Let’s try this again since the first time didn’t quite go according to plan. For weeks, everyone expected to see Donovan McNabb face his replacement, Kevin Kolb, in Week 4 of the season. It was to be the first litmus test of the decision to trade McNabb away, the first chance for number five to burn his former team or for the Eagles defense to shut him down.
Instead, the Redskins ran. Then they ran again. Finally, they ran a little more. McNabb was just 8-of-19 for 125 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but Washington gained 169 yards on 35 carries in a 17-12 win. McNabb didn’t win them the game, but he didn’t lose it either.
On the flip side, Kevin Kolb had already lost his starting job due to an injury and Michael Vick’s fantastic play. Vick only threw seven passes in week four though before being knocked out of the game with torn cartilage in his chest and ribs. Kolb, like McNabb, didn’t win or lose the game for the Eagles. Kolb completed 22-of-35 passes for 201 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
So now, it’s time to do it again. McNabb, in the midst of some quarterback controversy of his own after being pulled at the end of the Redskins’ loss to the Lions, gets the start against Vick, the league leader in passer rating. Since it’s on ESPN’s Monday Night Football this time around, all eyes will be watching.
“Sunday one o’clock games are fast. Sunday night games are a little faster and Monday nights are a little faster than that, and if you’re fortunate enough to get into the playoffs, each level you go up in the playoffs it’s even a little faster there,” said Eagles head coach Andy Reid. “Everybody’s watching and you know that. Everybody’s attention is at their highest.”
Reid’s quarterback seems to relish the extra attention.
“Monday night you know everybody’s going to be watching,” said Michael Vick. “Everybody’s relaxing, the game starts at 8:30, everybody’s tuned in. I always grew up a big fan of Monday Night Football and I still watch it to this day as a fan. Everybody’s tuned in so you’ve got to come out to play.”
While players around the league will tune in and many will discuss the play of McNabb and Vick, the end result will probably come down to something other than the performance of the two quarterbacks.
“It’s important that our team really concentrates on the Washington Redskins, collectively and making sure that we get ready for a heck of a battle on Monday Night,” Reid said.
Sure, it’s coach speak, but it’s probably true given the way the first meeting went. The key factor may be the Eagles ability to stop the Redskins on the ground and force them to play a faster, higher scoring game. In Washington’s four wins, neither team has scored more than 17 points. In each of the Redskins’ four losses, the winning team scored 27 or more points.
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