Everyone was talking about Michael Vick and his return to Atlanta, the franchise that built walls of dreams upon his shoulders. Now, it’s Matt Ryan and Michael Turner who carry the load of the offense and expecatitions. While Vick was not on the field when the game was over, injured, Ryan and Turner led the Falcons to a 35-31 come from behind win in the fourth quarter.
Vick actually made a return to Atlanta as a backup, but that didn’t count. He was really hoping to impress and deal a bit of revenge, in his own mind, to the city and franchise that got rid of him after Vick’s ugly side came out. He didn’t have the greatest of games – Throwing one interception and fumbling the ball twice (actually three times, one was recovered). Bottom line – The Eagles lost their first game of 2011 with Mike Kafka stepping in for Vick.
Matt Ryan had a lot to prove as well in this game. The opening game loss to Chicago, with Ryan sacked five times on Week 1 and four more times against the Eagles. He threw for touchdown passes, two to Tony Gonzalez, and one to Ovie Mughelli, for just one yard, and touchdown, in the fourth quarter, signaling the comeback. Michael Turner, with 114 yards, sealed the deal with the winning touchdown with less than 5 minutes to go.
Kafka was able to lead the Eagles on 69 yard drive to Atlanta’s 22, but never further. The Falcons gave up short passes, but not the big play, and ball was turned over on downs. The kneeling and punt routine ended the game.
The big winner of this night was probably Michael Turner. As Ovie Mughelli said after the game – Matt might like to think we’re a passing team and Roddy White will definitely tell you we’re a passing team. But Michael and I will tell you we’re a running team, and tonight shows that. Really, they go hand in hand. You’ve got to be able to run and you’ve got to be able to pass. Call us either one, but call us a happy team because we were a winning team tonight. Mughelli and Turner scored the fourth quarter touchdowns.
For Turner, it was business as usual. The former Charger, who left San Diego due to not giving enough carries with LT in the spotlight, now has 21 games of 100 yards or more since joining the Falcons in 2008. There’s always a discussion going on about Atlanta needing to go no-huddle and Matt Ryan, like most quarterbacks, is the focus of most discussion. Turner, as usual, proved, in his own way, that the real stud here is him.
So the Dream Team expirement in Philadelphia ran into its first obstacle. Michael Vick, suffering from a concussion, which was bound to happen sooner or later due to his style, might not be available for the next game. Vince Young, recovering from a hamstring injury, might be ready to step in for him next week.