McNabb wins wild reunion
Redskins 17, Eagles 12
McNabb wins wild reunion
Rich Hofmann, Daily News Sports Columnist
Well, that happened.
Donovan McNabb came home for a reunion against Andy Reid and the fellas. When the schedule came out in the spring, it was going to be McNabb against Kevin Kolb, the past against the future. Then Kolb got a concussion in the season opener and Michael Vick played great, at which point it became McNabb against Vick, the past against the story of redemption.
Then, near the end of the first quarter, on a scramble that came up just short of the goal line -- and that was going to be called back by a penalty anyway -- Vick suffered a rib and chest injury that knocked him out of the game, and maybe more. At which point it became McNabb against Kolb again.
And in the end, despite all of the machinations -- and accompanied by an overwhelmingly positive standing ovation when he was announced before the game -- McNabb won. He threw one touchdown pass (to tight end Chris Cooley), one interception (to rookie safety Nate Allen), and sat on a 17-3 halftime lead as Kolb and the Eagles struggled to get the ball in the end zone. Finally, they did it with 4:10 remaining on a pass to tight end Brent Celek.
But that was it. The Eagles got the ball back on their 26-yard line with 1:07 to go and no timeouts left, and got it to the Washington 32-yard line after a hook-and-lateral-and-lateral play with 4 seconds left. But the final Hail Mary pass, which hit Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant in the hands, ended up being intercepted by Washington's DeAngelo Hall, and that was that.
Final score: Redskins 17, Eagles 12.
Final verdict: still to come.
For McNabb's part, he doesn't look like he has much of a team surrounding him but it does look like he still has enough throws in his big right arm to keep things interesting -- and he also had a big third-down scramble to prolong a late, clock-killing drive. For Kolb's part, he looked competent enough when the Eagles were in their screen game, and their dump-off game, but he was unable to make enough plays down the field. Eventually, drives would stall because of penalties or orther mistakes.
At the end of the first half, looking at a fourth-and-goal from the 1, the Eagles somehow managed to call a timeout and then get called for a delay of game penalty after that timeout, forcing them to kick a field goal rather than take a shot at the end zone. It was a huge, enormous, incomprehensible mistake -- and I'd still love to see a real-time replay to understand exactly how it happened.
If they score a touchdown there, it's a tie game with 4:10 to go. Of course, if they score a touchdown there, Washington coach Mike Shanahan probably doesn't try to put the game in the deep freeze the way he did. McNabb barely threw the ball in the second half as Shanahan clearly calculated the odds and played it ultra-conservatively.
In the end, it worked. And now we all get to live with the repercussions, and to count the days until the November 15th rematch in Landover, Md.