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Brian Eller

More on the Redskins' win over the Eagles


I'll be honest. When Donovan McNabb was introduced Sunday, I expected a much more hostile reception than what ensued.

In my head there were going to be boos, jeers, even possibly a few beer bottles tossed in No. 5's direction. After all, these are the same fans who would boo jolly old Saint Nick. But I must admit, Philly fans, job well done. You gave McNabb exactly the reception he deserved.
It's always hard seeing a star athlete don a different uniform. It's like seeing an ex-girlfriend with her new beau for the first time. There's an odd feeling in your stomach. You want so much to hate her, but you know you don't, because there were so many good times. McNabb's relationship with the Eagles is no different.

Any Philly fan knows what McNabb did for their franchise. He was the mark of stability on a team that went to five NFC Championship games and Super Bowl XXXIX during his tenure under center. So to see fans at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday stand and applaud for the man now wearing maroon and white was a classy move.

As for the game, McNabb didn't light up the stat sheet, but he did what was needed to win the game. He made an impact with his arm --125 yards passing -- and his legs -- 39 yards rushing, including several key first-down scrambles. More importantly, however, he put the Redskins back into the picture in the NFC East.

Of course it's too early to label any team's season finished. But we're already through 1/4 of the schedule and in my mind, that's enough time to determine who's for real, and who's a fluke.

In the case of Washington, I'm buying this team, not for a trip to the playoffs, but as a team that will be in the playoff picture come December. Sunday's win is hard to completely go nuts over, because I honestly think despite players repeatedly dismissing the whole McNabb/Eagles storyline, they wanted to win that game for Donovan as well as picking up a key divisional road victory.

But we also saw a Redskins defense that has taken leaps and bounds since its Week 2 debacle against Houston. In Sunday's win, the Redskins' defense allowed just five third-down conversions on 14 attempts and forced two turnovers while keeping Philadelphia out of the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Certainly the injury to Michael Vick helped matters, but that shouldn't overshadow what Washington's unit did.

Branching off that point, a small shout out to Washington linebacker London Fletcher. In the midst of his 13th season, the middle linebacker is still bringing it, registering 12 tackles Sunday. He currently leads the team with 39.

Fortunately for Redskins fans, we'll find out just how good this defense is over the next three weeks. Washington will face three of the most explosive quarterbacks in the league, as Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning will come to town, followed by a trip to the Windy City to face a battered and bruised Jay Cutler.

Time will tell, but for now, the Redskins can enjoy the win, while Eagles fans can relish the fact they were classy ... for once.




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