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(Sunday, September 12th)
Final Score: Green Bay 27, Philadelphia 20
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Aaron Rodgers threw for 188 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Green Bay held on for a 27-20 win over Philadelphia in an injury-plagued season-opener at Lincoln Financial Field.
Rodgers connected with Greg Jennings and Donald Driver for scores and was also intercepted twice on 19-of-31 throws. Jennings led all receivers with 82 yards on five receptions, while Driver hauled in his 50th career touchdown amid a five-catch, 30-yard day.
Ryan Grant limped off in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return. Brandon Jackson filled in admirably and ran for 63 yards on 18 carries as Green Bay (1-0) won its fourth straight season opener.
It was the Packers' first win in Philadelphia since 1962, having lost nine consecutive trips to the City of Brotherly Love.
"I thought it was a gutty performance on both sides of the ball. I knew they had like five players injured on their side of the ball and we had a number of guys go down. We feel very fortunate to come out of here with a win. This is a tough place to play and a tough football team to play against," said Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.
Kevin Kolb's long-awaited tenure as the Eagles' starting quarterback was met with disaster. The fourth-year pro was making his third career start and first since the team shipped long-time signal-caller Donovan McNabb to the Redskins in the offseason.
Kolb was flat in completing 5-of-10 passes for 24 yards before being knocked out of the game with a concussion. He was chased down from behind by the Packers' Clay Matthews on a third-down scramble and landed hard on the ground under the weight of the tackle. His head and left knee were driven into the turf simultaneously as he fumbled the ball out of bounds.
Kolb came back out for the next series before being replaced by Michael Vick to start the second half. Vick was crisp in hitting on 16-of-24 throws for 175 yards and a touchdown in leading Philadelphia back from a 17-point deficit in the fourth. He ran for another 103 yards on 11 attempts but the Eagles (0-1) fell just short in the end.
Matthews put forth a dogged effort on defense for Green Bay, totaling seven tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. He stopped Vick on 4th-and-1 at the Green Bay 42 on the first play after the two-minute warning to essentially seal the victory.
"I thought our defense started the game strong and our offense was very slow. I was proud of the way the guys finished. It came right down to that last drive, and doggone it, one-yard, and we were still moving that thing," said Eagles head coach Andy Reid of the comeback bid. I think Michael did a phenomenal job today. He brought the team back [and] kept his poise."
The Green Bay offense clicked to rattle off most of its points in a 20-minute span over the middle two quarters after the sides traded field goals in a sluggish start.
Rodgers got the Pack in the end zone for the first time with under two minutes to go in the first half. Jennings hauled in a 16-yard pass on third down to reach the Eagles' 20 and Rodgers fired a six-yard scoring strike to Driver on 3rd-and-goal to net a 10-3 lead.
Philadelphia went three-and-out and it became a 13-3 game at the break. Rodgers went into the shotgun and moved the offense into field goal position in just 41 seconds before Mason Crosby made good on a 56-yard boot.
The Eagles started the second half with the ball but it was quickly back in Green Bay hands after Charles Woodson forced a fumble from Eldra Buckley. The Packers went 62 yards in 10 plays capped by John Kuhn's three-yard TD run.
Vick came back to lead the hosts' first touchdown drive, hitting on short passes across the middle and reeling off a vintage 31-yard scramble. McCoy appeared to score on a two-yard rush that was wiped out by a holding penalty. He took it right back in, though, on a 12-yard run to make it a 10-point game.
Any momentum Philadelphia had hoped to gain was quashed, as Rodgers had the Pack back on the scoreboard in under three minutes thanks in part to a 51-yard kickoff return by Jordy Nelson that set up the offense at midfield. Jennings got behind the defense and Rodgers went over the top for a 32-yard score and a 27-10 lead after three quarters.
Vick then orchestrated a quick nine-play, 79-yard drive -- buoyed by a 27-yard completion to Brent Celek down the seam -- and capped by a 17-yard strike to Maclin at the back of the end zone.
Rodgers was picked off by rookie Nate Allen on the third play of the ensuing series to give the Eagles new life. They took over at midfield and drove down to the five, but the drive stalled there and David Akers had to kick a 24-yard field goal.
That left 5:37 left to play and Philadelphia's defense forced the Packers to punt a little more than a minute later. Vick scrambled twice to pick up 25 yards but was also sacked on successive plays. He found Jason Avant in the middle of the field to set up 4th-and-1, but a called sneak for Vick was stuffed at the line by Matthews and Green Bay kneeled down to kill the rest of the clock.
"We just didn't get it. On a play like that everybody has to go out and get it, including me," aid Vick of the failed 4th-and-1.
Kolb's injury was just the beginning for what could be a potentially devastating opening game for the Eagles...Linebacker Stewart Bradley was also lost to a concussion in a nasty collision with a teammate in the second quarter. Running back Leonard Weaver had to be helped off the field with what was being called a left knee sprain, but may be a torn ACL according to coach Reid. Reid did confirm that center Jamaal Jackson has a torn biceps muscle...Grant ran for 45 yards on eight carries before exiting...McCoy ran for 35 yards and caught five passes for 47 yards to lead the receivers. Maclin, Avant and DeSean Jackson each recorded four catches...The Eagles celebrated the 50th anniversary of their 1960 NFL Championship victory over the Packers in a pre-game ceremony. It proved to be the great Vince Lombardi's only career playoff loss...Reid fell to 5-3 against the franchise for which he served as an assistant coach from 1992-1998...Juqua Parker had two of the Eagles' three sacks against Rodgers.
09/12 21:45:22 ET
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