Eagles Stun Redskins


Donovan McNabb might be tempted to tell his children and grandchildren one day that he threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in his first NFL start.

The truth is, he only threw for a measly 60 yards. At least he can tell them he won the game.

McNabb struggled in his first NFL start, but the Philadelphia Eagles took advantage of six Washington turnovers and rallied to beat the Redskins 35-28 on Sunday.

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Game Summary

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  • Eagles coach Andy Reid, who took a lot of heat for waiting this long to start McNabb, liked what he saw.

    "There are times when you look into a player's eyes and you see a hollow look," Reid said. "It wasn't a hollow look."

    The Eagles (3-7) won even though McNabb, the No. 2 overall draft pick, had one of the worst statistical debuts for a Philadelphia quarterback in the last 20 years. Redskins quarterback Brad Johnson lost two fumbles, was intercepted three times and was sacked on fourth down on Washington's final play to seal the victory.

    "I never have it in my eyes or my mind that we're going to lose any game," said McNabb, who was 8-for-21 and had his only interception nullified by a penalty.

    Eric Bienemy scored the decisive touchdown, an 11-yard run with 3:17 left that followed an interception by Al Harris, who simply stole the ball from Albert Connell. That was the last turnover by the Redskins (5-4), whose offense was more to blame than their defense which came in ranked 30th in the league.

    The Redskins have lost two straight and three out of four since starting 4-1.

    "We should not be in this predicament," said Brian Mitchell, who ripped teammates without naming anyone in a postgame rant. "A lot of guys have been kind of lackadaisicl, not trying to step on anybody's toes. I'm stepping on toes this week. I've got to say something to the coach and to the players."

    McNabb, who waited nine weeks to start his first game, rushed for 49 yards and converted a pair of 2-point conversions for the Eagles, who trailed 21-10 in the second quarter. Johnson drove the Redskins into Philadelphia territory in the final two minutes, but was sacked on fourth-and-5 from the Philadelphia 28. McNabb took a knee three times and walked off the field victorious.

    Though McNabb's stats weren't impressive, his poise certainly was. His triumphant debut led to a celebration that was so rare and raucous for this team that center Steve Everitt pulled up with a cramp.

    "I was just running around the end zone like an idiot," said Everitt, who was impressed with McNabb's command of the huddle. "A lot of young quarterbacks would have panicked, but he just went about his business."

    Duce Staley rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown, and Allen Rossum had an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and an 86-yard kickoff return to the Washington 14 to start the second half. Stephen Davis rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns for the Redskins.

    Johnson, who was 18-for-33 for 313 yards and two touchdowns, hit Michael Westbrook for 152 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown that gave Washington a 28-27 lead with 10:45 left.

    But the Eagles got the ball back when Harris stripped Connell on a play that was called an interception. Staley ran for 13 and 12 yards to set up Bienemy's 11-yard TD run that made it 33-28 Eagles.

    McNabb hit tight end Jed Weaver for a 2-point conversion to make it 35-28 with 3:17 left.

    "I have fun every time I'm out there," said McNabb, who calmed down after riling up the crowd of 66,591 during introductions.

    McNabb began the afternoon on the sideline as the Redskins went 89 yards in three plays for a touchdown on their first possession.

    Johnson hit Westbrook for 55 yards on the first play from scrimmage, then connected with fullback Mike Sellers for 32 yards to set up Davis' 1-yard TD run.

    Washington led 21-16 in the third after Rossum's TD return and three field goals by Norm Johnson. Staley's 20-yard TD run and McNabb's 2-point conversion on a quarterback draw gave Philadelphia a 24-21 lead with eight seconds left in the third.

    Notes

  • McNabb became only the third quarterback to win hi debut for the Eagles since Ron Jaworski in 1977, joining Rodney Peete in 1995 and Ty Detmer in 1996. It was the worst statistical debut for an Eagles quarterback since Brad Goebel was 9-for-20 for 62 yards and two interceptions in 1991.
  • With a 13-yard return in the second quarter, Washington's Mitchell passed Billy "White Shoes" Johnson for second in career punt return yardage. Mitchell has 3,334 yards.
  • Philadelphia's Johnson passed Jan Stenerud for fifth on the NFL career points list and tied Nick Lowery for fourth with 17,011.
  • McNabb wasn't the only one out of sync. An official left his microphone on after Johnson fumbled in the first quarter, shouting a couple of expletives to more than 60,000 people.
  • McNabb started 0-for-5 and didn't complete his first pass until halfway through the second quarter.
  • Rossum had 206 return yards in the first half alone.

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