There was such delicious irony to another heart stopping Washington Washington Football Team 17-12 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles that you had to feel like the football gods were smiling on Donovan McNabb. While he and the team tried to downplay how significant this game was make no mistake this game was far more important than record improving to 2-2 and claiming a share of first place atop the NFC East.
McNabb went home and was serviceable enough to lead his new team to a victory in the kind of game most Washington Football Team fans had grown accustomed to seeing him beat them in. When there were plays to be made in the first half he was on but as the game wore on he lost his feel in the passing game. He was warmly received by the Philly faithful when he was introduced in pre game and was resoundingly booed once the game started. Thus it was personification of the McNabb Eagles fans relationship.
For the game he completed eight of his 19 passes for 125 yards and a 31 yard touchdown to Chris Cooley. He found Anthony Armstrong for 57 yards which should have another score had it not been for a shoe string tackle by the Lincoln Financial Field turf. He ran sparingly but was effective in moving the chains in critical situations as was the case in his 12 wins in 19 games versus the Washington Football Team as Eagles quarterback.
His performance was not one for the ages as his 60.2 passer rating was the lowest in the last three years. There passes in the flat to open receivers that landed as two hop ground balls. He tried to force passes into tight coverage and kept the Eagles in the game with an interception and several others that should have been picked. McNabb had a critical 18 yard run to pick up a key first down late in the fourth quarter that would have sealed the game but he stepped out of bounds which stopped the clock preserving at least a minute which kept the Eagles on life support.
There was not a better script that could have been written for the burgundy and gold faithful though. Both of McNabb’s protégé’s were pressed into action and the Eagles explosive defense was rendered into a pedestrian state by a defense that played physical all day. Michael Vick was sandwiched by crushing hits from DeAngelo Hall and Kareem Moore at the goal line and would not return. Kevin Kolb, who left McNabb expendable, was contained and had to settle for check down passes underneath while his outside receivers – DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin – combined for just four catches and 35 yards.
Despite McNabb’s performance the Washington Football Team got back to basics and ran the football more effective than they had this season. They remained committed and pounded the Eagles into submission. The tandem of Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain rushed 29 times for 125 yards and a touchdown which may be a sign of things to come for an evolving offense despite a dearth of talent in key areas. Their five third down conversions on 14 attempts were just one shy of their total in the previous three games.
Even with that the Eagles were a dropped Jason Avant pass – which was intercepted by Hall – away from falling to 1-3. That too could have been avoided if Carlos Rogers could have intercepted early on Philadelphia last drive. So the Washington Football Team are now a player in the mediocre NFC East after this emotional victory.