Redskins Clip Eagles' Wings: Four Things We Learned from the Game
Donovan McNabb's return to Philadelphia began with pregame cheers from his former team's fans.
Those cheers turned to boos and tears, as McNabb and the Redskins beat the Eagles, 17-12. They got the job done against an Eagles team who couldn't seem to find a rhythm with Michael Vick out of the game due to a rip injury.
Kevin Kolb looked a little lost under center, throwing a lot of balls underneath and not taking many shots down field. He couldn't hook up with his two biggest threats—DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin—while throwing one interception and coming close to turning it over a couple of times late in the game.
The Eagles were expected to roll in this one, and after this big road victory by the Skins, it levels out the NFC East even more.
With that being said, I give you four things we learned from the Redskins manhandling of the Eagles today.
1. Michael Vick Needs to Play if the Eagles want to Win
If there were still any questions surrounding who should be the starting quarterback in Philadelphia, they were answered in today's game.
After Vick suffered a bone crunching hit on a run in the first quarter hurting his ribs, Kevin Kolb was forced into action, and although his numbers were decent, his overall performance was not. Kolb didn't complete a pass for more than 18 yards—minus a dump off to McCoy that he took for 31 yards—and just didn't seem in sync with his receivers at all throughout the course of this game.
Now, there isn't much information out on Vick's injury, but it didn't look serious enough to keep him out for an extended period of time. He has been the glue on this offense, and without him, they lose their most dynamic weapon. If he is hurt for a long period of time, it is hard to believe that they will remain the in the mix for the division crown.
Don't get me wrong, I think Kevin Kolb is a good player. He can and will be a good quarterback at the NFL level, but he just is either not ready to start in the league yet and needs to develop more, or he just wasn't mentally prepared to play in this game because he just looked like a deer in headlights out there today. Either way, I don't think the Eagles can win the division without Michael Vick on the field—Kolb just hasn't shown any sign of being an NFL-ready quarterback.
All you Eagles fans who were complaining about Vick starting because he wasn't the future and couldn't run the offense, I hope today's game made you second guess yourselves.
2. McNabb Can Win Anywhere
There are players that can only succeed in a certain style of offense and have to have specific weapons in order to do well.
Donovan McNabb is not one of those players.
Although he may be inconsistent at times, he is a veteran who knows what it takes to win games. He didn't put up great numbers at all, but he made some key throws—a 31-yard touchdown strike to Chris Cooley and a 57-yard bomb to Anthony Armstrong—that ended up making the difference in this low scoring ballgame.
He also converted a big third down late in the game that drained a lot of clock, giving the Eagles little time to make a last second drive. In a game that had little offense, big plays were going to make the difference, and Donovan did just enough to come away with the victory—a star-like quality that the Redskins have been lacking for quite some time at the quarterback position.
It may not always look pretty, but McNabb can will win games for you, no matter what city he's playing in and who he has around him.
3. The Redskins Defense Isn't Old, They Are Experienced
The Redskins aren't what you would call a young team.
In fact, they are the oldest team (by average age) in the NFL. There are a lot of words attributed with being an older team in the NFL—slow, worn down, washed up—but when I think see a veteran defense like this one perform like they did today, I think experience, wits, and confidence.
Although the Eagles didn't have Michael Vick for most of the game, the Redskins still had to show some guts and determination in a hostile environment at Lincoln Financial Field. They forced some important turnovers, picking off Kevin Kolb once, stripping LeSean McCoy in a big spot, and doing a good job of bottling up some of the Eagles big play guys, keeping the offense in check.
London Fletcher and Rocky McIntosh do a great job filling holes, and even though the secondary has struggled recently, they did a great job holding Jackson, Maclin, and Celek in check. The Redskins have a bunch of good football players. They don't have the superstars out there, but they have solid veterans who have been around the game for a while and know how to handle any situation.
I'm not saying they are going to win you a championship, but they will never give up on a play, they keep opponents from breaking long plays off, and they keep the team in games week-in and week-out.
4. The NFC East Is Anyone's Division
As I state before, the 'Skins victory puts them tied with Philadelphia at 2-2, sitting atop the NFC East.
Winning a divisional game away from home is a statement, especially in this division, where the teams are so evenly matched this year. These in division games are going to mean a lot down the road, and when your rival comes into town and handles you in convincing fashion, it hurts your morale a lot.
At this point in time, the Giants are on top of the Bears 10-0 with a little over two minutes left in the third quarter, so it looks like it will most likely be a three way tie for the division lead. The Cowboys (1-2) are on their bye week.
The division race is wide open. The Redskins were not expected to win this game, and I'm sure more surprises will occur as the season goes on. The NFC East is full of talent, and they will be sure to beat up on each other every time two of them meet up.
Phil Lombardo is a Bleacher Report writing intern and a senior journalism/mass communications major at St. Bonaventure University.
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