Gameday Graphic for Game on 10/3/2010
PHILADELPHIA –The Redskins walk a penciled line in shoes made of erasers.
They skirt that narrow divide between victory and vivisection, between karma and calamity, between getting it done and getting done in.
When they left Lincoln Financial Field late Sunday evening, they were a 2-2 football team with a 17-12 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles narrowly packed away.
They had made Donovan McNabb's return to his long-time home a success, even as McNabb turned it into in a trial by endurance.
One last throw at the end. By Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb, subbing for an injured Michael Vick. A last pitch into the end zone. If one of his receivers makes the catch, the Eagles win and the Redskins tumble to 1-3. They would be reminded again and again of their failure to put away teetering teams.
As head coach Mike Shanahan said afterwards: "It was a little bit like déjà vu."
As in losing a 17-point lead (and game) to the Houston Texans. This time, however, the defense made the play, DeAngelo Hall came away with the football and the Redskins preserved a victory.
The Redskins ultimately made their 14-0 early edge stand up and McNabb got his due from fans not always so friendly during his 11 seasons in the city's service. The fans who so often jeered him rose and applauded during the player introductions and McNabb noticed.
"I'd said all week I wasn't going to let the hoopla upset us but I was just a little overwhelmed at the standing ovation," he said.
The booing came later.
"I spent 11 years here," McNabb said with a grin. "You knew it was coming. They weren't going to cheer for me all game."
In a perverse way, they could have. He completed only eight of 19 passes for 125 and was two of 11 in the second half when the Redskins' six possessions ended with five punts and an interception. They gained only 110 yards after halftime.
The Eagles (2-2) had their own problems. After all the buildup of McNabb vs. Michael Vick, Vick went out with a rib injury on the second-to-last play of the first quarter and Kolb, the guy originally chosen to replace McNabb, entered.
He moved the team with short passes but ultimately produced only one touchdown drive and the Redskins' defense came up with the critical stop on the final play when Hall intercepted a batted pass in the end zone.
"It was tipped. I just saw the ball and somebody had a chance to get it and it bounced right up," Hall said.
That play saved a game in which the Redskins may have found themselves defensively.
They stayed disciplined in their rush lanes, both with Vick in the game and with Kolb replacing him. They got all over the receivers, forcing the Eagles to dump the ball underneath. They made the Eagles drive the ball, consume time and plays and then stiffened and stopped them.
The Eagles completed 27 passes but 12 went to running back LeSean McCoy. Those scary deep threats, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, combined for four catches for 34 yards.
"We just tried to get hands on them on them and disrupt them at the line and disrupt their timing," said safety Kareem Moore, who recovered a fumble for the Redskins' first takeaway.
That 17-6 halftime spread might have been larger were it not for one of the continuing uh-ohs of the season – penalties in the red zone.
A 57-yard pass from McNabb to Anthony Armstrong and a 12-yard run by Clinton Portis put the ball on the 3-yard line and then left tackle Stephon Heyer, filling in for the injured Trent Williams, got flagged for holding on the back side of a running play.
The Redskins never recovered from that and settled for Graham Gano's 26-yard field goal and a 17-3 lead.
The Redskins also showed they still face issues in communication, in getting plays in to McNabb in a timely fashion. Moving with the third-quarter kickoff, they called a timeout on their third play and another after two more snaps. The half was 86 seconds old.
Minor quibbles, those. Mere thorns in the parade of roses. Nobody's perfect. Nobody's ever perfect. The quest here was to get better.
How about Albert Haynesworth getting his mad on, turning it loose during his plays in the rotation of the defense line?
He pressured Vick into an incomplete pass on third down on the first series of the game. He stopped LeSean McCoy on the Eagles' next possession on third down, allowing two yards when the Eagles needed three, forcing them to punt. He stopped McCoy for no gain on a third and one, though the Eagles would convert on fourth down en route to their first field goal.
How about Brandon Banks? Signed from the practice squad on Saturday to the active roster, he immediately brought back memories of his dynamic punt returns during preseason (minus the fumbles). His 53-yard sprint set up the Redskins' first touchdown.
And don't forget the old standbys. Clinton Portis, who seemed uncertain of his role after last week's debacle, hit holes hard, showed some wiggle and the ability to make cuts. Portis ran six times for 29 yards and caught two passes for 26 yards in the first half, though he went down with a groin injury and was replaced effectively by Ryan Torain.
Andre Carter lost his starting job as the left outside linebacker to Lorenzo Alexander but came up with a key sack of Kolb (and a forced fumble) to terminate a Philadelphia possession.
Glum after the Texans' loss, puzzled after falling to the Rams, the Redskins suddenly sit atop the NFC East with a .500 record and two division wins in their account.
"That's 25 percent of the season down and we're in the driver's seat," linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
Hang on. The ride will surely get bumpy.
The Redskins travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, Oct. 3. Kickoff is 4:15 p.m. ET.
Lincoln Financial Field has a grass surface. The stadium seats 68,532.
The Redskins are 0-1 on the road this season. They lost to the St. Louis Rams 30-16 at the Edward Jones Dome last Sunday.
Last year, the Redskins were 1-7 in road games.
After going 0-6 in the NFC East last year, the Redskins are 1-0 in divisional play this season. In Week 1, they defeated the Dallas Cowboys 13-7 in a Sunday Night matchup at FedExField.
Both of the Eagles' victories this season have been on the road, including last Sunday's 28-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Eagles are 0-1 at home this season. They lost to the Green Bay Packers 27-20 in Week 1 at the Linc.
Sunday's game vs. Washington is the Eagles' first NFC East game of 2010. Last year, they were 4-2 in NFC East play.
The game is sure to have plenty of hype. It is Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb's return to Philadelphia, where he played the first 11 years of his career and guided the Eagles to five NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl berth.
The Redskins-Eagles game will be televised to a national audience on FOX. Joe Buck does the play-by-play with color commentary by Troy Aikman. Pam Oliver reports from the sidelines.
On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on the Redskins Radio Network. Larry Michael calls the play-by-play with former Redskins and Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff adding color commentary. Former Redskin Rick 'Doc' Walker reports from the sidelines.
Compass Media Network will carry the game on national radio with Chris Carrino and Brian Baldinger in the booth.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
|WR||89 Santana Moss||10 DeSean Jackson|
|LT||71 Trent Williams||71 Jason Peters|
|LG||78 K. Lichtensteiger||79 Todd Herremans|
|C||61 Casey Rabach||77 Mike McGlynn|
|RG||75 Artis Hicks||59 Nick Cole|
|RT||77 Jammal Brown||74 Winston Justice|
|TE||47 Chris Cooley||87 Brent Celek|
|WR||84 Joey Galloway||18 Jeremy Maclin|
|QB||5 Donovan McNabb||7 Michael Vick|
|FB||45 Mike Sellers||32 Owen Schmitt|
|RB||26 Clinton Portis||29 LeSean McCoy|
|DE||94 Adam Carriker||54 Brandon Graham|
|NT/DE||96 Ma'ake Kemoeatu||98 Mike Patterson|
|DE/DT||64 Kedric Golston||97 Brodrick Bunkley|
|LB/DE||99 Andre Carter||58 Trent Cole|
|LB||59 London Fletcher||50 Ernie Sims|
|LB||52 Rocky McIntosh||55 Stewart Bradley|
|LB||98 Brian Orakpo||56 Akeem Jordan|
|CB||23 DeAngelo Hall||22 Asante Samuel|
|CB||22 Carlos Rogers||31 Ellis Hobbs|
|SS||30 LaRon Landry||27 Quinton Mikell|
|FS||41 Kareem Moore||29 Nate Allen|
|P||6 Josh Bidwell||6 Sav Rocca|
|K||4 Graham Gano||2 David Akers|
|H||6 Josh Bidwell||6 Sav Rocca|
|LS||57 Nick Sundberg||46 Jon Dorenbos|
|KOR||11 Devin Thomas||31 Ellis Hobbs|
|PR||31 Phillip Buchanon||10 DeSean Jackson|
Washington and Philadelphia have met a total of 151 times over their long rivalry, which dates back to 1934. They have played a home-and-home series every year since 1936.
The Redskins hold the series edge at 78-68-6. Since 2000, the Eagles have won 13 of 20 games.
The Eagles defeated the Redskins twice in 2009: 27-17 in Week 7 at FedExField and 27-24 in Week 12 at Lincoln Financial Field.
In the first matchup, on Oct. 26 at FedExField, wide receiver DeSean Jackson had a 67-yard touchdown run on a reverse and later caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb.
Jason Campbell was sacked six times by the Eagles defense, but managed to throw TD passes to Devin Thomas and Fred Davis.
On Nov. 29, at Lincoln Financial Field, the Redskins led 24-16 in the fourth quarter but the Eagles rallied late.
Campbell completed 22-of-37 passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions (both by Asante Samuel). He also opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown plunge in the first quarter. Santana Moss had a 4-yard TD grab and Fred Davis caught a 10-yarder for another score.
In 2008, the Redskins swept the season series with the Eagles. The season series has been won by one team three times in the last four years.
The Redskins and Eagles have clashed once in the postseason, with Washington winning 20-6 on Jan. 4, 1991 at Veterans Stadium in the Wild Card playoff round.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|REDSKINS 2010 RANKINGS|
|EAGLES 2010 RANKINGS|
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE EAGLES
Kicker David Akers played for the Redskins in 1998. His first NFL game was with the Redskins, on Sept. 20, 1998 vs. Seattle.
Cornerback Dimitri Patterson played for the Redskins from 2005-06. He played in three games in the 2005 season and posted one interception.
Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon was on the Redskins' roster during 2009 training camp and preseason, but was released by the team in final roster cuts. He originally joined the Redskins as an undrafted rookie in May 2009.
Pro scout Louis Riddick served as director of pro personnel and pro scout with the Redskins from 2001-07.
REDSKINS-EAGLES NEWS & NOTES
-- Return of McNabb
Let the hype begin: Donovan McNabb makes his return to Philadelphia on Sunday, wearing a Redskins jersey.
McNabb played 11 seasons in Philadelphia and established himself as one of the great quarterbacks in Eagles history. He garnered six Pro Bowl selections, as well as 2004 Offensive Player of the Year when he guided the franchise to Super Bowl XXXIX.
With a winning percentage of .645 (93-51-1) in his career, McNabb ranks third among active quarterbacks with at least 100 starts. He trails only Tom Brady (.762) and Peyton Manning (.682).
It has not taken long for McNabb to make an impact in Washington. In just his second game in the burgundy and gold, McNabb threw for 426 yards, the fourth-highest single-game passing total in franchise history. It was the third-highest total in McNabb's career.
Already this season, McNabb has moved past Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Steve Young on the NFL's all-time passing yardage list. He also surpassed Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas on the all-time completions list.
A major factor in the success of McNabb's teams has been his ability to take care of the football. McNabb is the NFL's all-time leader in terms of interception percentage (2.08 percent) and ranks third in NFL history in TD/INT ratio (2.16).
McNabb also holds the NFL record with 24 consecutive completions (first 14 vs. Green Bay on Dec. 5, 2004 combined with 10 to end a game vs. New York Giants on Nov. 28, 2004).
Of course, McNabb has consistently downplayed his return to Philadelphia.
"My focus really has been over here," McNabb said. "Really, everything that has been going on over there is really none of my concern. Anything I may say at this point, it really doesn't matter. They made a decision and that is what they are going with, so we just have to focus on what we need to do here."
-- Welcome Back, Quarterback
The return of Donovan McNabb to Philadelphia is not the first time a long-time franchise quarterback has led a new team against the franchise with which he spent the majority of his career.
In Redskins-Eagles history, it happened once before.
On Oct. 11, 1964, Sonny Jurgensen faced the Eagles six months after he was traded from Philadelphia to Washington.
The future Hall of Famer had a banner day, completing 22-of-33 passes for 385 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions as the Redskins defeated the Eagles 35-20.
In 18 games against the Eagles, Jurgensen amassed a 13-3-2 record and completed 292-of-505 passes for 3,691 yards, 32 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.
Last year, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre faced off against the Green Bay Packers for the first time.
Favre, who starred for the Packers for 17 seasons, completed 24-of-31 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns as the Vikings won 30-23.
-- How the Redskins' 53-Man Roster Was Built
The Redskins have 16 players on the roster that the team drafted, including 2010 first-round pick Trent Williams and 2009 supplemental draft pick Jeremy Jarmon.
Mike Sellers is the longest-tenured Redskins. He had a stint with the Redskins in 1998-2000 and rejoined the team in 2004.
Washington has used unrestricted free agency to acquire 27 players, including Casey Rabach in 2005, Andre Carter in 2006, London Fletcher in 2007, DeAngelo Hall in 2008, Albert Haynesworth in 2009 and Ma'ake Kemoeatu in 2010.
Eight Redskins players were acquired as undrafted rookie free agents. This group includes offensive linemen Stephon Heyer and cornerback Byron Westbrook, all local products.
The team has acquired six players via trade: Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, Adam Carriker, Jammal Brown and John Beck.
-- First-Year Redskins Head Coaches
Entering Sunday's game vs. Philadelphia, Mike Shanahan is 1-2 in his first season as Redskins head coach.
Looking back at Redskins head coaches in their first season, five have gone on to have winning seasons (excluding Dick Todd, who was 5-4 in taking over three games into the 1951 season.)
Twelve first-year head coaches suffered losing campaigns, including Joe Gibbs's return in 2004. Additionally Herman Ball coached the final seven games in 1949 and finished 1-4, while Terry Robiskie finished 1-2 while coaching the last three games of 2000.
Eight first-year head coaches ended their seasons with a .500 record, including Jim Zorn in 2008.
-- Redskins' Strength of Schedule
The Redskins have the NFL's eighth toughest schedule in 2010, according to the NFL.
The Redskins' opponents this season produced a 134-122 record last year, a .523 winning percentage.
The Houston Texans (.547), Tennessee Titans (.547), Dallas Cowboys (.543), Cincinnati Bengals (.539), Jacksonville Jaguars (.535), New England Patriots (.531) and New York Giants (.527) have tougher schedules.
The Redskins play 11 games against teams who finished .500 or better in 2009. They play seven games against 2009 playoff opponents.
-- Gathering Moss
Santana Moss leads the Redskins with 22 catches for 290 yards and one touchdown.
Last week vs. St. Louis, he logged six catches for 124 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb. It was his 14th 100-yard receiving game as a Redskin, the sixth-most in franchise history.
With his six receptions, Moss has 522 career catches. He passed Al Toon (517) and Hall of Famer and Redskins legend Bobby Mitchell (521) to move into 97th on the NFL's all-time receptions list.
Moss has 7,733 career receiving yards, which ties him for 87th on the NFL's all-time list. In Redskins history, he ranks seventh with 5,317 career receiving yards.
-- Shanahan's Moving Up
With the Redskins' Week 1 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Mike Shanahan recorded his 155th career win (regular season and postseason) as a head coach.
Shanahan's career record is 155-105. That win total is 16th best among all-time NFL head coaches.
He needs six wins to surpass Bill Cowher, who has a 166-99-1 record.
-- Super Signal-Callers
The Redskins are the only team in the NFL to feature two quarterbacks on their roster that have started in the Super Bowl.
Donovan McNabb led the Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2004.
His backup Rex Grossman took the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl XLI in 2006.
-- On the Road Again
The Redskins will travel 11,124 miles in 2010, the 25th most in the NFL. For the second year in a row, they have the shortest travel schedule in the NFC East.
The San Francisco 49ers travel 35,219 miles, most in the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals travel 6,688 miles, least in the NFL.
The total distance traveled by all NFL teams is 507,050 miles. This is 71,862 fewer miles than 2009, when teams traveled a total of 578,912 miles.
-- What's Next?
After a two-game road trip, the Redskins return to FedExField to host the Green Bay Packers. Kickoff is 4:05 p.m. ET.
It's the first time the Redskins and Packers have played in the nation's capital since 2004.
The last matchup between the two teams was in 2007 at Lambeau Field. The Packers, led by Brett Favre at the time, defeated the Redskins 17-14.