PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Michael Vick spent most of his night chatting and joking on the sideline—safe from harm.
Vick threw for 74 yards and a touchdown pass in his only series and the new-look Philadelphia Eagles beat the Baltimore Ravens 13-6 Thursday night in their preseason opener.
“Just to get back out for a preseason game after not having the OTAs and the minicamps and the offseason strength and conditioning programs, it was good to get back and to get out there to have an opportunity to just play against another defense,” Vick said.
Nnamdi Asomugha, Vince Young and several other big-name acquisitions made their debuts for the Eagles, who’ve signed a slew of free agents with impressive resumes in the past two weeks.
Joe Flacco played two series and led the Ravens to a field goal on the opening possession. He completed 3 of 6 passes for 60 yards. Ricky Williams, who signed with Baltimore on Monday, was inactive.
“We have a different team this year, guys have to take new roles, and from a confidence standpoint I have to go out there and know what we’re doing and I have to go about doing that more this year,” Flacco said.
Vick, the runner-up to Tom Brady for NFL MVP, completed 4 of 6 passes, including a 3-yard TD toss to Brent Celek. He drove the Eagles down the field against Ray Lewis and Baltimore’s vaunted defense.
Vick threw a 20-yard pass to Jason Avant on his first play. He later connected with Riley Cooper on a 42-yard pass over Ed Reed to the Ravens 2. An almost identical pass to Cooper in the final minute of last year’s wild-card playoff game against Green Bay was intercepted by Tramon Williams in the end zone to seal the Packers’ 21-16 win.
Two plays later, Vick hit Celek to give Philadelphia a 7-3 lead. Cooper and Avant started in place of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Jackson just joined the Eagles after a 12-day holdout and Maclin remains sidelined by an undisclosed illness.
Tyrod Taylor, a rookie from Virginia Tech, took over for Flacco. He drove the Ravens to the Eagles 5 in the final minute before throwing an incompletion on fourth-and-8 from the 10.
Taylor led the Ravens to the Eagles 8 late in the third quarter before throwing an interception to Jarrad Page. He finished 19 of 28 for 179 yards and two picks.
“I thought Tyrod did some great things,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s going to learn more from this game than any game his whole career. He was electric at times, that’s exciting.”
The defending NFC East champion Eagles have been one of the most aggressive teams since the lockout ended. They’ve signed 14 free agents, including six players who’ve been to Pro Bowls.
Asomugha, the top free agent on the market, played two series as part of a star-studded secondary that includes newcomer Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and veteran Asante Samuel. All three cornerbacks were on the field for the first play, with Samuel lined up in a safety spot.
The Eagles also have a new defensive coordinator who used to coach on the other side of the ball. Juan Castillo switched over from the offensive line to replace Sean McDermott.
“It’s not about me, it’s about us building a championship-caliber defense,” Castillo said. “Coach (Andy Reid) wanted us to have a fast defense, a fundamentally sound defense and you saw some of that.”
The Ravens took the opening kickoff and drove to the Eagles 29 before stalling. Billy Cundiff kicked a 53-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Young replaced Vick in the first quarter. He was 3 of 5 for 45 yards. Young, who went to two Pro Bowls in five seasons in Tennessee, signed a one-year deal to be Vick’s backup after the Eagles traded Kevin Kolb to Arizona.
A 93-yard fumble return for a score by Baltimore’s Lardarius Webb was overturned after replays showed Eagles quarterback Mike Kafka’s hand was going forward when he lost the ball.
Notes: Former Eagles kicker David Akers, a five-time Pro Bowl pick in 12 years in Philadelphia, thanked fans on a large billboard on I-95 near the stadium. Akers signed with the San Francisco 49ers. … Rookie kicker Alex Henery, a fourth-round pick who replaced Akers, made field goals of 35 and 24 yards. … RB Ronnie Brown, one of the Eagles’ recent signings, ran nine times for 22 yards. … Ravens RB Ray Rice had just 7 yards rushing on five carries. … Harbaugh was an assistant coach in Philadelphia from 1998-2007. … Cundiff missed a 55-yard FG attempt wide left. … Kafka was 13 of 19 for 132 and one interception.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)