AFC North: Vick rallies Eagles, spoils Weeden's Browns debut
Eagles tight end Clay Harbor catches a 4-yard score against the Browns' Kaluka Maiava in the fourth quarter Sunday in Cleveland.
Share with others:
CLEVELAND -- Brandon Weeden threw four interceptions in a rough NFL debut for the rookie quarterback, and Cleveland's defense couldn't stop Michael Vick on a final touchdown drive in the fourth quarter as Philadelphia rallied for a 17-16 win, handing the Browns their 13th loss in 14 season openers since 1999.
Vick's 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clay Harbor with 1:18 left dashed the hopes of the Browns, who opened the year with low expectations and a roster with 15 rookies. But for nearly 59 minutes, Cleveland had a Super Bowl contender in major trouble.
"It stings," Weeden said. "It's going to sting for a few days, but I'm not going to let it get to me."
Weeden's day started on a comical note as he got trapped under a 100-yard-long flag being unfurled across the field for the national anthem. As he was warming up, the colossal U.S. flag was carried out, and before he knew what had happened, Weeden found himself scrambling on the ground.
"I was playing catch. I always stand on the 35 or 40-yard line. Next thing I know there's about a 100-yard flag over the top of me. I sat on my hands and knees and kind of waited -- me and one of the equipment managers. I looked at him and said, 'this [stinks]' Weeden said. The rest of his day didn't go much better.
Weeden finished 12 of 35 for 118 yards, had the four picks and forced several throws. He was never able to get into a rhythm. "I take a lot of pride in playing better than that," Weeden said. "Our defense gave us every chance to win and offensively, myself included, took away from that. I'm down right now."
Trailing 16-10, Vick marched the Eagles 91 yards for the go-ahead score on his career-high 56th pass. Before that, the superstar played poorly and showed major rustiness after getting just 12 snaps during the exhibition season because of injuries.
But when it mattered most, Vick came through, and the Eagles, who hurt themselves with five turnovers and 12 penalties, prevailed. "I wasn't going to disappoint my coaches and I wasn't going to disappoint my teammates," Vick said.
Vick went 29 of 56 for 317 yards and threw two touchdowns, but the second came after a stroke of luck.
One play before his touchdown pass to Harbor, Vick underthrew Jeremy Maclin and was nearly intercepted by Browns rookie linebacker L.J. Fort, who let the ball and game slip through his hands.
"He threw it right to me," said Fort, who picked Vick off in the first half. "I should have made that play, definitely."
The Browns had one last chance, but a Weeden pass was intercepted by Kurt Coleman.
First Published September 10, 2012 12:34 am