Kolb improves in Eagles' win

Kevin Kolb knows where he stands on the depth chart. No one knows better than him how quickly that can change, too.

Subbing for an injured Michael Vick, Kolb led the Philadelphia Eagles to their third straight road win with a solid all-around performance Sunday night in San Francisco.

Kolb completed 21 of 31 passes for 253 yards and one touchdown, and showed that he also has some mobility with a big run and a few daring escapes.

But when Vick is ready to return from a rib cartilage injury, Kolb will go back to carrying a clipboard on the sideline.

"Michael is still starting quarterback, so we won't get that controversy going there. That's what it is," Eagles coach Andy Reid said immediately after the Eagles beat the 49ers 27-24.

It's too early to tell if Vick can play against his former team when the Eagles (3-2) host the Atlanta Falcons (4-1) this week.

Kolb was anointed the starter when Donovan McNabb was traded to Washington, but lost his job because Vick was sensational filling in after Kolb sustained a concussion in Week 1.

Vick guided Philadelphia to a pair of road wins, and earned NFC offensive player of the month honors in the process. Then he got hurt in the first quarter of a loss to Washington, giving Kolb a chance to showcase his skills.

Kolb was so-so against the Redskins, but had the Eagles in position to win it with a desperation heave at the end that bounced out of Jason Avant's hands in the end zone and was intercepted.

He took all the reps in practice last week, and was sharp against the Niners right from the start. Kolb completed his first nine passes, withstood four sacks and heavy pressure throughout the game and recorded a 103.3 rating.

"I felt pretty good. We had a really great week of work across the board from everybody and I was very confident and that's what you have to be as a quarterback in the situation and their backs were against the wall," Kolb said.

Kolb, who isn't known for his scrambling ability, displayed some moves that he must've picked up from watching Vick. On an 8-yard TD pass to Brent Celek, Kolb eluded a sack, moved out of the pocket and ran toward the sideline before stopping and making a perfect throw across his body.

In the third quarter, he had a career-long 19-yard run on third-and-18. That one was even more impressive as Kolb sprinted downfield and deked a defender to get the extra yards for the first down.

Overall, Kolb showed more poise than he did in his two other appearances this season. He looked more like the guy who became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300 yards in his first two career starts last year.

"With a young quarterback, that's what you're going to see," Reid said. "I mentioned that from the beginning. There's going to be a maturation process that takes place when he plays. You just don't step in, in one year, and set the world on fire. That's not how this thing works. That's the reason why Michael moved into that spot. It cuts that maturation process down when another guy is playing as well as Michael is playing.

"The kid stepped up, played well, did a heck of a job. He had an opportunity to prepare all week, and he was in the building long hours. He worked very hard and his teammates believed in him, which is a huge thing, a huge thing. He went out and performed on national TV in a road game, which he hadn't done before, and did a nice job."