Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

'Skins bench McNabb in last minute of loss to Lions

While the Detroit Lions are starting to see a return from their top draft picks, the Washington Redskins are questioning the return they're getting from the Easter Sunday trade that brought Donovan McNabb to the nation's capital.

After so many years of first-round busts, Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and latest top pick Ndamukong Suh have the Lions believing they are on the road to respectability.

Stafford, playing for the first time since Week 1 when he separated his right shoulder, threw four touchdown passes, including a go-ahead 10-yarder to Johnson with 3:12 left, and Suh helped the Lions score nine more points in a 14-second span for a 37-25 win yesterday over Washington.

The Redskins, meanwhile, are not believing in McNabb, who was benched for the final two possessions. Coach Mike Shanahan said Rex Grossman was more comfortable with the team's 2-minute offense.

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  • "I thought that was the best scenario for us to win," Shanahan insisted.

    The move backfired. Grossman fumbled on his first play, Suh scooped up the football and returned it 17 yards for a TD. The No. 2 pick in this year's draft also had two sacks in a three-play span.

    According to the Washington Post, Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and McNabb separately admitted they're on different pages, too; Kyle saying in the postgame locker room that he called most of the plays at the end of the game; McNabb revealing in his press conference that "the majority of the time, you call your own plays, but Kyle had major input today."

    Like any quarterback, McNabb added, he was bothered by the fact that he didn't have the opportunity to "hopefully sustain a drive and win the game."

    Mike Shanahan tried to nip the benching in the bud by saying McNabb will still be his starter 2 weeks from tonight against the Eagles at FedEx Field, implying this was just a situational substitution with no long-term effect.

    Washington (4-4) had a 25-20 lead with 4:40 left when Alphonso Smith stepped in front of McNabb's pass at the Redskins 41 to set up the go-ahead TD.

    McNabb, who was 17-for-30 for 210 yards with a TD and the interception and has his lowest QB rating since his rookie year, refused to criticize Shanahan's decision.

    "You have to be a professional," he said. "There's a long season ahead of us."

    McNabb was benched for just the second time in his career. The other time was 2 years ago against Baltimore, when he was playing for Philadelphia. "You just have to learn from it and move on," McNabb said. "I did it then, and I'll do it now."

     

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