Once again, Eagles starting quarterback Donovan McNabb went down in a heap and limped off to the sidelines.
In past seasons, this had been the sign to start throwing things at the TV, howling at the moon, gnash your teeth – because #5 was the reason that the team had been so successful. Yesterday, it was almost as if his departure was met with: anticipation?
McNabb left the game with this line: 3-for-11 for 34 yards and 2 INTs. This was against the 30th rank run defense in the league – against which Coach Andy Reid called for 62% passing plays while McNabb was in. You can see where it got them – a 7-0 deficit to the previously winless Dolphins.
After AJ Feeley came in, he changed to a more balanced and run-oriented attack (21 passes, 27 runs) and let Brian Westbrook takeover. They controlled the 2nd half (Feeley was 13-for-19 for 116 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT) and walked off with a 17-7 win. The defense did a solid job, allowing less than 200 total yards to anemic Fins, and had another good goal line stand to stymie the Dolphins late the one time they got close (Miami’s only TD came on a long punt return for a TD).
McNabb is listed as day-to-day, but it might have been easier for the Eagles if he’d been out for the season (again) – it would have given Reid a chance to shed any remaining expectations and evaluate Feeley and heir-apparent Kevin Kolb.
Don’t get me wrong. McNabb has been the best QB the Eagles franchise has had. He’s was a one man gang early in his career and along with Reid ushered in an era of success unmatched in Eagles history – but it has been clear that despite occasional excellence this year, that McNabb hasn’t been healthy and his Jekyll-Hyde performances have left the team unsure of his future status.
But hey, next week’s game in New England against the Patriots ought to clear things up!