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At least McNabb was enjoying himself

  • Article by: Chris Miller
  • Star Tribune
  • October 28, 2007 - 8:09 PM

One play, Donovan McNabb said, was proof that "the burst is coming back."

Oh, the Eagles quarterback had plenty of impressive plays Sunday in his team's 23-16 victory over the Vikings at the Metrodome.

There was a 50-yard pass to Greg Lewis in the first quarter; a scrambling, 30-yard strike to a tightrope-walking Reggie Brown in the second quarter; and a 31-yarder to a juggling Kevin Curtis in the fourth quarter.

But the play McNabb singled out was a 4-yard quarterback draw from the Vikings 11 in the final quarter that, in the scheme of things, meant nothing and everything.

"Everyone talks about how I can't run," said McNabb, who had season-ending knee surgery in November. "But I can run, and we want other teams to see that. I wanted that play in our offense today."

McNabb's immobility took a nationally televised stage Sept. 30, when he was sacked 12 times by the Giants in a 16-3 loss. The Eagles had a bye the next week, and McNabb passed for more than 500 yards combined in the next two games.

On Sunday, he took advantage of the Vikings' suspect pass defense by completing 23 of 36 passes for 333 yards, including a 6-yard shovel pass to Brian Westbrook for a touchdown.

"The knee, I won't notice until tomorrow," McNabb said. "It'll be a little sore. But since the bye week, I've felt really like I'm coming back to health."

The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback has been under heat in Philadelphia. The Eagles entered Sunday's game with only six touchdowns and 10 field goals in 20 red-zone possessions. They improved that Sunday, with two touchdowns and three field goals in five trips inside the Vikings 20.

"Donovan's going to get better from game to game," said Westbrook, who also scored on a 1-yard leap.

Said coach Andy Reid: "He's getting better every week; feeling more comfortable every week."

McNabb wasn't completely satisfied Sunday. On a first-quarter possession, he didn't have the right touch in overthrowing L.J. Smith at the back of the end zone, forcing the Eagles to settle for a 20-yard field goal by David Akers. And shortly after McNabb's draw in the fourth quarter, he passed a step behind Lewis on an end-zone slant, enabling the Vikings to stay within a touchdown after Akers kicked a 25-yarder on the next play.

"I thought I could have done better," McNabb said.

"L.J., I just overthrew him a little bit, and I could have hit Greg in stride."

Still, having the "old" McNabb back clearly rejuvenated the Eagles.

"Some plays he created just by scrambling," said Brown, who caught eight passes for 105 yards. "He was a lot more confident. He's starting to have fun; starting to enjoy himself."

Chris Miller • cmiller@startribune.com

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