With Vick ruled out for the game against the 49ers, Kevin Kolb stepped back into the starting role for the first time since Week 1. This was Kolb’s chance to once again prove himself to the NFL that he has what it takes to be an efficient quarterback in this league. As if there wasn’t enough pressure playing behind the re-surged Michael Vick, Kolb was playing in the Sunday night prime time game in front of a national audience.
Kolb came out Sunday night and played a very effective game against a blood thirsty 49ers team in search of their first victory of the year. Right out of the shoot, the 49ers took the ball down the field and scored a touchdown, putting the Eagles in a 7-0 deficit in the first quarter. However, Kolb showed his resilience by answering with a 6-6, 75 yard drive to tie the game up at 7. During the drive, he showed poise in the pocket and rolled right, avoiding two 49er defenders, to connect with Brent Celek for an 8-yard touchdown pass. I was very impressed with the way Kolb responded to the early deficit.
For the remainder of the first half, Kolb was in a rhythm with the offense and the Eagles were moving the ball both through the air and on the ground. Yes, the Eagles were actually running the ball. This balance allowed the Eagles to run play-action, which allowed Kolb the time to pick apart the 49ers defense.
While the second half was more a struggle, Kolb continued to be accurate and even used his legs to pick up a key first down on a 3rd and long. The offensive line played much better, but Kolb was forced outside the pocket on a couple plays where his decision making allowed the Eagles to continue to move the ball. This was the Kolb that we saw last year and that most expected to see coming into the season.
Last week, Kolb was criticized for hitting his check down receiver too often and not looking down field. Well on Sunday night, Kolb showed that he has the ability to throw the ball down the field accurately. Kolb connected several times down the field with Maclin and Celek. Kolb did not force the ball and he didn’t make many mistakes. His one miscue was during the end of the first half when he fumbled during a 3rd down play. This led to a 49er field goal attempt that was kicked wide at the end of the half.
Regardless of how well Kolb played, Vick is the starting quarterback of this team for the remainder of the year. Andy Reid is not going to all of a sudden go back to Kolb. While the game was against a 0-4 opponent, the 49ers are much better than their record indicates. Kolb deserves the game ball this for his outstanding performance and decision making on the field. His final numbers were 21-31 for 253 yards and 1 TD and 0 interceptions, gaining his first road victory of his short career.