McCoy had a great 62 yard run early in the first, but was contained for the most part after that. Desean Jackson broke the 100-yard mark for the third time this season and scored his 4th touchdown of the year as well. Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant each made a few big plays, but Brent Celek went the entire game without a catch (though a touchdown of his was called back due to a hold).
Though the Eagles secondary let up 11 catches to both Reggie Wayne and Jacob Tamme, they did a great job on Manning for the most part all day. A good percentage of Manning's completions were hitches or quick outs. Going downfield was basically out of the question with Asante Samuel watching him all game. Sean McDermott's unit got good pressure on him, sacking him twice - once by Darryl Tapp and once by Ernie Sims, both offseason acquisitions. Too many missed tackles, but all in all a good day for the defense against an always-tough Peyton Manning.
The Eagles won this game in spite of the officiating and a lot of that credit goes to Mike Vick. Andy Reid improves to 12-0 after the bye week for his career. That's remarkable. Next week is Sunday night at Washington to kick off the second half of the schedule. 5-3 ain't bad.