Vick rallies Eagles past Browns 17-16

Associated Press Modified: September 9, 2012 at 5:52 pm •  Published: September 9, 2012
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Even after his heroics saved Philadelphia from embarrassment, Michael Vick still had escape on his mind.

"Oh, man," the quarterback said. "I gotta get out of Cleveland."

The Eagles hardly soared, but flew away with a win anyway.

Overcoming four interceptions — and nearly a fifth — by throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Clay Harbor with 1:18 left, Vick rallied the penalty-prone Eagles to a nerve-racking, 17-16 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

With his team trailing 16-10, Vick marched them 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 preseason 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. "Whatever it took, I was going to get it done."

Vick went 29 of 56 for 317 yards and threw two TDs, his first to Jeremy Maclin for 18 yards in the final minute of the first half. But besides those two passes, there were moments when Vick forced passes and looked more like a rookie than a four-time Pro Bowler.

On the play before his TD pass to Harbor, Vick underthrew Maclin and was nearly intercepted by 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."

But in the end, Vick was the one who made the biggest plays.

"I thought he was rusty," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "But he kept competing, kept shooting. He's our quarterback and he had to work through it. He had to play, had to endure and had to tough it out."

Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw four interceptions, the last to Kurt Coleman with 1:05 remaining, as Cleveland fell to 1-13 in season openers since 1999.

LeSean McCoy rushed for 110 yards for Philadelphia, which trailed 16-10 in the fourth after Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson returned Vick's fourth pick 27 yards for a touchdown. But even though Cleveland had the lead, there was still plenty of time for Vick.

"It didn't matter what we did for three quarters," Jackson said. "We had to stop them to win the game. We were on the field to win it and we lost."

With Vick struggling, the Eagles appeared doomed and poised to follow their ill-fated "Dream Team" season with an embarrassing loss. Owner Jeffrey Lurie recently said a second straight 8-8 record would not cut it, and the Eagles were nearly on their way to mediocrity.

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