It was a wild, injury-filled second week of the NFL season
Michael Vick returned to the city where he first electrified NFL audiences before his stunning fall from grace and equally stunning climb back to glory. Would he complete his return from scandal and ignominy by leading his team to a dramatic victory over the franchise that discarded him?
Sadly, while the Week 2 headliner largely lived up to the hype, we were denied the spectacle of a Vick-fueled desperation drive amid the din of the Georgia Dome. With the game on the line, Vick was in the locker room, victim of a freak collision with one of his own linemen that resulted in an apparent concussion. Replacement Mike Kafka performed admirably, but his final pass glanced off the hands of Jeremy Maclin, and the Falcons held on for a dramatic 35â31 comeback win.
Before a frenzied home crowd, the Falcons hung around thanks to the arm of Matt Ryan, who threw a career-high four touchdown passes, and then erased a 31â21 fourth-quarter deficit largely on the legs of Michael Turner, who churned for 114 yards, including a 61-yard run that set up his go-ahead touchdown run with 4:48 left.
Clearly, this town now belongs to Ryan and Turner, but Vick was the story coming in, and the fans welcomed him with a cascade of boos that drowned out pockets of welcoming cheers. Vintage Vick No. 7 Falcons jerseys were vastly outnumbered by Ryanâs No. 2.
In typical fashion, Vick was both dazzling and disappointing, making a number of scintillating plays but also turning the ball over three times, twice on fumbles, and throwing an interception that led to a touchdown. His inconsistent evening ended in the third quarter when he was spun into teammate Todd Herremanns and staggered off the field spitting blood.
âI feel for him,â Maclin said. âObviously, he wanted to come home and make a statement.â
To Vickâs credit, he left the field with the lead, having played well enough to win. But the Eagles defense had no answer for Turner, Ryan and tight end Tony Gonzalez, who burnished his Hall of Fame credentials with seven catches, two of them for scores, including a highlight reel grab in the second quarter.
âIt was a wild one, for sure, but we hung in there," Ryan said after only the sixth double-digit fourth quarter home comeback in franchise history. "I think everybody hung in there and kept making plays, kept battling. Credit to guys on both sides of the ball â we never gave up.â
âI thought the guys battled," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. âWe just had too many turnovers, too many mistakes.â
Reid now faces the last thing he needs â a possible quarterback controversy. Kafka performed well in relief, but the franchiseâs nominal No. 2 quarterback is Vince Young, who was inactive with a hamstring injury. If Vick is unable to go, Young might get the chance to lead his Dream Team against the Giants on Sunday.
â¢ Letâs hear it for this unlikely trio of unbeatens: the 2â0 Bills, Lions and Redskins. Last season, they combined for 16 wins; after Week 2, theyâre more than a third of the way to surpassing that number. The Bills, a selfless group of unsung everymen, lead the NFL with 79 points scored.
â¢ Theyâre 0â2, but these arenât the same Panthers. Cam Newton is for real.
â¢ Itâs panic time in Kansas City, Miami, Seattle and Indianapolis. The Chiefs, in particular, have been putrid, outscored 89â10 in their two losses, and they watched stud ballcarrier Jamaal Charles get carted off with an apparent ACL tear. Let the Andrew Luck sweepstakes begin.
â¢ Letâs not crown the Texans AFC South champs just yet. The Titans showed the most improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 in the NFL.
â¢ Tony Romo went from Week 1 goat to Week 2 superhero, shaking off a broken rib to lead the Cowboys to a 27â24 comeback win over the 49ers.