The lockout didn’t bother Michael Vick. It simply left him with fresh legs for the season opener.
The Eagles quarterback was in dazzling form and Philadelphia’s other game-breakers were hard to catch, too, as the visitors opened their self-proclaimed Super Bowl drive with a 31-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams yesterday.
“It felt great to know that I can go out and play lights-out, not have to worry about anything,’’ Vick said. “I feel better than I’ve ever felt before and I give a lot of credit with the situation with the CBA, giving us a lot of time to get rest and to prepare ourselves.
“I feel like I can play another four quarters right now.’’
Vick rushed for 98 yards and passed for two scores, LeSean McCoy scored twice, and DeSean Jackson topped 100 yards receiving. The Eagles had 239 yards rushing and were 8 for 11 on third downs. And yet, Vick felt it was far from perfect. He was 14 of 32 for 187 yards.
“I’m thankful for the victory, don’t get me wrong,’’ said Vick, who recently signed a six-year, $100 million contract. “I just wish it could have been a little cleaner.’’
The Rams couldn’t keep up, especially after losing stars Steven Jackson and Sam Bradford. Jackson will undergo an MRI today for a right quadriceps injury. X-rays were negative on Bradford’s right index finger.
The Eagles defense applied constant pressure and piled up five sacks, two by Jason Babin. Darryl Tapp forced a fumble by Bradford that led to an easy 56-yard touchdown return by Juqua Parker in the first quarter.
Jackson said he was hurt toward the end of his 47-yard scoring run on the Rams’ first offensive play, even though he was untouched until a defender got a piece of his leg a step from the end zone.
Bradford was injured when he struck the helmet of an Eagles defender on the follow-through to a pass in the fourth quarter. Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Bradford’s injury could be nerve related, although the quarterback said he’d play in next week’s Monday night game at the Giants.
Bears 30, Falcons 12 Brian Urlacher had an interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown, Jay Cutler threw for 312 yards and two scores, and host Chicago pounded Matt Ryan and Atlanta in a matchup between reigning division champions.
Urlacher picked off a Ryan pass to set up an early 56-yard touchdown catch by Matt Forte, and in the third quarter the linebacker picked up a fumble by Ryan and scored from 12 yards to make it 30-6. The fumble was the result of a Julius Peppers sack.
Ryan (31 of 47, five sacks) passed for more yards than Cutler with 319, but the Falcons never established any kind of rhythm.
Bills 41, Chiefs 7 Ryan Fitzpatrick fired four touchdown passes, two to journeyman tight end Scott Chandler, and Buffalo handed Kansas City its worst home loss in 35 years.
Fitzpatrick finished with 208 yards passing in a pinpoint performance, and Fred Jackson added 112 yards rushing for the Bills. Chandler came in with one catch in 14 career games, but had five for 63 yards against Kansas City’s inept pass defense.
The Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles had just 56 yards on the ground against the league’s worst run defense last season.
Redskins 28, Giants 14 Rex Grossman spread the ball around against a shorthanded Giants defense and completed 21 of 34 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns, and rookie Ryan Kerrigan had a 9-yard interception return for a score that helped host Washington put away New York.
The Giants’ Eli Manning completed 18 of 32 passes for 268 yards and was sacked four times by a Redskins defense that ranked 31st last year. New York generated only 102 yards in the second half.
Jaguars 16, Titans 14 With Tennessee’s Chris Johnson a nonfactor, host Jacksonville dominated most of the first three quarters and used some clutch plays late to edge the Titans. Maurice Jones-Drew scored untouched on a 21-yard run on the Jaguars’ first possession, and Luke McCown managed the offense a week after being named starting quarterback.
Making his Titans debut, Matt Hasselbeck completed 21 of 34 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns to Kenny Britt. He avoided any major errors until he was intercepted by Dwight Lowery on the final play.
Bengals 27, Browns 17 A.J. Green caught Cleveland’s defense napping for his first career catch, a 41-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, giving Cincinnati a stunning road win that spoiled the NFL coaching debut of Cleveland’s Pat Shurmur.
Green was left uncovered by the Browns, who were slow coming out of the huddle on the third-and-11 play. All Gradkowski, on in relief of injured rookie Andy Dalton, had to do was lob the ball to Green. The speedy wideout did the rest, scoring with 4:28 left.
Lions 27, Buccaneers 20 Matthew Stafford had a big day in Tampa, completing 24 of 33 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns, leading Detroit to its fifth consecutive victory dating to last season. Stafford’s scoring tosses covered 1 and 36 yards to Calvin Johnson and 11 yards to Tony Scheffler.
The Lions outgained the Buccaneers, 147 to 4, in the opening quarter and finished with 431 yards of total offense to Tampa Bay’s 313.
Chargers 24, Vikings 17 Fullback Mike Tolbert’s third touchdown, a 19-yard pass from Philip Rivers with 5:01 to play, lifted San Diego over visiting Minnesota. Tolbert also scored on a 7-yard run and had a 1-yard TD catch, and Rivers completed 33 of 48 passes for 335 yards.
The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson had 98 yards on 16 carries one day after signing a contract extension potentially worth $100 million. Minnesota led, 17-7, at halftime thanks to Percy Harvin’s 103-yard return of the opening kickoff, but gained only 26 yards in the second half.
Cardinals 28, Panthers 21 Two new Cardinals carried Arizona at home. Rookie Patrick Peterson had an 89-yard punt return for the go-ahead touchdown, and Kevin Kolb passed for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
Carolina’s Cam Newton, the No. 1 overall pick, had a magnificent debut. He completed 24 of 37 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. His 422 yards passing are a record for any rookie in his NFL opener.
49ers 33, Seahawks 17 Ted Ginn Jr. returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in a minute’s span late in the fourth quarter, sparking host San Francisco in Jim Harbaugh’s NFL coaching debut.