The Eagles breathed a big sigh of relief -- and we mean really, really big -- when X-rays of Michael Vick’s left thumb were negative.
Vick injured his left hand -- he’s left-handed -- when he banged it into the helmet of center Jason Kelce while following through on a pass in the Eagles’ preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. Vick started waving the hand in obvious pain and walked off the field while the Eagles’ coaches, players and fans crossed their fingers, and maybe their toes, too.
Backup QB Mike Kafka came in for the next series, adding more angst, as the Eagles’ medical team huddled around Vick. But then the QB went to the locker room for X-rays and everything was OK again in Eagleland.
Finally, some happy returns: The Eagles are looking for players to spark their return game and they might have found a couple on Thursday night. On his very first attempt, rookie Brandon Boykin returned a kickoff 46 yards. That might not sound like much, but it’s longer than any Eagles kickoff return last season, a total of 39 returns.
The Eagles also got a boost from another rookie, Damaris Johnson. The first time he ever fielded an NFL punt, Johnson put on some nifty moves and returned it 39 yards. That would have been the Eagles’ second longest punt return in 2011 -- DeSean Jackson returned one 51 yards. Johnson’s return was nullified by a penalty, but the Eagles’ coaches saw what they wanted to see from a return game that ranked 27th out of 32 NFL teams last season.
Changing of the guard (and tackle): The Steelers started two rookies on their offensive line -- David DeCastro at right guard and Mike Adams at left tackle -- and it was a good early test for their first- and second-round draft picks, respectively. But Adams hurt his right knee in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the game.
A star is born? Most of the Eagles’ offense and all of their points were generated by rookie quarterback Nick Foles, a third-round pick from Arizona. He scrambled away from the pass rush in the third quarter and found Damaris Johnson behind the defense for a 70-yard TD pass. Then he hooked up with another rookie WR, Mardy Gilyard, for a 44-yard TD that gave the Eagles a 14-13 lead.
Foles completed 6 of 10 passes for 144 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, which breaks down to a QB rating of 143.75. Not bad for a rookie playing in his first NFL game.
Young Steelers try to catch on: With WR Mike Wallace still holding out in a contract dispute, the Steelers’ young wide receivers got a chance to shine. Emmanuel Sanders took advantage of the opportunity, catching two passes for 19 yards, including a 17-yarder that set up Steelers’ first field goal and a two-yarder for a touchdown.
Eagles’ sack attack on track: The Eagles were playing without their two Pro Bowl defensive ends, Trent Cole and Jason Babin, but they still made things hot for Steelers’ QBs -- the Eagles finished with seven sacks, two by DE Phillip Hunt. Joining in on the fun with one sack each were Cedric Thornton, Brandon Graham, Xavier Brown and Monte Taylor and half a sack each from Darryl Tapp and Brian Rolle.
Steelers inactives: RB Rashard Mendenhall, P Jeremy Kapinos, Willie Colon, T Max Starks, LB James Harrison, LB Jason Worilds, DE Cameron Heyward, NT Casey Hampton.
Eagles inactives: DE, Trent Cole, DE Jason Babin, TE Brent Celek, LB Jamar Chaney, DB Cliff Harris, WR Riley Cooper, S Nate Allen, S Colt Anderson, T Jason Peters, G Brandon Washington, DT Mike Patterson.
Eagles on Spanish radio: For the first time, the Eagles broadcast one of their games in Spanish -- on WTTM (1680-AM). Rickie Ricardo handled the play-by-play, but, no, Fred Mertz was not the color commentator.
In memoriam: There was a moment of silence before the game for Garrett Reid, the son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, who died on Sunday. The Eagles will also wear decals on their helmets with Garrett’s initials on them.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Philadelphia Eagles from blogger Kevin Noonan, follow @CBSSportsNFLPHI.