The angst over a costly fumbled exchange late in the fourth quarter between Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook still lingers among the masses in the continuing aftermath of the loss to Dallas.
You might recall that the Eagles seemed to be driving for either a field goal that would give them a six-point lead or a touchdown that would really put them in charge, when McNabb double-clutched a handoff to Westbrook, sticking it in his belly, taking it out, then slamming it into Westbrook's hip, from which it tumbled, to be recovered by Dallas' Jay Ratliff.
As for why the wound remains so raw several days later, we asked that very question of one longtime Eagles observer and here was his reply: "Because it is not the first time and it won’t be the last. And it is another example of McNabb not being able to put his foot down on the jugular of a good team often enough. And it’s not just the fumble, it is WHEN it happened and against WHOM. You HAVE to make that play. Fumble against the Rams, but not when you can nail the Cowboys."
Both McNabb and Westbrook were asked about the play when their turn came in front of the media Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex.
After the game, McNabb took full responsibility for the miscue. And while McNabb produced plenty of positives during a wild game, he was asked about whether he was upset that the fumble was being talked about more than anything else.
“Not at all. That’s over," he said. "I’ve handed off the ball more than enough times. We got that done. It’s unfortunate that it happened. It happens and there’s nothing we can do about it. It would be tough if people just had to sit back on the handoff and try to criticize me for it, but maybe I hand the ball off 50 or 60 times on Sunday and people can erase it. I’ve put it behind me and I’m getting ready to move on ... You have to have a short-term memory in this game. You may play great one game, and then the next week you may not play as good. Put everything behind you, focus on your next opponent and try to play better next week.”
Westbrook was asked whether he and McNabb had spent time talking about the play.
“No, we haven’t really talked much about it," Westbrook said. "It was a bad situation and a bad play. It was one of those things that happened. We have to move on from there. Right now, we work on handoffs every single day. That’s something that should come second nature to us. We move forward to next week and we go on from there.”
John Smallwood writes about the criticism McNabb has taken in the Dallas aftermath.
Les Bowen writes about Brian Dawkins' impassioned defense of his play and the support he has in the locker room from his teammates.
In the Eagles Notebook, DeSean Jackson's gaffe Monday night has been addressed, Andy Reid says.
Meanwhile, over in Pittsburgh, the Steelers seem unfazed by the drama surrounding Ben Roethlisberger's shoulder injury. Ed Barkowitz has more on the Big Ben injury front.