's ball security has been an issue for the second straight season. (CSM /Landov)
Michael Vick entered Sunday with a whopping nine turnovers through the Eagles' first four games. He piled a couple more mistakes on that total early against the Steelers.
Vick coughed up a pair of fumbles in the first quarter -- plus a third that Pittsburgh recovered; Vick was ruled down on the play after a review. And in the third quarter, Vick fumbled again, with the Eagles recovering that one.
That gives him eight fumbles, with five lost, so far this season.
The first miscue that held up came on the same drive as the play Vick was ruled down on. On a designed run on 1st-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 3, Vick dove for the goal line but was hit by Ryan Clark before he got there. The collision popped the ball loose, and Pittsburgh recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
Later in the quarter, Vick attempted to scramble -- after spending a substantial amount of time in the pocket behind decent blocking -- and Lawrence Timmons stripped him of the football. The Steelers recovered that fumble, too, though the Eagles defense put together a nice stand to keep them from turning it into points.
Vick's turnover issues have been extreme enough, despite a 3-1 start to the season, for coach Andy Reid to hint at the possibility that he'd consider pulling Vick for Nick Foles if they continued. "Right now we're with Michael. We'll evaluate it as we go," Reid said, before clarifying a day later, after his initial comments made headlines, by adding, "Michael's our quarterback. Period. Michael's our quarterback." It's a little take-what-you-get scenario with Vick; the Eagles know that his style of play means that he'll cough the ball up from time to time.
But this Philadelphia offense cannot afford for Vick to continue making mistakes in the quantities that he's making them.
Vick did bounce back after halftime Sunday, despite the early near-turnover, to rally Philadelphia to 14 points and a slim 14-13 lead on Pittsburgh. The Steelers responded, using a last-second field goal to secure a 16-14 win.
And that outcome ought to have Vick wondering what might have been if he'd just protected the football.