Vick, Defense Lead Eagles Over Falcons

Boos turn to cheers for former Falcons QB

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In a week of homecomings one Philly athlete actually stole the spotlight from Allen Iverson Sunday.

Eagles QB Michael Vick’s return to Atlanta was a triumphant one as he teamed with the Eagles defense to crush the Falcons 34-7.

Vick scored and threw for his first TDs of the season against his former team. The game was the first time since his dogfighting conviction that Vick played against his former team in the city where he once ruled.

Vick scored on a five-yard run in the third quarter after he had two carries for seven yards and no score in the first half for Philly. 

No. 7, making his first appearance of the second half, replaced starter Donovan McNabb for the third-and-one play from the Atlanta five. Vick took the shotgun snap and went straight ahead before diving into the end zone.

Vick, booed in the first half, earned cheers for his first rushing TD since Oct. 2006 when he played for Atlanta.

He added a five-yard TD pass to tight end Brent Celek in the fourth quarter prompting fans in the Georgia Dome to chant “We want Vick! We want Vick!” The TD pass gave the Eagles a 34-0 lead.

"You were seeing a guy in his element," said McNabb, who gave Vick a long hug after the TD pass to Celek. "I think he was just relishing the moment."

The 29-year-old QB went two-for-two for 48 yards and that scoring pass before leaving with an apparent hand injury.

For all of Vick’s theater the Birds’ defense starred Sunday.

They made Falcons quarterback Chris Redman look like a backup as he was pressured into two interceptions and had about a half dozen balls tipped at the line.

One of those INTs was returned 83 yards by Sheldon Brown to put Philly up 27-0 in the third.

The defense also added a nice goal-line stand near the end of the first half. They kept the Falcons off the board after stopping four-straight runs.

The only redeeming moment for the Falcons (6-6) was a last-second tipped ball that kept them from being shut out.

Vick wasn’t the only offensive standout for Philly. Fullback Leonard Weaver picked up the slack for Brian Westbrook by rushing five times for 37 yards and catching two balls for 63 yards -- including an incredible one-handed grab on a 59-yard pass.

And, special teams came up big including a fumble recovery early in the game that lead to the Eagles first TD and three nice punts for Sav Rocca who averaged 44.7 yards -- dropping one ball on the one-yard line.

The game put Andy Reid's Birds in the NFC Wild Card driver’s seat at 8-4 and tied the Birds with first-place Dallas in the NFC East.

The Eagles were nowhere near perfect, though, despite dominating the Falcons.

Starting QB Donovan McNabb struggled at times to find his target but still managed to go 14 for 25 for 238 yards and a touchdown pass to Weaver.

To his credit, McNabb was without two of his favorite targets as Westbrook and wideout DeSean Jackson were inactive with concussions.

The Eagles also continued to have penalty problems as they were flagged eight times for 62 yards including two hit-to-the-head personal foul penalties on safety Quintin Demps.

After the game the Eagles confirmed that they wanted to extend Coach Reid's contract beyond this season after an ESPN report came out that the deal would be inked as early as this week. The team wouldn't confirm when a deal would be reached.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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