A different side to McNabb
That hardly looked like Donovan McNabb playing quarterback, and it had nothing to do with his burgundy and gold Washington Redskins jersey. On a field where he made so many dynamic plays throughout his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, McNabb played conservatively but consistently as he led his new team, the Redskins, to a 17-12 victory on Sunday.
A six-time Pro Bowl pick in 11 seasons with the Eagles, McNabb did not get much of a chance to showcase his skills because Mike Shanahan, the Redskins coach, relied heavily on the running game.
"You get into a throwing game, especially here, in this environment with the crowd, usually you're in for a long day," Shanahan said. "So you have to establish the run." That meant McNabb turned and handed off - again and again. It is an unfamiliar role for McNabb, who used to throw more than any quarterback when he played for the Eagles.
Washington had 169 yards rushing, including 55 by Clinton Portis before he left with a groin injury. Ryan Torain had 70 yards rushing and one touchdown. McNabb threw just 19 passes, completing eight for 125 yards. He threw one touchdown pass and was intercepted once.
The only stat that mattered, though, was the win. "The relief I got was that this is over, that the whole hoopla and coming back to Philadelphia is over," McNabb said. He ran onto the field with his new team during pregame introductions, and when his name was announced, he got a standing ovation. McNabb patted his heart and raised his right hand up to salute the crowd.
When the game started, he handed off five straight times before attempting his first pass, a deep one to Fred Davis. The ball was slightly behind Davis, who let it go through his hands. On his next pass later in that drive, McNabb made a perfect throw over the middle to Chris Cooley for a 31-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
McNabb had a love-hate relationship with Philadelphia fans, and many wondered what type of reception he would receive. While some outside the stadium booed and carried signs that read "McChoke," it was a positive response inside the stadium. "You realise you spent 11 years here and I knew it was coming," McNabb said.
"I didn't expect them to cheer the whole game. That wouldn't be right. I was happy with the way they gave me a standing ovation at the beginning."
* Associated Press
Published: October 5, 2010 04:00 AM