When he took the field in the Georgia Dome on Sunday night, hearing the mixed reactions from the emotional crowd, Michael Vick was greeted with cheers and jeers as some were bitter while others were forgiven.

A glamorous, promising night in a date against his ex-team turned into a tragedy, and with the receptions, he was ridiculed and mocked by the barbaric boos that overwhelmed the Eagles’ star. It’s too bad, really, as one can discern that he sustained a concussion and couldn’t return to take on his former team, that Vick was helpless in a prime time showdown.

He was not welcomed back, although a few fans were wearing Vick’s old jersey and had Southern hospitality, cheering lustily in his return to Atlanta to face his old team for the first time as a visitor.

It’s too bad we couldn’t see Vick beat his ex-team to undoubtedly regain his respectability and prove that he has become a changed man, showing remorse after bankrolling a dogfighting ring from the horrific scandal in which he is perceived as an animal killer rather than a gracious and regretful football star.

It wasn’t an astounding end, but it was a sad ending — not something Vick had in mind, entering with energy and a tough-driven mindset to beat the Falcons. If he’d not sustained a severe blow to the head and had possibly led the Eagles to another victory, he’d have been the talk all week.

But on the drive of a series of plays, in a quarterback duel that Vick was trying to turn into a statement or newfound redemption, he suffered a concussion when Falcons safety William Moore accidentally knocked him into teammate Todd Herremans. Next comes the knockout hit and it ends all so painfully.

It could have been Vick was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We now know exactly that Vick’s head hit Herremans’ shoulder to cause the 10-year veteran quarterback a game-ending injury. And then suddenly, he went down, spitting up blood after biting his tongue during the hit.

He was so woozy that he was helped off the field by medical staff as the Eagles led by 10 points when Vick left the game. As he walked to the locker room heckled by jeers and boos from fans, he brazenly pointed at the scoreboard and smirked arrogantly, annoyed by boos that rained down on him and he reacted to the nonsense.

He does, and he did, let those fans under his skin, when his night ended due to an injury in a decisive showdown that meant much to Vick, returning back to a hostile environment where he was once beloved profoundly before he damaged his image because of his reprehensible scandal.

For some, he’s a malefactor but for others he’s a humbled player reinstalling life in Philly, a franchise suddenly labeled Super Bowl contenders for assembling a “Dream Team” during the offseason with many of the Eagles free-agent signings.

It wasn’t until he was missing in action that the Falcons mustered an incredible comeback to stun the Eagles, a team already shocked by losing the integral piece on a probable quest to the Super Bowl. Before we knew it, the Falcons rallied from down 31-21 to defeat the Eagles 35-21 in the craziest game that featured plenty of drama and thrills.

It really stinks, because Philly lost its money-making quarterback, its face of the franchise, its sublime star with versatility, quickness and physical capacities to keep poise in the pocket and be explosive in the rush attack.

It turned into a one-sided duel, no longer a quarterback battle between a pair of prodigal performers and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was the better player individually, and took the abuse and hard hits — passing for 195 yards and tossing a pair of interceptions.

But he wasn’t great. He was solid enough to lead the Falcons on the night he threw a career-high four touchdown passes. The effect of this dubious injury remains unknown, and nobody knows what Vick’s status beholds. This is not what the Eagles had in mind, now marred in trouble without the star on the field, the wealthy athlete who is the necessity if Philly is destined to win a Super Bowl championship.

If you’re seeking to stop Vick, then the Falcons’ blueprint is the method to employ ideally. It’s clear the Falcons blitzed Vick successively, basically harassing, bullying and smothering the Pro Bowler. And for the sake of children, he serves as an inspiration to society, no longer a menace to society and he has resuscitated as a humbled individual and player.

As in, he’s an inspiration for many and the poster child when he was allowed a second chance in a forgiving country. Come to find out, Vick’s weaknesses are with blitzes in which he struggles to perform consistently. By the time it was over, he finished 19 of 28 for 242 yards and two touchdowns, while running the ball six times for 25 yards.

It was shortly after that the Eagles lost momentum and confidence without Vick shifting the complexion of the game, and Philly had all of the sudden diminished. The highlighted play of the game happened on the game-winning drive from a 61-yard run by Michael Turner, which set up the 3-yard run for the winning score that Turner finished.

It turns out his replacement was Mike Kafka, but the Falcons were too much for the Eagles to handle, although Philly drove to the Atlanta 28 in the final minutes. Unfortunately, Jeremy Maclin dropped a must-needed pass on fourth down and the Eagles were done.

Without Vick, though, the Eagles won’t last too much longer and it’s really hard to envision Philly winning anytime soon with his status called into question for next week’s game against the Giants. It just feels like he was the star of the “Dream Team,” but without Vick, there’s no dreaming. There are nightmares and petrified thoughts of fiascoes.

Missing Vick is going to hurt.


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