Donovan McNabb’s return to the City of Brotherly Love followed a recipe Philadelphians are all too familiar with. Take one part injuries, one part penalties and throw in two parts poor clock management and you get an Eagles loss.
Michael Vick left the game in the first quarter with a chest and rib injury and did not return, the Eagles committed 8 penalties for 80 yards including a critical delay of game penalty that cost the Eagles a chance to go for it on 4th down inside the 1-yardline, and Philadelphia fell 17-12 in a critical NFC East showdown.
Philadelphia got off to a nightmarish start, going three-and-out and watching Brandon Banks, in his first NFL appearance, return a punt 53 yards to the Eagles’ 39-yardline. On the third play of the drive and the third consecutive run, Ryan Torain punched it in from 12 yards out to put the Redskins on top 7-0.
After another Eagles punt and with the Redskins having called 9 runs and 2 passes to that point, McNabb fired a 31-yard strike to Chris Cooley for another touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 4:53 left in the first quarter.
“I was just happy that he was able to break free and I tried to put it in position for him,” McNabb said.
Adding injury to insult, on the following drive Vick was injured while diving towards the end zone on a 23-yard scramble towards the goal line that was called back due to a holding penalty on Max Jean-Gilles. Vick was sandwiched between defensive backs DeAngelo Hall and Kareem Moore.
After failing to convert on third down with Kevin Kolb at the helm, Philadelphia settled for a 49-yard field goal by David Akers. The Redskins answered with a Graham Gano field goal, and the Eagles took over with 9:06 left in the half down 17-3.
Kevin Kolb went 5-of-7 for on the drive for 63 yards, moving the Eagles down to the 2-yardline. On third down, LeSean McCoy was stopped near the goal line with 1:04 left and ruled just short. The play was reviewed by the booth, and after a lengthy delay the ruling stood.
Reid took a timeout after the review and elected to go for it on fourth down, but didn’t send his players onto the field in time to get the play off and the Eagles took a delay of game. Reid claimed that the spot of the ball was not what he expected after the review.
“It’s my fault. The whole thing, that’s my fault, and I’m telling you that,” Reid said. “The point is though, we had a play called for inches and the inches weren’t inches when that thing had already started there.”
Reid did not blame the officials, though. “I’m not here to complain about the officials, I’m not here to complain about anybody else other than I goofed,” Reid said.
After the snafu, Philadelphia had to settle for a 23-yard field goal and trailed 17-6 at halftime. “The obvious is we’ve got to start off faster than what we did,” Reid said. “And again, that’s my responsibility.”
The two teams played a scoreless third quarter, with the Eagles taking three penalties for 30 yards, including a holding call on Jason Peters that brought back a 32-yard scramble by Kevin Kolb. Throughout the quarter, and the game as a whole, the Eagles failed to get the ball downfield.
“Ninety-five percent of the time they had two safeties and they [weren’t] really trying to let us go deep,” DeSean Jackson said. “We’ve just got to find different ways of getting open and sitting in the holes, we’re not always going to be able to be running down the field and scoring these long touchdowns.”
Towards the middle of the quarter, LeSean McCoy ran the ball to the Redskins 21-yardline and fumbled, but was ruled down on the field. Eagles tight end Brent Celek frantically waved to the sideline to get a quick play call in before the Redskins could challenge. After several seconds, Mike Shanahan threw the challenge flag and the play was overturned, taking away a chance at points for the Eagles.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, Philadelphia finally came alive as Kevin Kolb found receivers open underneath and orchestrated a 9 play, 65 yard drive that culminated in a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek to cut the Redskins lead to 17-12. The two-point conversion attempt failed on an incompletion towards Jason Avant, leaving the Birds down by five.
Philadelphia got the ball back with 1:07 left, but couldn’t orchestrate a game-winning drive, falling 17-12 as a last second hail mary fell incomplete off the hands of Avant.
Michael Vick has a chest/rib injury and is sore, but no further information was given. Vick will undergo an MRI in the morning. Asante Samuel and Riley Cooper both have concussions.
Donovan McNabb received an ovation when running out of the tunnel before the game, but was booed on his first play from scrimmage.
After catching a career-high 12 passes for 110 yards, LeSean McCoy leads the Eagles on the season with 23 receptions.
The Eagles outgained the Redskins 353-293, but never led.
Philadelphia also won the time of possession battle 32:57 to 27:03.
Through four games, the Eagles have amassed nearly twice as many yards in penalties as their opponents: 319 to 163.
Nate Allen, who was drafted with the second round pick the Eagles got in return for Donovan McNabb, picked off the former Eagle and now has three interceptions through three games. The Birds’ rookie record is 8 interceptions by Bibbles Bawel in 1952 and Tom Brookshier in 1953.
Allen’s three interceptions are the most for a rookie since 1996, when Brian Dawkins had three picks.
This was the first game in 2010 in which a defensive lineman did not register a sack for the Eagles.
The Eagles have outscored opponents 51-29 in the second half of games this season.