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Michael Vick Upstages RG III in Eagles’ Win Over Redskins

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Almost all of the attention was on Robert Griffin III’s return to the NFL after a mercurial eight-month rehabilitation from a torn ACL in last year’s playoffs. It was no coincidence the league scheduled his first game on its showcase platform, Monday Night Football.

But for a long time, the Washington Redskins’ star quarterback Griffin flopped. At the same time, his counterpart, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Michael Vick–who has overcome quite a bit in his career–flourished in new coach Chip Kelly’s up-tempo scheme.

The result was a 33-27 Eagles victory, keyed by Vick’s effectiveness and Griffin’s obvious rust. Last year’s NFL Rookie of the Year did not play in the preseason, and it showed, as he was out of sync and unable to establish a rhythm until late in the third quarter, when Philly had built a 33-7 advantage.

Worse and of more concern, Griffin, while moving nicely overall, seemed to favor his surgically repaired right knee on passes. He did not step into several throws and many passes drifted on him with open receivers.

It did not help that the Redskins had no clue how to contain Kelly’s fastbreak offense. Vick dissected the secondary from the pocket and running back LeSean McCoy cut and spliced it for 184 yards and a game-breaking 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Vick was an efficient 15 for 20 for 203  yards and two touchdowns. Griffin, forced to pass because the Redskins trailed by so much, finished 30-for-49 for 329 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

When Griffin connected with Leonard Hankerson for a 24-yard touchdown with 1:14 to play, Washington pulled within six points and needed to recover the ensuing on-side kick to have a chance at a miracle win. But the Eagles recovered, securing a win they truly deserved.

Vick was mesmerized at the pace of the offense he engineered. “I’ve never been a part of anything like it,” he said. “When the first quarter was over, I thought we was about to go into halftime. It was unreal. The only thing I could tell myself was, `It’s going to be a long season.'”

As for the Redskins, Griffin said: “Had a serious case of the can’t-get-rights. Penalties, hurting ourselves. I don’t throw picks, Alfred (Morris) doesn’t fumble, and Kai (Forbath) doesn’t miss field goals. All three of those happened tonight. So we’ll get better, no doubt.”

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