PHILADELPHIA -- It wasn‚??t a big problem for the Philadelphia Eagles standing up to the bullying tactics of the Baltimore Ravens.
The bigger concern was the Eagles once again were fighting themselves.
Somehow, the Eagles overcame both challenges Sunday, and once again turned a turnover-filled game into late-game triumph when Michael Vick‚??s 1-yard touchdown dive with just under two minutes to play produced a remarkable 24-23 victory over Baltimore.
"It just shows how good we can be," Vick said.
The Eagles could be even better if they could hang onto the ball, but for the second straight week they proved error-prone.
Vick threw two interceptions, the Eagles fumbled away the ball twice more and, as a result, they were forced to rally back from a 17-7 halftime deficit.
"I‚??d like to see how it looks like when you don‚??t have the turnovers," said Eagles coach Andy Reid, whose team also beat the Cleveland Browns by a point in last week‚??s season opener despite Vick‚??s four interceptions and a fumble in the running game. "We battled through it."
"It‚??s nothing to brag about," said Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who lost his second fumble in as many weeks. "I don‚??t want to say, ‚??We have turnovers, we‚??re still going to win.‚??‚?Ě
The Eagles weren‚??t the only ones making mistakes.
On Philadelphia‚??s winning touchdown drive Sunday, a pass from Vick was initially ruled a fumble by the NFL‚??s replacement officials before a replay review correctly changed the call to an incomplete pass.
The officials also had the option to call intentional grounding on the play, since Vick was in the pocket while in the grasp of a Ravens defender when he got off a throw that didn‚??t reach the line of scrimmage and didn‚??t appear to be directed toward an eligible target. But that penalty possibility was never discussed, as the officials set the ball at the 1-yard line and announced it was fourth down -- when it was really third-and-goal.
"Listen, they‚??re trying to do their job to the best of their ability, put into this situation," Reid said of the officials.
On the next play, Vick knifed across the goal line from a yard out with 1:55 to play and Alex Henery kicked the winning PAT.
That decided a game that was decisively physical from the start.
A few fights broke out throughout the day, starting with a first-quarter shoving match between Eagles safety Kurt Coleman and Ravens receiver Anquan Bolden, and a later skirmish involving Coleman and Ravens running back Ray Rice.
"It came quick," Coleman said of the emotional outbursts. "The Baltimore Ravens want to see who‚??s intimidated by them. They try to intimidate you. That‚??s one of their strategies, to get you out of your game."
For awhile, it appeared to be working.
After Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins recovered a fumble deep in Ravens territory, McCoy punched it in for the game‚??s first points. But Baltimore quickly punched back.
Vonta Leach scored on a 5-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, Jacoby Jones snagged Joe Flacco‚??s 21-yard touchdown dart in the second and for good measure, Justin Tucker tied a Ravens long-distance record by drilling a 56-yard field goal to put the Eagles in a 17-7 hole a second before halftime.
"We were angry at ourselves," Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson said, "and said to each other that in the second half, it would be totally different."
Middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans had an interception on Baltimore‚??s first possession of the second half and Vick cashed it in by connecting with Jeremy Maclin on a 23-yard touchdown strike.
Vick followed that by directing a 60-yard scoring drive that ended when Henery‚??s 23-yard field goal tied the game at 17.
But Baltimore wasn‚??t quite done.
Tucker launched a 51-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and converted a 48-yarder with 4:43 remaining for a 23-17 Ravens lead.
"He kicked great, did a nice job," Ravens coach -- and former Eagles assistant -- John Harbaugh said.
Missing two starting lineman and Maclin -- who all suffered injuries during the game -- the Eagles offense marched 80 yards against Baltimore‚??s vaunted defense for the winning score.
Vick sparked the drive -- fueled by a no-huddle look the Eagles sprung on the Ravens -- by first finding Jackson with a 14-yard pass. Then Vick really got hot, hitting tight end Brett Celek with throws of 24 and 13 yards, and setting up his winning run with a 19-yard strike to Clay Harbor.
"The two-minute (offense) gives you a rhythm, it just kind of negates what the defense can do," Vick said. "It‚??s great to go no-huddle. It just pushes the pace. Nobody ever saw us do it before. It‚??s something we added into our arsenal."
"We‚??re 2-0," Ryans said. "We‚??re excited about it and we‚??re happy about it. A win is a win. Anytime you can get one, no matter how you get it, it counts as a W. It‚??s not perfect."
But the record is.
"The best game," Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said, "is yet to come."