Final

Eagles 31

(1-1, 1-1 away)

Falcons 35

(1-1, 1-0 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:20 PM ET, September 18, 2011

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 0 10 21 031
ATL 7 7 7 1435

Top Performers

Passing: M. Vick (PHI) - 242 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Turner (ATL) - 21 CAR, 114 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Maclin (PHI) - 13 REC, 171 YDS, 2 TD

Matt Ryan's career-high 4 TDs rally Falcons over hurt Michael Vick, Eagles

Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Michael Vick and Matt Ryan met at the center of the field for the coin toss, the former Falcons quarterback embracing the guy who took his place.

When it was done, Ryan trotted off the field in triumph, leaving little doubt this is his city now.

Vick wasn't even there to see it. He was back in the locker room, still woozy from a big hit.

Ryan tossed a career-high four touchdown passes, shaking off all the hoopla over Vick coming back to face his old team as Philadelphia's starter, and rallied Atlanta from a 10-point deficit for a 35-31 victory over the Eagles in a Sunday night thriller.

"It was a wild one, for sure, but we hung in there," Ryan said. "I think everybody hung in there and kept making plays, kept battling. Credit to guys on both sides of the ball -- we never gave up."

Two of Ryan's TD throws went to ageless tight end Tony Gonzalez, who went past Terrell Owens into the fifth spot on the NFL's career receiving list. Then, Ryan hooked up with Ovie Mughelli on a 1-yard score that brought Atlanta to 31-28 with just over 6 minutes remaining.

The Falcons (1-1) completed the comeback with Michael Turner breaking off a 61-yard run, then powering over Eagles defenders from the 3 with 3:24 remaining. Turner finished with 114 yards on 21 carries.

Vick threw for a pair of touchdowns for the Eagles (1-1) but left with what coach Andy Reid later described as a concussion after getting spun by a Falcons rusher into Eagles lineman Todd Herremans. No. 7 staggered to the sideline and Mike Kafka came in for the first game of his two-year career.

Vince Young, normally the backup, was inactive because of a hamstring injury. Now, the Eagles have to worry about Vick's health, though he didn't have to be hospitalized and was cleared to travel with the team back to Philadelphia.

"I know Mike is upset about (not finishing)," Kafka said. "When you're hit like that, you can't do anything about it. It's out of his control."

Kafka did a good job in a tough situation, guiding the Eagles down the field on a potentially winning drive in the closing minutes. But on fourth down from Atlanta's 22, Jeremy Maclin dropped a pass over the middle that would have kept it going.

"I'm better than that," Maclin said. "It was a very catchable ball."

The Falcons ran off all but the last 5 seconds, and Kafka's desperation heave into the end zone was batted down to end the game.

The buildup for the primetime contest was one of the biggest in years for a regular-season game in Atlanta. The Georgia Dome was packed and loud, many fans wearing Vick's old No. 7 jersey from his Falcons days but plenty more adorned in Ryan's No. 2.

In some ways, it seemed like a head-to-head matchup -- even though they were never on the field at the same time. Vick was the one-of-a-kind quarterback who put the Falcons on the NFL map before he was caught running a dogfighting operation, leading to a prison sentence of nearly two years.

Banished by the Falcons, he revitalized his career in Philadelphia and earned another $100 million contract. He had returned to Atlanta once before, as a backup in 2009, but this was different. He's now THE guy for the Eagles, and he wanted to impress in front of his former city.

"I feel for him," Maclin said. "Obviously, he wanted to come home and make a statement."

Instead, he had to settle for mixed results and an early end to his night. Vick fumbled twice and threw an interception, and the Falcons turned two of those mistakes into touchdowns.

Still, he had seemingly done enough when he left the field. Kafka came on and handed off to LeSean McCoy, who scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard run with 1:59 left in the third quarter. McCoy had 95 yards on 18 carries.

But Ryan and the Falcons hung in there, even though the quarterback was sacked four more times after taking five in a 30-12 loss at Chicago to open the season.

"You just keep getting up," Ryan said. "There's a lot of tough guys on this football team and I try and stay in line with those guys and just keep bouncing up. I'm just glad we came away with the win."

There were plenty of big hits, most notably a shot by Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson on an Eagles receiver for the second year in a row. Last year, Robinson knocked out himself and DeSean Jackson with a brutal collision. This time, the defensive back leveled Maclin with a shot that drew a flag for slamming into a defenseless player with a helmet-first shot in the third quarter.

Falcons coach Mike Smith disputed it was a legal hit, saying "that's the way we teach it," but the NFL could dole out a suspension after it reviews the play. Maclin went to the sideline to be checked but wasn't out for long. Robinson insisted he did nothing wrong.

"I saw him catch the ball," the cornerback said. "I saw him run and take steps trying to get upfield and score."

Vick's first fumble, with the Eagles poised for a touchdown that would've given them a 17-7 lead, wasn't really his fault.

Peria Jerry burst through the line and knocked the ball away before Vick could even hand off to McCoy, the ball skidding backward to Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards. He took off the other way, rumbling 64 yards before Jackson hustled back to make the tackle.

The Falcons' offense did the rest, capped by Gonzalez's first TD catch of the night -- and perhaps one of the best he's ever made. In the back of the end zone, he reached up to snare the ball with his right hand and brought it down to his body just as he dragged a second foot inbounds

"I can't say nothing but 'Wow!' " Smith said. "That's one we'll be seeing for a long time on the highlight films."

On the Eagles' first possession of the second half, Vick threw a pass over the middle that was picked off by Kelvin Hayden. The Falcons turned that into seven more points, as Ryan went to Gonzalez again on a 17-yard TD that gave Atlanta a 21-10 lead.

Back came Vick and the Eagles.

McCoy broke off runs of 23 and 36 yards before Vick went to Maclin for a 36-yard touchdown pass. Then, after Ryan threw his second interception of the night, the Eagles reclaimed the lead, 24-21, with their second score in just over 2 minutes on McCoy's 8-yard run.

Philadelphia extended its lead after a shanked punt by rookie Matt Bosher turned the ball over to the Eagles at the Atlanta 20. Vick was hurt three plays later, but McCoy finished off another touchdown drive.

Vick completed 19 of 28 for 242 yards, also going to Maclin on a 5-yard touchdown. In addition, the quarterback ran six times for 25 yards.

"I thought the guys battled," Reid said. "We just had too many turnovers, too many mistakes."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PHI
ATL
1st Downs2720
Passing 1st downs
1214
Rushing 1st downs
115
1st downs from penalties
41
3rd down efficiency
5-116-13
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays6761
Total Yards447318
Yards per play6.75.2
Total Drives1514
Passing314180
Comp-Att
26-3717-28
Yards per pass
8.55.6
Interceptions thrown
12
Sacks-Yards Lost
0-04-15
Rushing133138
Rushing Attempts
3029
Yards per rush
4.44.8
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-54-5
Penalties4-207-57
Turnovers32
Fumbles lost
20
Interceptions thrown
12
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession30:0329:57

Passing Leaders

PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Vick19/282428.6210-0
Kafka7/9728.0000-0
ATLC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ryan17/281957.0424-15

Rushing Leaders

PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
McCoy18955.3223
Vick6254.2010
ATLCARYDSAVGTDLG
Turner211145.4161
Rodgers3175.7010

Receiving Leaders

PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Maclin1317113.2243
Celek44310.8024
ATLRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gonzalez78311.9217
Turner13232.0032

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPHIATL
atlTD2:51Roddy White 2 Yard Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 38 yds, 3:58
07
SECOND QUARTERPHIATL
phiTD11:00Jeremy Maclin 5 Yard Pass From Michael Vick (Alex Henery Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 84 yds, 6:50
77
phiFG6:49Alex Henery 22 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 42 yds, 2:51
107
atlTD0:50Tony Gonzalez 4 Yard Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 24 yds, 1:13
1014
THIRD QUARTERPHIATL
atlTD12:03Tony Gonzalez 17 Yard Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 49 yds, 0:56
1021
phiTD10:10Jeremy Maclin 36 Yard Pass From Michael Vick (Alex Henery Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 70 yds, 1:56
1721
phiTD8:01Lesean Mccoy 8 Yard Run (Alex Henery Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 22 yds, 1:54
2421
phiTD2:04Lesean Mccoy 2 Yard Run (Alex Henery Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 20 yds, 2:05
3121
FOURTH QUARTERPHIATL
atlTD10:52Ovie Mughelli 1 Yard Pass From Matt Ryan (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yds, 6:14
3128
atlTD4:53Michael Turner 3 Yard Run (Matt Bryant Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yds, 3:24
3135

Research Notes

NEXT LEVEL: Matt Ryan completed all three pass attempts from outside the pocket in the decisive fourth quarter, including a touchdown pass to Ovie Mughelli that pulled the Falcons to within three points. In the Week 1 loss to the Bears, Ryan struggled outside the pocket, completing just 2-of-5 passes with an interception.
If Michael Vick is out due to a concussion, the Eagles have a suitable backup plan -- provided Vince Young recovers from a hamstring injury. While Vick posted the 4th-highest Total QBR from 2008-10 among quarterbacks currently with NFC teams, Young is right behind him, ranking 5th.
  [+]

FalconsSunday marked the sixth time in franchise history the Falcons won a home game in which they trailed by at least 10 points entering the fourth quarter.

  [+]
Tony Gonzalez had 7 receptions on Sunday, giving him 1,081 for his career. He passes Terrell Owens and moves into 5th place on the all-time list.
  [+]

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