PITTSBURGH - Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's streak of mistake-free games ended at one on Sunday.
He coughed up a pair of fumbles, including one that negated a potential touchdown, against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first quarter of a 16-14 loss at Heinz Field.
Vick has committed 11 of the team's league-high 14 turnovers - six interceptions and five fumbles.
"I wish I could tell you why (the fumbles are happening), but I don't have any explanation," Vick said. "It's football. Things happen. That's how it goes in the NFL. There are plenty of things I wish I could have back through the course of the season, but you can't get them."
He undoubtedly would like to have his first official fumble on Sunday back.
The Eagles had driven to the Steelers' 3-yard line when Vick took a shotgun snap and turned upfield toward the goal line. Safety Ryan Clark pried the football loose and it rolled into the end zone, where linebacker Larry Foote recovered it for a touchback.
Had the Eagles even managed a field goal on that possession, they may have won.
"The turnovers early hurt us," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "You can't do that in a good place in a stadium on the road against a good football team. We fixed the problem in the second half. The first half is where we needed to take care of the football."
One week after Vick played an errorless game against the New York Giants, his troubles returned. He first lost control of the ball early in the second series when it came loose as he tried to dive forward for extra yardage, but the fumble was reversed on Reid's challenge.
It didn't save the Eagles for long, however.
That drive ended with Vick's fumble into the end zone. Three plays into the Eagles' next possession, he lost another one when Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons hit him and Foote recovered the ball again.
"The fumble on the goal line, the guy (Clark) just put his helmet right on the ball," Vick said. "I tried to protect it, but it came out, and I can't do anything about it.
"I've never had a problem with fumbling before. It was just one of those things. Everything happens for a reason and if it was meant to be, I wouldn't have fumbled the ball at the goal line. I have no explanation for it."
After his second turnover, Vick pulled on a pink-and-green Eagles baseball cap and took a seat on the heated bench between wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. A few minutes later, tackle Todd Herremans ventured over and exchanged a hand slap with the beleaguered Vick.
Despite the quarterback's mistakes, Reid had no intention of benching Vick in favor of rookie Nick Foles.
"He didn't want to come in and fumble the ball," Reid said. "He tried to make plays and they hit the ball and knocked it out of his hands."
Vick rewarded Reid's faith by engineering a pair of second-half touchdown drives. He cut the Steeler' lead to 13-7 with a short pass that running back LeSean McCoy turned into a 15-yard TD. The Eagles then converted a pair of fourth-down plays during a series that ended with Vick's 2-yard TD pass to tight end Brent Celek. That throw gave the Eagles a 14-13 lead with 6 minutes, 33 seconds left in regulation.
Vick completed 20-of-30 passes for 175 yards and no interceptions. He finished with a quarterback efficiency rating of 104.2. But the only number that really mattered was 2.
Two fumbles that wound up costing the Eagles.
"I'm not really frustrated," Vick said. "I'm more hurt than anything that we didn't pull it out. We can't let the turnovers happen week in and week out, but the good thing is that we fought back.
"I think we did a great job. In the game of football, you can't be perfect on every play. You're not going to do everything right. If that was the case, I'd be sitting here with a different set of emotions."
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