Michael Vick and Tom Brady look sharp; Patriots beat Eagles 31-22
PHILADELPHIA – Give Michael Vick a slight edge over Nick Foles in the Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback competition.
While Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a pair of 80-yard TD drives in his only two series in a 31-22 win over Philadelphia on Friday, Vick did his best to secure a starting job.
"I'm just trying to bring my 'A' game," Vick said after throwing a 47-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson. "I'm trying to make a statement every day, and treating every snap like it's my last."
The new-look Eagles kicked off the Chip Kelly era the same way they ended Andy Reid's long tenure — with another loss. Kelly's biggest decision will be picking a starting quarterback.
Vick and Foles each led the Eagles to a touchdown in two series apiece, and Kelly wouldn't let on if he's leaning toward one guy.
"I thought they both did a good job," he said, adding that he might not pick a starter until after the fourth preseason game.
"Both got us in the end zone. I was pleased. They played pretty well. Both rose to the occasion. I was excited with the way they played."
Vick's TD drive came against New England's starters and he looked sharp, completing 4 of 5 passes for 94 yards. Foles lost a fumble on his second play and then went 5 of 6 for 43 yards. Kelly already said Foles will start next Thursday night against Carolina.
"Always a good feeling when adversity happens in a game and we come back from it," Foles said.
Meanwhile, the Patriots have no QB controversies. Tim Tebow made his New England debut after backup Ryan Mallett left with a head injury late in the second quarter. Tebow was 4 of 12 for 55 yards and ran for 31 on four carries.
As for Brady, the two-time NFL and Super Bowl MVP finished 7 of 8 for 65 yards and one TD.
"Just to be out there, for all of us, to go out there and play the game we love, it was a lot of fun," Tebow said. "I think I have room for improvement, that's what these games are for. Next week, let's do a little better."
LeGarrette Blount had a nifty, 51-yard TD run, reversing direction twice on the play. The former 1,000-yard rusher with Tampa Bay had 101 yards rushing on 11 carries in his first game for New England.
Stevan Ridley had 92 yards rushing for the Patriots, including a 62-yard run on the first play from scrimmage. He finished that drive with a 1-yard TD run.
Fans eager to see Kelly's up-tempo offense have to wait until the Eagles play meaningful games next month.
Kelly kept it vanilla for the most part. The Eagles showed some of Kelly's fast-paced style, but they're clearly saving everything else for the regular season.
"We didn't do a third of what we normally would do," Vick said.
Brady had handoffs on six straight runs on the game's first series. Brady then worked on his passing before calling it a night.
After Fletcher Cox pressured him into an incompletion, Brady completed seven in a row, including a 13-yard TD toss to Shane Vereen for a 14-7 lead.
Vick's first two passes were perfect. He connected with Jason Avant on a 22-yard pass over the middle to convert a third-and-6. Vick then hit Jackson in stride down the right side over cornerback Aqib Talib to make it 7-7.
Foles actually outdid Vick in the scrambling department. He ran 10 yards for a first down before Bryce Brown's 8-yard TD run up the middle tied it at 14-14.
Tebow entered the game to loud cheers from Eagles fans, a sign of his popularity across the country. Tebow spent a lost season in 2012 with the New York Jets, playing sparingly behind struggling starter Mark Sanchez.
Tebow won two national titles at Florida and was a first-round draft pick in 2010 by Denver. He led the Broncos to a wild-card win over Pittsburgh in 2011, but was traded to the Jets after Denver signed Peyton Manning. Tebow signed with the Patriots five weeks after he was cut by the Jets.
"It's all about the same for everyone," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said when asked about Tebow. "It was good, it was far from perfect. We all made mistakes out there, and there are plenty of things to work on for all of us. Not singling anyone out. We haven't played a game in six months, so we saw decent things, but also things we need to work on."
Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper caught one pass for 19 yards, and didn't get much of a reaction. There was a slight smattering of boos for Cooper, who left the team for three days last week after a video of him making a racial slur surfaced on the Internet. Some fans even chanted "Coop" in support, which could've been mistaken for boos.
"I know I had that one catch and people said it was a good reaction, so that's good," Cooper said.
Eagles rookie Matt Barkley was 11 for 22 for 103 yards, including a 12-yard TD pass to Greg Salas.
NOTES: Injured Eagles were long snapper Jon Dorenbos (head), LB Casey Matthews (knee), LB Chris McCoy (knee) and LB Jamar Chaney (shoulder). ... Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski was 1 for 3, missing from 44 and 53 yards.
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