Dominique Curry grew watching the Philadelphia Eagles play on Sunday afternoons. Now, Curry, former George Washington High, Cheyney University and California University (PA) standout, will be playing against his hometown team on Sunday when the St. Louis Rams host the Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m. (Fox Channel 29).
“It’s a blessing to be able to make the team for my second year let alone play my hometown team,” said Curry, a wide receiver and special teams player. “I think half the people back home want to see me play on TV, but they haven’t since we’re in the Midwest. But now I know a lot of people in Philly are going to be watching now.”
Curry, a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder, is a terrific athlete. He played football, basketball and track and field at George Washington. The former Public League star played in the Sonny Hill League.
He had a great college career. He finished his career at California University in 2009. He played his first three seasons at Cheyney University. He snared 134 receptions for 2,202 yards and 14 touchdowns while earning All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference honors. Curry also played basketball for Cheyney, where he tallied 1,079 career points and snatched 606 career rebounds.
Curry hails from a sports family. His dad, Dominique Stephens played basketball with Hank Gathers, Bo Kimble and Doug Overton at Dobbins. He was on the Mustangs’ 1985 Public League championship team. Stephens played his college basketball for North Carolina Central where he helped the Eagles win the 1989 NCAA Division II national championship.
Curry’s aunt is Marilyn Stephens, who starred at Simon Gratz and played for Temple where she scored 2,194 points and grabbed 1,519 rebounds. The Owls retired her jersey, which now hangs at the Liacouras Center. They’re both head basketball coaches at Cheyney University. Dominique is the head men’s basketball coach while Marilyn is the head women’s basketball coach. They’re two of Curry’s biggest fans.
“They’re very excited for me,” Curry said. “I talked to my dad the other day. It’s really a blessing. That’s what they tell me. Now, it’s time to go to work.”
Curry has landed a spot with the Rams as an undrafted free agent. This is his second year in the NFL. During training camp, he fractured his hand and had surgery. He had a cast on his hand for a few weeks, but is now playing with his hand heavily wrapped. Nevertheless, he’s looking forward to helping St. Louis get to the next level. The Rams just missed the playoffs last year.
“We don’t want to settle for being one game away from the playoffs,” he said. “We want to make playoffs. I want to do as much as I can to help the team win.”
Curry participated in the “Legends of the Pub Camp” last summer during the NFL lockout. The camp was held at Marcus Foster Stadium, 18th and Hunting Park Avenue, for many kids throughout the city.
“It was great for the community,” Curry said. “I’m from that neighborhood. It was something really positive for the kids and the community. We had a lot of guys there like Jameel McClain (Baltimore Ravens, George Washington High). I talked to Jameel from time to time. I spoke to him and he wished me good luck this year. We actually play against each other this year. I know a lot of people in Philly will want to see that game, too.”
Baltimore will battle St. Louis on Sept. 25, but the Eagles and the Rams will be center stage today.
PHILADELPHIA — Casey Matthews has been through training camp, the preseason games and all the hype surrounding his status as the Eagles starting middle linebacker.
On Sunday, it actually happens.
"I'm really excited," Matthews, a fourth-round draft pick out of Oregon, said. "And I'm obviously looking forward to the opportunity of playing in a game that really matters. The preseason matters, but these are the ones that count."
When the Eagles travel to St. Louis for Sunday's season opener against the Rams, Matthews will be in the middle of an Eagles linebacking trio that is both young and inexperienced.
Second-year linebacker Jamar Chaney, who started three games including the wild-card playoff loss to Green Bay in the middle last year, is now on the strong side. And third-year linebacker Moise Fokou, who has 15 career starts, most of them on the strong side, is the starter on the weak side.
That's a total of 18 NFL starts for all three linebackers combined. And none for Matthews.
"I feel I progressed pretty well through camp," he said. "We didn't have the OTAs and the minicamps, because of the lockout, so it was tough coming in Day 1 and trying to run the defense. Now, I feel more comfortable, and the more reps you get, the more comfortable you feel. Things are starting to slow down and I'm starting to learn what other people are supposed to do out there besides my position. I feel like it's all coming along."
Matthews' debut comes against a rebuilding team that has its sights set on winning the NFC West this year. The key to the Rams, as it has been for the past several years, is running back Steven Jackson.
Last year, he finished seventh in the league with 1,241 yards. And this year, his presence in the backfield is paramount to the success of second-year quarterback Sam Bradford.
"He's the focal point for us," Matthews said of Jackson. "He's one of the premier backs in the league. He's the one who makes them go. You want to try to make them one dimensional if you can. If you let him get going it makes things a lot easier for Sam."
The Eagles are trying to make things easy for Matthews, the brother of Clay, a Pro Bowl linebacker with the Packers.
"Casey has done a nice job," coach Andy Reid said. "What you saw with Casey was improvement every game that he played and Juan (Castillo, the defensive coordinator) hasn't slowed down with him. He's asked him to be the primary signal caller, he attacked that innate learning ability of his and tested it.
"Casey was able to retain and make all the calls, and still, at the same time, get better every week playing football. And that's a tribute to the kid."
NOTES: Quarterback Vince Young took a few snaps at practice yesterday, but is still listed as doubtful for Sunday. If Young can't go, Mike Kafka will be the No. 2 behind Michael Vick. ... Cornerback Asante Samuel tweaked his shoulder in practice on a collision with receiver Riley Cooper. Samuel appeared to be OK, but was listed on the injury report as probable. ... Receiver Steve Smith, who suffered a microfracture in his knee while playing for the Giants last year, has made it all the way back and will play Sunday. "I really didn't know what to expect, but I had my doubts," Smith said. "I had heard nothing but bad things about the injury. To be able to play opening day, it just feels great." -- (AP)
Pro-Bowler Vick, revamped line to face Rams
When the Philadelphia Eagles face the St. Louis Cardinals in the season opener all eyes will be on Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. It’s going to be interesting to see whether or not the team’s revamped offensive line can protect the Eagles Pro Bowl signal caller.
The Eagles offensive line includes Jason Kelce (center), Evans Mathis (left guard), Jason Peters (left tackle), Kyle DeVan (right guard) and Todd Herremans (right tackle). The line hasn’t been together very long to gather any kind of consistency in terms of working as a unit. A year ago, he was sacked 34 times. He also took several big hits during the preseason. Nevertheless, this offensive line will be tested on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Fox TV Channel 29). Vick may have to use his speed and elusiveness in the pocket depending on the protection.
“Well, I’ve got a lot of confidence in Mike,” said Marty Mornhinweg, Eagles offensive coordinator. “I’ve got great confidence that he’ll use all that great athletic ability when he’s forced to use it, otherwise staying with the play and running the offense.
“I do find myself, on occasion, relying on that just a little bit, you know, and taking more calculated risks, I do do that. That could be strength, could be a weakness, for me. I think Mike relies on it, but I’ll tell you what, he’s come so far, as far as playing the quarterback position, that he really is trusting the big offensive line, and the backs and tight ends protection-wise, and he’s done a heck of job, up to date, staying with the play and using that great athletic ability if forced. We can use it in other ways as well.”
Andy Reid, Eagles head coach, has juggled personnel in the offensive line over the years. Reid has really shuffled the deck this season with hopes of providing Vick with some protection.
“Well my first couple years,” Reid said. “Obviously, when I took the job here they were all different, because I didn’t know any of them. After that first year we made some changes, and really every year for the first couple years, three or so years, we made changes, added people, moved them around, did what we do.”
The Eagles just made a huge investment in Vick. They signed him to a reported six-year $100 million contract. The Associated Press, The Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly named Vick the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year after he registered career highs in quarterback rating (100.2), completion percentage (62.6) and passing yards (3,018) en route to his fourth career Pro Bowl berth. He became just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for 3,000-plus yards, rush for 500-plus yards (676), and accrue a 100-plus quarterback rating in a season, joining Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who did so in 1992 for the San Francisco 49ers.
In addition, Vick set the Eagles single-season record among quarterbacks with nine rushing touchdowns while ranking second in team history in completion percentage, quarterback rating and interception percentage (1.6). For his efforts, Vick received of the Bert Bell NFL Player of the Year award from the Maxwell Football Club and garnered NFC Offensive Player of the Year accolades from the Kansas City 101 Awards.
The Eagles have the potential to get to the Super Bowl if all the pieces fall into place. Vick is a big part of that. He’s coming off a great year. Reid has been very impressed with his growth heading into this season.
“I think he’s gotten better this camp,” Reid said. “I think he picked up where he left off and he’s getting better every day. That’s the way it should be with every coach and every player, he should be working to do that.
“The one nice thing about football is there’s no ceiling, so you can continue to work to get yourself better every day there’s some part of your game you can do that with. He came back in phenomenal shape and with a great mindset, and wanted to take it even up another notch from last year, and he’s done that to this point. However, we’ve got to play the games and so on, and then time tells in those situations, but he sure has prepared himself well.”
There weren’t many bright spots in the Philadelphia Eagles loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week. One player who certainly stood out other than Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was tight end Clay Harbor. He had three receptions for a career-high 55 yards and one touchdown on a spectacular 16-yard pass from Vick.
“The touchdown was really a great play by Mike,” Harbor said. “If you watch it over again on the film, I’m in my half. In my part, I run a blitz out. I run a four-step out and Mike was looking front-side to the play. He had pressure and you see him duck over a couple of guys.
“Then, I saw him break out and scramble. I turned up field. It’s the old scramble drill. If you’re short, you go long. I tried to sneak behind the cornerback and got there. The cornerback was beaten inside. Mike put the ball where it needed to be. It was exciting. I got my first score of the year.”
Harbor, a 6-foot-2, 252-pounder, should be a factor again when the Eagles face the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, New York on Sunday, October 9 at 1 p.m. (Fox Channel 29.) The Eagles have utilized him as a blocker as well as a receiver. Harbor gives the team a lot of depth with Brent Celek, Eagles starting tight end. Harbor has four receptions for 72 yards and one touchdown.
Harbor was a fourth round pick out of Missouri State by the Eagles in the 2010 NFL draft. He was a three-time All-American, setting a school record with 150 career receptions for 1,906 yards and 10 TDs. In just his second year, Harbor seems to be making a sold impact.
“Every week I’m getting way more comfortable and more confident at tight end,” he said. “I think whatever I can do to help the team win, whether it’s blocking or receiving, I’m going to do that.”
The Eagles have a 1-3 record and are in last place in the NFC East. The Eagles relinquished a 20-point lead in their loss to the 49ers. Nevertheless, Harbor feels the Eagles have some positive signs heading into Sunday.
“If you look at the film, our offense is looking real well,” Harbor said. “We had 500 yards. If you rush and pass for 500 yards on offense, that’s usually a 40-point game. And we have a lot of good things on tape. We just have to clean up the red zone turnovers. We’re one of the top five offenses in the league, but we’re one of the bottom three in turnovers [too.] If we eliminate that then we’ll be right where we need to be and we could be 4-0 right now. We still have a lot of confidence as a team and we’re worrying about going to Buffalo and getting that ‘W’.”
After the Eagles blew a 20-point lead in their 24-23 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, it was a long walk back to the locker room for head coach Andy Reid and his team. There’s not a lot you can say about the Eagles right now. The team is in last place in the NFC East with a 1-3 record.
The Eagles are on the road the next couple of weeks, starting with the Buffalo Bills (3-1) on Sunday. The following week they head down to face the Washington Redskins (3-1) before going into the bye week.
Reid had better turn things around in a hurry.
This is his team. And this is it. He’s the one who made Juan Castillo his defensive coordinator. Unless you have been watching the Eagles with your eyes closed,you know the defense has been an absolute disaster. It seems as if linebackers are constantly out of position. They have trouble with the running backs in pass coverage.
The team has given up big runs all season long. It’s been a different player each week. So far, we’ve seen running backs Stephen Jackson (St. Louis Rams), Michael Turner (Atlanta Falcons) and Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers) just have their way with the Eagles’ defense. Castillo may have been a good offensive line coach. However, he seems to be in over his head as a defensive coordinator.
The offensive line has been anything but consistent. On many occasions, quarterback Michael Vick has had to run for his life. Sometimes Vick has gone back to pass and a defensive lineman is breathing down his back. Reid needs to sit down with offensive line coach Howard Mudd and get to the bottom of this situation. They can’t afford to lose Vick with a season-ending injury.
Also, the play-calling seems to be very questionable, particularly inside the five-yard line. The best thing is to keep the ball in Vick’s hands or give it to LeSean McCoy on a sweep where he can head for the flag or cut back inside for a score.
Reid also needs to sit down and have a chat with his rookie placekicker Alex Henery. You can’t miss field goals in the NFL from 33 and 39 yards away. If you can’t kick them from 40 yards out, they don’t need you. It’s as simple as that.
The season is slipping away. There’s not a lot of time to stop a ship from sinking or heading in the wrong direction. Reid has to start now. The team hit rock bottom against the 49ers.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the team responds on Sunday. Football is a game that is played from week to week. If you have a bad one, you’re supposed to come back strong the following week. It’s time for Reid to get this thing figured out before it’s too late.
Ronnie Brown, Philadelphia Eagles running back, hasn’t played in an Eagles-Giants NFC East game yet. However, Brown, who signed with the Eagles over the summer following six years with the Miami Dolphins, will get a good taste of the rivalry. The 6-foot, 230-pounder, is gearing up to face the New York Giants in the Eagles home opener at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Sept. 25 (1 p.m., Fox TV Channel 29).
“It’s new to me,” Brown said. “It’s my first year here. I’ve seen it in the past. You have a little bit back and forth, but at the end of the day you don’t really think about it when you get between those lines. It’s the scoreboard at the end of the game. So, I won’t really participate too much in that. … It’s going to be a great atmosphere. It’s the first home game. I’m expecting a big crowd. So, I’m getting ready for a big game.”
Brown signed with the Eagles during training camp. He’s been one of the Eagles major acquisitions this season. He’s a versatile running back with plenty of talent and experience. In 2005, he was a first round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins. He played six years with the Dolphins compiling 4,815 yards and 36 touchdowns. He also posted 184 receptions for 1,491 yards and 2 TDs.
Brown is a part of the Eagles high-powered offense that includes Pro Bowl quarterback Michael Vick (33-of-60 passes for 429 yards, 4TDs, 1 interception) wide receivers DeSean Jackson (15 catches for 123 yards and 1 TD) and Jeremy Maclin (14 receptions for 191 yards, 2TDs) and running back LeSean McCoy (33 carries for 217 yards, 3 TDs). Vick’s status is undetermined for Sunday. He suffered a concussion in the loss to the Atlanta Falcons. So far, Brown hasn’t put up big numbers. But he has done a lot of blocking for McCoy. He’s also a good short yardage runner.
“There are a lot of athletes on this football team,” said Brown, who has seven carries for 17 yards. “I mean just in general on both sides of the ball. We have guys to make plays in a special teams aspect, too. It’s a lot of talent running around out here.
“I think we have a chance to be a special football team. My role is growing. I think the more I get comfortable in the system the better things are going to get. LeSean is a great guy. He has tremendous talent. He works hard. He makes it easy to play beside him. He’s so enthusiastic about what he’s doing. He has all the ability in the world. He can run between the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield.
“Mike’s ability speaks for itself. He’s a run threat. He’s capable of making all the throws that’s necessary for the offense. When you have a guy like him, it’s hard to account him. You can’t assimilate him in practice because you don’t have anybody with his ability to run around like that.”
Brown has been following the exploits of his college team as well as the great exploits of Cam Newton, former Auburn All-American quarterback, who now plays for the Carolina Panthers. Newton, Panthers rookie signal caller, has been very impressive in his first two NFL games. In a 30-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers, he completed 28-of-46 passes for 432 yards and 1 TD and 3 interceptions. In his second game, he was 24-of-37 for 422 yards and 2 TDs and 1 interception as Carolina dropped a 28-21 decision to the Arizona Cardinals.
“He got off to a good real good start,” Brown said. “I think he would like to have a couple wins. But he has done a tremendous job of coming in and holding his own. I think the skies the limit for him. I think the game will slow down for him and hopefully, he’ll get better.”
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowl quarterback, suffered a concussion in Sunday’s game according to the team and published reports. But the question everybody wants answered is whether Vick will be under center when the Eagles host the New York Giants in the season opener on Sunday, Sept. 25 at the Lincoln Financial Field.
Vick was injured in the third quarter of the Eagles 35-31 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Rick Burkholder, Eagles head athletic trainer, was asked about Vick’s status. However, he couldn’t give any information in terms of when he would be able to get back on the field.
“I can’t give you a time frame on this,” Burkholder said according to the NFL.com. “That’s foolish on our part, medically, to put that out there. Everyone wants to know a time frame. Everyone wants to know whether Mike is going to play. We’re going to go through our protocol. When Mike is ready to practice, I’ll turn him over to coach and he’s going to make a decision whether he’s ready to play.”
In his 100th career game, Vick started for the first time in the Georgia Dome since 2006 and threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns for a 103.6 passer rating. Vick left the game with what head coach Andy Reid described as a concussion after colliding with Eagles offensive lineman Todd Herremans.
Vick headed to the sidelines following the injury and was replaced by backup quarterback Mike Kafka who played his first NFL game. Kafka completed seven of nine passes for 72 yards.
Vince Young, the Eagles No. 2 quarterback, has been nursing a hamstring injury and was unavailable. Reid hasn’t made a decision on who would be the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Giants. Vick will have to go through the baseline concussion tests prior to him returning to action.
“I keep emphasizing, we’re hours post-injury,” Burkholder said on NFL.com. “There’s a lot that has to go on between now and then to make that decision. For me to sit up here and guess on that, it’s not fair to Michael, it’s not fair to coach, it’s not fair to us, the NFL, anybody.”
With Vick’s situation undetermined for this week, the spotlight will be on Kafka and Young. Kafka, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, spent his rookie season as the Eagles third quarterback after being chosen in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. He was a second-team All-Big Ten selection as a senior at Northwestern in 2009 and amassed 5,152 yards of total offense and 30 touchdowns (19 passing, 11 rushing).
“You know he did play well,” said coach Andy Reid, when asked if Kafka was ready to start. “Really that last series, he did a beautiful job…I would have never traded (QB) Kevin Kolb if I didn’t have trust in Mike Kafka.”
Young, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, signed with the Eagles this summer after spending his first five seasons with the Tennessee Titans. Young was a first-round draft pick out of Texas in 2006 (third overall). Young has engineered a 30-17 record in 47 career starts after guiding Texas Longhorns to a national championship during his junior year.
“I can tell you Vince is making progress,” said Reid. “He practiced on Friday, went through some things there. Is he 100 percent? He’s getting close, we we’ll just see how things work out this week for him.”
Asked if it was a certainty that Vick will miss Sunday’s game against the Giants, Burkholder answered,” I don’t think that’s fair to say. Like I said, we’re 13 hours post-injury right now.”
ESPN.com, Associated Press and NFL.com contributed to this story.
Michael Vick went home with a broken hand and woke up with only a bad bruise.
Now that’s a testament to the miracle of modern medicine. Well, not exactly.
Eagles coach Andy Reid said a CT scan Monday showed the star quarterback has a hand “contusion.” Reid said X-rays taken during Philadelphia’s 29-16 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday showed Vick may have a fracture.
“Today, he had a scan and it showed there was no break,” Reid said. “It was a blood vessel sitting above the bone. That happens at times with X-rays. The blood vessel makes it look like it was a fracture. There is still a bunch of swelling. It is sensitive to the touch. The positive is there is not a fracture there.”
It’s uncertain if Vick, who throws left-handed, will play when the Eagles (1-2) host the San Francisco 49ers (2-1) next Sunday.
“We will see how he does over the next couple of days,” Reid said. “We have to get the swelling where it is manageable and he feels comfortable. It’s about the same right now, and it’s not to say that he can’t play with the swelling, it’s just got to be where he can bend his hand where he can work with it.”
Vick was injured on a hit from Chris Canty after completing a 23-yard pass to Jeremy Maclin in the third quarter. He finished off the series and led the Eagles to a go-ahead field goal.
Vick left for X-rays, but returned without missing a play. He then left the game for good after another series. Mike Kafka replaced him and threw two interceptions.
Reid wouldn’t say whether Kafka or Vince Young would start if Vick can’t play against the 49ers.
“He always wants to play, that’s how he is,” Reid said of Vick. “He’s a competitive guy.”
The hit from Canty didn’t sit well with Vick. He blasted officials for not calling a roughing-the-passer penalty, and said he wants to be treated like other quarterbacks.
“His best interest is always in my mind, when he’s on the football field, in particular,” Reid said. “I know he’s a marked man. I think it’s important that we all keep a close eye on him.”
Canty, of course, disagreed with Vick.
“No, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the hit when it took place,” he said. “I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the hit after looking at it again today. You know, it’s unfortunate that he got injured. We’re not out there trying to injury anyone. We’re all competitors. We’re competing at the highest level. It is unfortunate for him and unfortunate for their football team. We’re all competing. We’re all competitors. We have to go out and play hard.”
Reid and several Eagles players expressed concerns last year over late hits that weren’t called on Vick.
Asked whether he would call the league to complain, Reid said: “We’ll see.”
Better protection from the offensive line would certainly help Vick, too.
“There are a bunch of things that we can do and we can say other people need to do and all that,” Reid said. “But we’re going to keep working on things on our end, and I know people will keep working on things on their end.”
Vick started against the Giants despite suffering a concussion in the second half of a loss at Atlanta just a week earlier. He seemed out of rhythm early, but made some nice throws before getting hurt again.
In other injury news, Maclin’s hamstring strain also is better than it appeared at first.
“Initially, we thought it was more significant than that,” Reid said. “It is tender right now. The MRI came back and it wasn’t a negative thing there.”
Wideout Riley Cooper is day-to-day with a concussion, and cornerback Brandon Hughes has a hamstring strain. Defensive ends Juqua Parker (high ankle sprain) and Darryl Tapp (pectoral strain) didn’t play Sunday. — (AP)
ATLANTA — Jeremy Maclin said it didn't matter who threw the ball. He should have made the catch.
Maclin dropped a fourth-down pass deep in Atlanta territory with less than 2 minutes remaining, ending Philadelphia's last comeback attempt as the Eagles lost to the Atlanta Falcons 35-31 on Sunday night.
The Eagles lost Michael Vick to a concussion late in the third quarter. With backup Vince Young inactive with a hamstring injury, third-stringer Mike Kafka made his NFL debut.
Kafka completed 7 of 9 passes, but on fourth-and-4 from the Atlanta 22, Maclin dropped a pass over the middle from the second-year quarterback.
Maclin said he "definitely" should have made the catch.
"I'm better than that," Maclin said. "It was a very catchable ball. It was off my body a little bit. I've still got to catch that throw."
Asked about the play, Kafka said: "I know I can help him out, get it to him a little quicker."
Maclin had a huge game with 13 catches for 171 yards, including touchdown receptions of 5 and 36 yards from Vick.
Vick was injured when he was knocked by an Atlanta defender into right tackle Todd Herremans.
Vick, the former Falcons star, was making his first trip to Atlanta as a starter for another team. He returned as a backup with the Eagles in 2009, when he ran and threw for touchdowns in a 34-7 win.
Vick's return as a starter generated a strong turnout of his No. 7 jerseys, both in Eagles green and in red or black from his days with the Falcons.
Vick had mixed results before his injury. He lost two fumbles and threw an interception, but he completed 19 of 28 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns. He had six carries for 25 yards.
"I feel for him," Maclin said. "Obviously, he wanted to come home and make a statement."
Vick was not in the locker room after the game but did not go to a hospital, according to coach Andy Reid, who also said Vick would be able to fly with the team back to Philadelphia.
Matt Ryan threw a career-high four touchdown passes for Atlanta, including two to tight end Tony Gonzalez, who moved past Terrell Owens into the fifth spot on the NFL's career receiving list.
"He's a Hall of Famer," Eagles safety Kurt Coleman said of Gonzalez. "He knows how to use his body. Matt did a good job of getting the ball to him and he made the catch.
"We just didn't make plays, bottom line."
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 from the 3 with 3:24 remaining. Turner finished with 114 yards on 21 carries.
"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."
Maclin returned after taking a third-quarter hit from Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson, whose helmet-to-helmet hit on Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson last season left both players with concussions and left Robinson with a big fine.
Robinson drew another unnecessary roughness penalty after again leading with his helmet against Maclin.
"It's two for two now," Maclin said. "Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as Jackson was last year. I was all right. It almost shocked me."
Reid wouldn't say if he believes Robinson deserved another fine or other punishment from the NFL.
"That's up to the league," Reid said. "I don't deal with that. I deal with my football team getting better."
Falcons coach Mike Smith denied it was an illegal hit, saying "that's the way we teach it," but the NFL could dole out a suspension after it reviews the play.
LeSean McCoy had 18 carries for 95 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns for the Eagles (1-1).
After Maclin's drop, 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.
"I thought the guys battled," Reid said. "We just had too many turnovers, too many mistakes."
Kafka said he was ready for his first opportunity.
"I wasn't nervous," Kafka said. "I just wanted to go in and execute the offense. I had a lot of trust in the guys around me. They've got a lot of experience. Obviously they know their jobs. That's what it's all about. As long as I can go in and do my job."
Reid said Vick's status for next week will be decided by team doctors.
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.
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. Defensive end Ray Edwards returned the fumble 64 yards before Jackson made the tackle.
The Falcons offense did the rest, capped by Gonzalez's first TD catch.
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. -- (AP)
PHILADELPHIA — Andy Reid hangs onto that red challenge flag more than any coach in the NFL, so it's no surprise he didn't throw it following a questionable interception during the Eagles' 35-31 loss at Atlanta last Sunday night.
Turns out the problem wasn't Reid's reluctance to lose a precious timeout early in the third quarter. His staff simply didn't see a conclusive replay in time to tell him to challenge the call because NBC's cameras didn't show quickly enough.
This wasn't the first time this has happened to Philadelphia, either.
On the Eagles' first possession of the second half against the Falcons, Michael Vick's pass intended for Jason Avant was intercepted by Kelvin Hayden near midfield. Hayden made a diving grab, got up and ran two yards before he was tackled.
NBC showed three replays before the Falcons ran their next play, but none made it clear the ball bounced before Hayden caught it. Reid relies mostly on his assistants watching replays in the booth to tell him to challenge if it's not obvious. His staff didn't have reason to dispute Hayden's grab based on the first three replays.
The Falcons needed just two plays to score a touchdown to go up 21-10 on their way to the four-point victory.
During the commercial after the score, a producer watched a fourth replay which showed Hayden didn't make a clean catch. NBC then showed that replay, even though it was too late to change the result. NBC has more cameras for Sunday Night Football than any other network has for a regular-season game. In this case, it didn't help the Eagles.
"There was no replay for us to look at, and I actually had the people from the broadcast apologize, send me an e-mail and apologize on that," Reid explained. "But listen, that's hindsight now."
Avant had a field-level view of the play, and he ran off the field protesting the interception. But Reid wanted confirmation from his eyes in the booth.
"As a receiver, I catch balls in the dirt all the time," Avant said. "One thing that you can tell by is how quickly the guy gets up. If you catch it clean, you get up right away. But he was down on the ground because he was fumbling around with it."
The play proved to be a critical one, though other factors, including Vick suffering a concussion, contributed to Philadelphia's loss.
Still, NBC producer Fred Gaudelli apologized to Reid, and issued the following statement the next day.
"Unfortunately, it's somewhat the nature of the replay system," Gaudelli said. "Time just ran out. There were 40 seconds in between the interception and the next play from scrimmage. We were quickly able to show three replays during that span. We didn't have the fourth and conclusive replay until after the Falcons took possession. Even though it could no longer be used for a challenge, we showed that replay because it's our job to get it right. After the game I e-mailed the team because I felt bad that the conclusive play wasn't immediately available."
This wasn't the first time the Eagles were burned by slow cameras.
Last December at New Meadowlands Stadium, DeSean Jackson fumbled following a 30-yard catch and the Giants recovered at midfield. That game was broadcast on Fox. Replays showed the ball came loose after Jackson hit the ground, so it shouldn't have been ruled a fumble. Reid pulled the red flag out, held it in his right hand and waited for an assistant in the booth to tell him to throw it. But they didn't see the conclusive replay quickly enough.
The Eagles rallied furiously to win that game, 38-31, so the play didn't affect the outcome. But this makes two incidents in the last four regular-season games.
"If I have a good angle on it, I'll make that call. And if I get the support from somebody seeing a replay of it, then I'll take that," Reid said. "We've had a couple cases. I mentioned the one last year against the Giants up there, there was no replay, and this one here, there was no replay. And I didn't have a great view of either one. It was one of those things where you have to live with it, man. It's hindsight. So I'm not going to do anything about it now, there's nothing you can do."
The networks say they understand teams rely on them to show the replays, and they emphasize that they're doing the best they can.
"Our goal is to try to offer the definitive look at a key play as quickly as we can provide it," ESPN said in a statement.
Fox said the same.
"Our NFL game coverage is produced for the entertainment of fans, and our goal with replays is to run the best angle we see first and go from there given the time available," Fox said in its statement.
The Eagles have had fewer challenges than any other team since Reid became head coach in 1999. Given their recent luck, perhaps Reid should toss that red flag more often. -- (AP)