It was probably the most-anticipated matchup of this young NFL season.
One team’s quarterback, Donovan McNabb of the Washington Redskins, was returning to Philadelphia, where he led the Eagles to five NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl appearance. Philadelphia had the gall to trade McNabb to a division rival in the off-season: here was his chance for revenge. The other team’s quarterback, Michael Vick of the Eagles, is writing his own redemption tale. Universally despised for running a disgusting dogfighting ring, and coming off a two-year prison term and a 2009 season where he saw spot duty as McNabb’s Philadelphia backup, Vick has flourished since replacing McNabb’s heir, Kevin Kolb, on opening day after Kolb suffered a concussion. Vick was the NFC’s offensive player of the month for September, and has stayed out of trouble off-the-field this season.
The Eagles fans, who never seemed to fully appreciate what McNabb gave them, didn’t boo him, like they did when McNabb was drafted back in 1999. Not even Philly fans – by rule, we must remind you they once booed Santa Claus – could be that cruel. They gave McNabb a well-deserved ovation before the game. But the fans, and everyone who tuned in to the anticipated matchup, had good reason reason to jeer once the game, which Washington won 17-12, kicked off.
The Eagles, and the game itself, pretty much stunk. In the first quarter, two Redskins delivered a hit that sent Vick back to the locker room. He hurt his ribs and chest, and didn’t return: Vick will have an MRI Monday. For his part, McNabb exactly didn’t thrill. He zipped a tight, 31-yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley in the first half to give the Redskins a 14-o lead, and his 18-yard scramble on a third-and-4 in the fourth quarter allowed Washington to run down more clock and preserve his team’s 17-12 lead. But he only threw 19 passes, completing 8 of them for 125 yards; he also tossed one hideous interception. The Redskins mostly stuck to their running game.
Kolb, who Philly coach Andy Reid still maintains is the future of the franchise, replaced Vick and put up serviceable numbers, completing 22 of 35 passes for 201 yards, one touchdown and an interception. But too often he seemed to miss open receivers, and was off-target on some crucial throws. More than a few Philadelphians probably wished the guy wearing number 5, in red, was still hanging around Broad Street.
In all, what many hoped would be a special afternoon turned into a snooze. So what’s the next regular season game worth getting into a tizzy about? Well, on October 24, Brett Favre returns to Green Bay for the second time in a purple Vikings uniform. Favre Bowl II! We’re …. still snoring.