Eagles swamp Rams 31-13
ST. LOUIS – The lockout didn't bother Michael Vick. It simply left him with fresh legs for the season opener.
The Eagles quarterback was in dazzling form and the other Philly game-breakers were hard to catch, too, as the team opened its self-proclaimed Super Bowl drive with a 31-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
"It felt great to know that I can go out and play lights out, not have to worry about anything," Vick said. "I feel better than I've ever felt before and I give a lot of credit with the situation with the CBA, giving us a lot time to get rest and to prepare ourselves.
"I feel like I can play another four quarters right now."
The Rams couldn't keep up, especially after losing stars Steven Jackson and Sam Bradford. Jackson will undergo an MRI for a right quadriceps injury Monday. X-rays were negative on Bradford's right index finger.
In a pre-game tribute to Sept. 11, players and coaches from both teams stepped forward, all touching a huge flag that covered much of the field. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo began his postgame remarks by praising the remembrance as a "special tribute."
Vick rushed for 98 yards and passed for two scores, LeSean McCoy scored twice and DeSean Jackson topped 100 yards receiving against a defense that couldn't use injuries as an excuse.
"It was just a real disappointment the way we played," end Chris Long said. "We had a lot of self-inflicted mistakes. They made us make a lot of mistakes."
The Eagles had 239 yards rushing, were 8 for 11 on third downs, and had 16 plays good for at least double digits. And yet, Vick felt it was far from perfect.
For one thing, he connected on only 43 percent of his passes, his worst showing as a starter with the Eagles, going 14 for 32 for 187 yards.
"I'm thankful for the victory, don't get me wrong," Vick said. "I just wish it could have been a little cleaner."
The Rams are thankful they won't be seeing Vick again.
"We knew No. 7 was going to be tough to stop," Spagnuolo said. "There's a lot of fundamental things we didn't do right."
The Eagles defense applied constant pressure and piled up five sacks, two by Jason Babin. Darryl Tapp forced a fumble by Bradford that led to an easy 56-yard touchdown return by Juqua Parker in the first quarter and also had a sack before leaving with a pectoral injury.
Jackson said he was hurt toward the end of his 47-yard scoring run on the Rams' first offensive play, even though he was untouched until a defender got a piece of his leg a step from the end zone. Soon after, he headed to the locker room, and had one more carry for 9 yards before calling it a day.
"It was one of those freak things. I felt a little something there," Jackson said. "I just couldn't be the runner I wanted to be."
Bradford was injured when he struck the helmet of an Eagles defender on the follow through to a pass in the fourth quarter. Spagnuolo said Bradford's injury could be nerve related, although the quarterback said he'd play in next week's Monday night game at New York against the Giants.
"I don't see any way I'm not going to be on the field, to be honest with you," Bradford said.
One of the more boisterous crowds in recent memory at the Edward Jones Dome, flush with optimism off an unbeaten preseason, was muted by the Eagles' impressive display as well as injuries to the Rams. In the second half, the Rams also lost their top cornerback, Ron Bartell, with a stinger, their leading receiver from last year, Danny Amendola, with a dislocated left elbow, and offensive tackle Jason Smith with a high left ankle sprain.
McCoy had 122 yards on 15 carries and a 49-yard TD in the fourth quarter to go with a 7-yard scoring catchin the first quarter.
Bradford was 17 for 30 for 188 yards. Jackson's backup, Cadillac Williams, had 91 yards on 19 carries.
Notes: Both teams' first-round picks were inactive. Rams DE Robert Quinn was the 14th overall pick and Eagles OG Danny Watkins was 23rd overall. Watkins recently lost his starting job to free agent pickup Kyle DeVan. The Eagles also didn't dress their second and third-round picks, S Jaiquawn Jarrett and CB Curtis Marsh. ... The Rams have six former Eagles, and all were active. ... The band from suburban Kirkwood High School, the alma mater of Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin, practiced on the high school field 3½ hours before playing during the pre-game. ... Rams Hall of Fame RB Eric Dickerson attended the game. ... Parker scored his second career TD. The first was a 55-yard interception return Oct. 12, 2008 at San Francisco.