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Hits keep on coming for QB Vick, Eagles

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Whether he's in the pocket or on the move, Michael Vick keeps taking hits.

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Vick limped off the field after injuring his ankles on his final play in the Philadelphia Eagles' 26-16 loss to Kansas City Thursday night, but he would've returned if the game hadn't ended.

He may not be so lucky next time.

Vick has taken plenty of shots in the first three games, an ominous sign for a quarterback who has missed 13 games because of injuries over the past three years.

The combination of pressure from the defense and his poor decisions resulted in a mistake-filled performance for Vick against the Chiefs.

Vick was 13 of 30 for 201 yards, one touchdown and threw his first two interceptions of the season, including a pick that was returned for a score. He was coming off a career-best 428-yard passing day against San Diego and had a 119 passer rating through two weeks.

``I thought Mike played OK,'' coach Chip Kelly said Friday. ``He has played better. But it's always a combination unfortunately. It's a team game. It's not always on one guy. We got a couple balls tipped. (Linemen have) got to get some guys' hands down. We've got to be able to stand in the pocket at times - when we've got a situation where we got to be able to get to the top of our drop - and not give up so much pressure.

``There are times for Mike when the ball has to get out a little bit quicker in certain situations.''

Vick ran for 95 yards against the Chiefs, including a career-long 61-yard scramble that set up his scoring pass. But he misfired repeatedly, was sacked five times and hurried too often to count.

The Eagles (1-2) have lost two in a row after an impressive win at Washington in their opener. Next up is a trip to Denver to face Peyton Manning and Co.

``We gave up too much pressure,'' Kelly said. ``A lot of times they're just rushing four and they're getting to the quarterback extremely quickly. You know, we're not even getting to the top of our drop and we're getting too much pressure on them. We can't put Mike in a lot of bad situations.

``We've got to clean that up.''

Vick has been sacked 10 times in three games, and he's been tackled or hit after throws numerous other times. Running Kelly's zone-read offense already exposes him to more hits than an ordinary quarterback, so the Eagles must find a way to protect Vick better.

Perhaps the problem against Kansas City was fatigue. The Eagles played their third game in 11 days and they also practice hard and fast, trying to run as many plays as possible to simulate what they want to do in games. So, it's possible the offensive linemen were tired.

``If that was the case, those guys just have to be honest in terms of what needs to be done to help this football team move forward,'' Vick said. ``We rely on them and without them, nothing is possible. We have to take full advantage of the things that we do well. If there is an opportunity to maybe back off a little bit, then maybe we have to, and one of the leaders of that group has to step up and say it. I think for the most part, everyone was feeling good. Hopefully if that was the case, they would be honest, but I don't think so.''

The Kansas City defense played a part, too. A major reason why the Chiefs are 3-0, the defense came to play on Thursday. Linebacker Justin Houston, in fact, had 3 1/2 sacks on Vick, increasing his total to six this season.

``They played a lot of man-to-man and then blitzed linebackers late,'' center Jason Kelce said. ``That forced us to keep a lot of things solid inside. It left the tackles in a lot of one-on-one situations.

``We just didn't do a good job.''

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

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

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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