"All I had to do was break contain up the middle," Vick said, "but they have very good defensive linemen up the middle [ Darwin Walker, Corey Simon] and three linebackers who came to play." Funny, but Vick didn't even know the name of his biggest tormentor of the day. Of the Philly defensive ends, he said, "They had Jevon Kearse on one end and another good defensive end [Burgess] on the other side."
while the wind and cold bothered one quarterback-- Vick completed 11 of 24 passes for 136 yards, throwing one interception and putting a few other balls up for grabs-- McNabb was on top of his game. At practice last Friday, Reid had asked McNabb what he'd like to run on the first play against the Falcons. "I never do that," Reid said after the game. "I always make up the script for our first 15 plays, but I wanted to see what he was thinking. He really surprised me. He said, 'Fox 2 Double Short Comeback.'" A quick-out pattern by Todd Pinkston.
"I said, 'You're kidding. That's the last play I thought you'd call,'" Reid said. "He sort of blew that play twice last week, but here, in the biggest game of the year, it's the play he wants to start the game with. That kind of tells you a little bit about the guy, doesn't it?"
This time McNabb made the play, a 13-yard strike, look easy, and afterward he said it was the most important offensive call of the game. "It set the tempo," he explained. "It showed we weren't going to sit back and play conservative in this weather."
That drive stalled, but Philadelphia scored touchdowns on its second (a Dorsey Levens four-yard run) and third ( Lewis's nimble three-yard TD catch) possessions to take a 14--10 halftime lead. Two David Akers field goals and Lewis's second touchdown grab with 3:21 left sealed the win. ( Lewis suffered a severely sprained left foot on that play, was scheduled for surgery on Wednesday and will miss the Super Bowl.)
On the way to their locker room afterward, Eagles players chanted, "One more! One more!" Watching the AFC Championship Game on the TV in his office, Reid got a glimpse of how hard it will be to win one more. "What happened?" he said, looking up at the score. "I go into the shower, and the Patriots are up 10--3. Now it's 24--3. What's going on here?" A Tom Brady touchdown pass and a Rodney Harrison interception return for a touchdown, that's what. "Amazing," Reid said of the Pats. "That is one amazing football team."
As Mitchell said after New England had polished off the Pittsburgh Steelers, "Beating the Patriots won't be a cakewalk, but we need [to win the Super Bowl] for closure. We need it to be a great team."