PHILADELPHIA — When Eagles quarterback Michael Vick looked around the huddle before beginning another fourth-quarter comeback Sunday, he saw a few unfamiliar faces.
Center Jason Kelce, left tackle King Dunlap and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had all left the game with injuries. They were replaced by a former practice squad member (Dallas Reynolds), a player who had been demoted and deactivated last week (Demetress Bell) and an undrafted rookie free agent (Damaris Johnson).
The Eagles’ offense still came through in the clutch for the second straight game, this time driving 80 yards for the game-winning touchdown in a 24-23 victory over Baltimore at Lincoln Financial Field.
“It says a lot for the guys coming off the sideline and goes to show they’ve been doing a good job during the week of studying and paying attention,” Vick said. “They understand the concept that any given moment you can be out on the field and they stepped in. Those guys did a tremendous job out there for us today.”
Reynolds, who spent the last three seasons on the Eagles’ practice squad, made his NFL debut late in the third quarter after Kelce suffered a sprained right knee when the Ravens’ Ed Reed fell on his leg while Kelce was blocking for running back LeSean McCoy.
Kelce left the stadium on crutches and is scheduled to undergo an MRI today.
“It doesn’t hurt that much right now, but it doesn’t feel like I can go out and play a game today,” Kelce said. “I wasn’t in pain as much as shock and fear that something serious is wrong.”
Two plays later, Vick hit Maclin for a 23-yard touchdown.
“We let Dallas know that we have confidence in him,” left guard Evan Mathis said. “And we could see the confidence in his eyes. Dallas has been preparing for this opportunity for a long time.”
Bell, who signed with the Eagles as a free agent this past offseason, was summoned on the next series when Dunlap limped off with a strained hamstring. Bell entered training camp as a starter but was demoted halfway through the preseason and was inactive for last week’s 17-16 victory at Cleveland. Johnson joined Reynolds and Dunlap on the field just a few plays later when Maclin aggravated his hip pointer while blocking.
Again, the offense kept rolling. The Eagles drove to the Ravens’ 5-yard line on that series to set up place-kicker Alex Henery’s 23-yard field goal that tied the game at 17-17.
Reynolds and Bell left the locker room immediately after the game and were unavailable for comment.
“One of them (Reynolds) touched the ball on every snap, so you have to give them credit,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “(Coming off the bench) is not an easy thing to do and they battled through it. From what I could see, they all did a pretty nice job.”
The entire offense did a nice job on the final drive. Vick needed 10 plays and a penalty to cover the 80 yards. He ended the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 1 minute, 55 seconds left in regulation.
Tight end Brent Celek was a huge factor down the stretch, catching two passes for 37 yards during the drive. He finished with a team-high eight receptions for a career-high 157 yards. He also provided two of the biggest highlights.
He got the crowd riled up when he absorbed a vicious hit by Ravens safety Bernard Pollard late in the first quarter. Celek hung onto the ball for a 21-yard gain and then slowly got to his feet and signaled first down. In the third quarter, he hurdled Reed during a 24-yard pickup.
“I took a shot on that one play, but I just didn’t want to let (the Ravens) know that they got me that hard,” Celek said. “I wanted to get the crowd going and my team going. As for the hurdling, I’m not the most athletic tight end by any stretch, but when someone is coming at my knees, I try to go over them.
“Just to win this game feels amazing. Coming from behind every week is not something you wish for, but we’ll take it. It just shows the heart of our team. We have a never-lose attitude.”
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