FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Eagles coach Andy Reid figures Michael Vick will be ready for the regular season even if he misses Philadelphia’s two remaining exhibition games.
At least he wouldn’t get hurt again.
For his second consecutive game, Philadelphia’s star quarterback lasted just six plays then went for X-rays, this time on his ribs. They were negative, just as they were on his left thumb 11 days earlier.
“I’d probably like to see him play a little bit more, but he’s got enough experience,” Reid said after the Eagles beat the New England Patriots 27-17 on Monday night.
Tom Brady sat out the game for the Patriots (No. 2 in the AP Pro32). The New England quarterback figures to play Friday night in the team’s third preseason game, at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Other healthy starters, including wide receivers Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo, were held out of the game.
That gave players trying to make the team more time on the field.
“We got to look at a lot of players,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, “evaluate them against a good football team.”
One of them was Cunningham, a disappointment since being drafted in the second round in 2010. But he made an early impact when he hit Vick with about nine minutes gone in the game.
“That is just football,” Cunningham said, “going out there and getting the person with the ball.”
Vick went 1 for 3 for 5 yards with one run for another 5 yards. After Cunningham drove his helmet into Vick’s left side, the quarterback went down, got up slowly then knelt on one knee. He was checked by medical personnel before going to the sideline under his own power.
“Mike’s tough,” McCoy said. “I kind of figured it would be all right, even though he took kind of a big blow.”
The Eagles (No. 8) also have just three days between games. Vick had been expected to play at least a half on Monday night.
“We’re not talking about a rookie, so I think he’d be OK.”
Vick doesn’t have much time to get over his soreness. Philadelphia plays Friday night at the Cleveland Browns.
“I’m not that concerned, other than he’s hurt,” Reid said. “I want to make sure he heals up and get him back in there. Hopefully, he doesn’t get hurt again.”
Vick was knocked down by linebacker Jermaine Cunningham after heaving a long pass in the first quarter. In a 24-23 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug. 9, he smacked his thumb on the helmet of center Jason Kelce.
In both games, rookie Nick Foles came off the bench to throw two touchdown passes. Last year’s No. 2 quarterback, Mike Kafka, missed Monday night’s game with a hand injury. Trent Edwards also played against the Patriots.
Foles, a third-round draft pick from Arizona, finished 18 for 28 for 217 yards and touchdown passes to Clay Harbor of 1 and 3 yards.
“He did a great job,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “In the huddle he demanded respect. He put everybody in the right places at the right times.”
McCoy scored on a 1-yard run and Alex Henery kicked a 42-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 24-17 lead with 33 seconds left in the third quarter, and a 21-yarder that capped the scoring with 2:00 remaining.
For the Patriots (1-1), third-stringer Ryan Mallett completed 10 of 20 passes for 105 yards, including a 7-yard scoring pass to Alex Silvestro. Brian Hoyer was just 5 for 17 for 55 yards.
“Ryan’s a very confident player, both him and Brian,” wide receiver Deion Branch said, “but it’s hard for them because they have to play behind Tom Brady.”
Stephen Gostkowski kicked field goals of 51, 35 and 55 yards for the Patriots, who have scored just two preseason touchdowns.
Vick’s departure didn’t change much for the Patriots despite his scrambling ability, defensive end Chandler Jones said.
“It’s the same offensive scheme they’re running,” he said.
Vick wasn’t the only first-stringer knocked out of the game. Philadelphia cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and New England safety Patrick Chung went out in the first half with shoulder injuries.
The Patriots led 11-0 after Silvestro’s touchdown 1:16 into the second quarter and a two-point conversion run by Shane Vereen. Then two lost fumbles within a span of just six plays led to two Eagles touchdowns.
Rookie Brandon Bolden muffed a punt, and McCoy scored three plays later. On the Patriots’ second play after that, Hoyer fumbled when he was sacked by Phillip Hunt and Darryl Tapp recovered at the New England 12. Foles hit DeSean Jackson for an 11-yard completion on the next play before connecting with Harbor.
The Eagles took the lead for good, 21-14, with 3:58 gone in the third quarter on Harbor’s second touchdown.
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