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Eagles' Vick fumbling at an alarming rate

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Michael Vick has fumbled in the pocket, fumbled on scrambles and fumbled when he hasn't even been hit.

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The bottom line: Vick is turnover-prone.

Vick's inability to hold onto the ball cost the Philadelphia Eagles a win at Pittsburgh on Sunday. He lost two more fumbles in a 16-14 loss to the Steelers, bringing his season total to five in five games.

Vick also had another fumble that was recovered by a teammate and one more that didn't count because it was overturned on replay.

Overall, he's put the ball on the ground eight times this season.

``There's nobody more competitive than this guy,'' coach Andy Reid said Monday. ``He knows that he can't fumble. He knows he can't have turnovers. Nobody knows it more than the player. He doesn't want to go out there and do those things.''

Yet he does at alarming rate.

The first time Vick lost control of the ball came at the end of a 9-yard run to the Steelers 42 in the first quarter. He dove headfirst and the ball popped loose. But Reid challenged the call and it was overturned because Vick was ruled down by contact.

On the same drive, Vick committed the costly fumble at the Steelers 1. That one turned out to be pivotal in a game decided by Shaun Suisham's 34-yard field goal as time expired.

``That contributed to the loss,'' running back LeSean McCoy said. ``You need to at least score three. If we get seven, it's a different ballgame. We just made turnovers. We have to stop it.''

Vick's next fumble came at the end of the first quarter on a run to the Eagles 34. It didn't cost Philadelphia any points because the defense got the ball back on downs.

In the end, that wasted opportunity inside the red zone was the difference. As a result, the Eagles are 3-2 instead of sitting alone atop the NFC East with a 4-1 record.

``I wish I could take back the fumble on the goal line, but I can't,'' Vick said. ``Ultimately, we put ourselves in a position to win this game, but we didn't win. That's how it goes in the NFL. You wish you could have some things back, and there are plenty of things I wish I could have back through the course of this season, but you can't get them. I will do a better job of protecting the football.''

Vick lost a fumble and threw six interceptions in the first two games, but rallied the Eagles to 1-point wins over Cleveland and Baltimore with final-drive touchdowns.

He didn't throw a pick in a 26-7 loss to Arizona in Week 3, but lost two fumbles. One was a backbreaker. It also occurred inside the 5 and was returned for a touchdown. That 14-point swing was too much for Philadelphia to overcome.

Vick has gone three straight games without throwing an interception. But his fumbling is quite problematic. Since the start of last season, Vick has fumbled 18 times in 18 games. Nine of those were recovered by the opponent.

``We've got to go back and work on ball security and he knows that and he's gonna get it right just like he did with the interceptions,'' Reid said. ``We're gonna get it fixed. It won't be the last time he carries the football. He just has to secure it away, keep it high and tight. When he's traffic, get that thing covered up with the off hand.''

Reid said he doesn't think the extra equipment Vick wears on his chest to protect his oft-injured ribs is preventing him from tucking the ball away. Ball security has always been an issue for the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback. Vick fumbled 27 times in 30 games for Atlanta in 2004-05, losing 12 of those. Overall, Vick has lost 39 of his 84 fumbles in 116 games.

``As a coach, you continue to emphasize it in practice,'' Reid said. ``As a player, you make sure you make it happen. When things are alive and going fast in the game, you make sure you go back to the fundamentals. I've got trust he'll get this right.''

Vick and the Eagles host the rested Detroit Lions (1-3) on Sunday. The Lions are off to a slow start after reaching the playoffs last year. Like the Steelers, they'll be coming off a bye when they play Philadelphia.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobMaaddi

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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The Associated Press
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