Sunday, February 14, 2016

McNabb benched in Redskins' loss

Donovan McNabb was pulled in the fourth quarter of the Redskins' 37-25 loss to the Lions on Sunday afternoon.

McNabb benched in Redskins' loss

Before being benched, Donovan McNabb was 17-for-30 for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked 5 times. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Before being benched, Donovan McNabb was 17-for-30 for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked 5 times. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

In Donovan McNabb's eighth start with the Washington Redskins, with the game on the line, and the team having won three of its previous four games, head coach Mike Shanahan yanked him.

For Rex Grossman.

The Redskins' offense took over at the Washington 30 yard line with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter. The 'Skins were trailing the Lions, 31-25.

Grossman lasted just one play, as Kyle Vanden Bosch sacked him and forced a fumble, which was recovered and returned for a touchdown by rookie Ndamukong Suh. The Lions finished the Redskins off for a 37-25 victory.

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McNabb was 17-for-30 for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked five times.

"I thought [Grossman] gave us the best chance to win," Shanahan said, per The Washington Post.

He reportedly added that Grossman is more comfortable running the 2-minute offense, which is puzzling, considering this is Week 8 and McNabb has been the starter all season.

"When you get benched, you get benched. Just have to learn from it and move on," McNabb said, per The Post. "I continue to focus as if I'm the starter. He said I'm still the starter."

He added that he's been told he's still the starter.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, around the five-minute mark, with the Redskins up 25-20, McNabb threw a pick that gave the Lions' offense the ball at the Washington 37 yard line.

Matthew Stafford connected with Calvin Johnson for his third touchdown of the day, giving the Lions a 28-25 lead.

McNabb was on the field for the following series, though, which resulted in a sack on 4th-and-10.

With the loss, the Redskins are 4-4 on the season entering their bye week. The idle Eagles move into second place at 4-3. The Giants also have a bye, and the Cowboys fell to 1-6 after a 35-17 loss to the Jaguars. Dallas is now tied with the Panthers for the second-worst record in football behind the Buffalo Bills.

McNabb was only benched once in 11 seasons with the Eagles. That was, of course, in 2008 during the second half against the Ravens. By my count, that was McNabb's 123rd start with the Birds.

Here are some other thoughts from my bye week Sunday spent on the couch:

* McNabb has thrown eight interceptions on the season and has been picked at least once in six straight games. That streak is longer than any regular-season INT streak he had in his 11 seasons with the Eagles. He has failed to throw more than one touchdown in a game this season.

* Big game out of Johnson. He finished with nine catches for 101 yards and three touchdowns. The last score was huge as it came on a 4th-and-1 play. Johnson had gone to the sidelines on the previous down after getting shaken up on a second-down play.

* There's been a lot of talk about the AFC's superiority to the NFC in recent weeks. The Jets, considered by some to be the class of the AFC, failed to put up a single point in their 9-0 loss to the Packers. Clay Matthews continues to be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. He sacked Mark Sanchez on a 3rd-and-5 late in the fourth quarter. He now has 9.5 sacks on the season.

* Remember in Week 2 when the Lions sacked the Eagles five times? Today, Detroit sacked the Redskins six times. Turns out they have some guys who can get after the quarterback.

* As for the Cowboys, Jon Kitna was picked off four times in the loss. But to be fair, at least two of those bounced off the hands of Dallas receivers. Maybe the bigger concern should be the Cowboys' defense? Dallas is allowing 33.5 points per game in the last four.

* Earlier today, I took a closer look at Brent Celek's struggles through seven games.

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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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