No coach in the NFL knows the strengths and weaknesses of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick as well as Andy Reid. It was no surprise, then, that the Kansas City Chiefs' formidable defense came up with a solution for Chip Kelly's innovative offense in Reid's triumphant return to Philadelphia.
Vick accepted "sole responsibility" for a sloppy performance in a 26-16 loss that included five turnovers and five sacks allowed for just the second time since 1996.
Outside of one impressive touchdown drive highlighted by a perfect read on his own 61-yard run and a beautiful 22-yard touchdown pass to Jason Avant, Vick was flustered throughout. He was off target, indecisive and exhibited poor footwork, field vision and awareness.
In short, this was 2012 Vick. Even with the 95 rushing yards, it was evident that Vick has not regained his lost step from last season. He's simply not the dynamic playmaker he was in his magical comeback season of 2010.
He can get way with that diminished skill set against the likes of the Washington Redskins and San Diego Chargers. The Chiefs' defense is next-level material.
Here's what else we learned in Thursday night's game:
- Let's hear it for Rex Ryan's former defensive assistants. Mario Williamsracked up 4.5 sacks in Mike Pettine's attack scheme last week. The Chiefs' Justin Houston nearly matched Williams' total while adding three passes defensed and two fumble recoveries in Thursday's victory. Bob Sutton's defense is legit, with Houston, Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali and Derrick Johnson all playing at a Pro Bowl level to anchor a ferocious front seven. Strong safety Eric Berry is off to the best start of his career as well. The Chiefs already are more than halfway to their 2012 total of 27 sacks.
- After watching the Chiefs in the season opener, I wondered if Alex Smith might have a chance to eventually be viewed as the best "game manager" we've ever seen. Thursday was just his fifth win against 16 losses when he's tasked with 35-plus pass attempts. He plays like a quarterback who trusts his legs more than his arm, never challenging defenses in a crowded area. It's not pretty, but it's a formula that works with a dominant defense and the guidance of quarterback gurus such as Andy Reid, Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman. Smith now is 22-5-1 in his last 28 games.
- Look for Jamaal Charles to receive consideration when Gregg Rosenthal resumes his MVP forecast column. For the second consecutive week, Charles sealed the victory by powering through tired defenders and effectively killing the clock. Without him, the Chiefs' offense would resemble the lifeless Pittsburgh Steelers.
- No. 1 overall draft pick Eric Fisher struggled mightily (again) for the Chiefs. He was the weak link on their offensive line. "When he gets in trouble, it's when he gets too tall -- too much tippy-toe," NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock explained.
- The Eagles' porous secondary made Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery look like Eddie Royal. This defense proved conclusively that it cannot cover crossing routes, as the majority of Avery's 141 yards came after the catch. Safety is a position that will be addressed early in next year's draft.
- LeSean McCoy shook off a scary second-quarter ankle injury to rush for the third-most yards (158) of his career. His 514 yards from scrimmage are the 11th-most in NFL history through three games. Thursday was the first time since 1973 that the Eagles rushed for 260+ yards and lost the game.
- Vick rolled both of his ankles late in the fourth quarter. He said afterward that the pain went away quickly and he would have re-entered the game if the Eagles got the ball back.
- The NFC East is 0-7 outside the division.