Clutching a game ball in his right hand, Donovan McNabb told his teammates during a victory speech that the
Philadelphia Eagles made a mistake letting him go.
Considering that Michael Vick is hurt and the offense has struggled with Kevin Kolb, plenty of others might agree.
McNabb threw for 125 yards and one touchdown, leading the Washington Redskins to a 17-12 victory over the Eagles on Sunday in his first game against his former team.
"Everyone makes mistakes in life, and they made one last year," McNabb said.
Vick was forced out in the first quarter with chest and rib injuries in his first start in front of the hometown crowd. Kolb was supposed to be McNabb's successor all along, but lost the starting job when he got hurt in Week 1.
So, the McNabb-Vick showdown turned into the McNabb-Kolb matchup everyone originally anticipated. But this one didn't live up to the hype.
On a field where he made so many dynamic plays, McNabb looked more like a game-manager than an elite player. A six-time Pro Bowl pick in 11 seasons with the Eagles, McNabb didn't get much of a chance to showcase his skills because coach Mike Shanahan used a conservative approach and relied on the ground attack.
"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 around and handed off -- again and again. It's 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 TD while McNabb threw 19 passes, completing eight and getting intercepted once.
The only stat that matters, though, is the win.
"The thing about it is that it's about winning ballgames and that is one that I take pride in," said McNabb, whose Redskins snapped a two-game losing skid, improving to 2-0 in the NFC East. The Eagles (2-2) are winless at home.
McNabb ran onto the field with the rest of his team during pregame introductions. When his name was announced, he got a standing ovation, patted his heart and raised his right hand up to salute the crowd. He then hugged Vick, who signed with the Eagles last year after McNabb lobbied for him.
McNabb had a love-hate relationship with Philly fans, so many wondered what type of reception he would receive. While some outside the stadium booed and carried signs that read "McChoke," it was an overwhelmingly positive response.
"I was happy with the way they gave me a standing ovation at the beginning," McNabb said.
McNabb led the Eagles (2-2) to five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl -- a 24-21 loss to New England in February 2005. He was traded to Washington in April, paving the way for Kolb to be the starter.
Kolb sustained a concussion in the season opener, though, and Vick played so well he forced coach Andy Reid to make a flip-flop decision and keep him in. Now, Vick's status is uncertain and it's unknown what Reid will do when he's healthy.
Vick, who did not speak to the media, will have an MRI exam Monday.
"I know he's sore, I can tell you that, or else he would have been out there," Reid said.
Kolb said he was given no indication that he might start next week at San Francisco. He briefly spoke with Vick about the injuries.
"He just said he was in some pain and explained the injury just a little bit," Kolb said.
Kolb threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek to pull the Eagles to 17-12 with 4:10 left. The 2-point conversion failed when Kolb's pass fell incomplete.
On Washington's next possession, McNabb scrambled 18 yards on third-and-4 to keep the drive going. The Eagles got the ball back at their own 26 with 1:07 left and no timeouts, and Kolb's first throw should've been intercepted, but it was dropped by Carlos Rogers.
Kolb then drove Philadelphia to the Redskins 32, a double-lateral after a short pass got the Eagles there. But his desperation heave into the end zone on the final play bounced out of Jason Avant's hands and was intercepted by DeAngelo Hall.
Kolb finished 22 of 35 for 201 yards with one TD and one interception.
McNabb handed off five straight times before attempting his first pass, a deep one to Fred Davis that went 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.
Vick got hurt on a 23-yard run to the Redskins 1 that was negated by a holding penalty on Max Jean-Gilles. Vick dodged and darted through the defense, eluding several tackles along the way. He took two hard hits, getting sandwiched between Kareem Moore and former teammate Hall.
After a short completion by Kolb, David Akers kicked a 49-yard field goal to cut it to 14-3.
McNabb's best throw was a 57-yard completion -- the ball traveled 56 in the air -- to Anthony Armstrong on third-and-15 in the second quarter. It set up Graham Gano's 26-yard field goal that made it 17-3.
Kolb drove the Eagles inside Washington's 1 in the final minute of the first half. After calling a timeout to set up a play on fourth down, the Eagles somehow got called for a delay of game penalty and had to settle for Akers kicking a 23-yarder to cut it to 17-6.