On a night when Donovan McNabb signed a potential $78 million extension with the Redskins, Eagles counterpart Michael Vick played like the quarterback more deserving of a megadeal.
Vick was virtually flawless in leading Philadelphia to a 59-28 rain-soaked victory at FedEx Field. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns, rushed eight times for 80 yards and two scores and helped the Eagles set franchise highs for total yards (592) and points in a half (45). Their 28-0 lead at the end of the first quarter was the largest for a road team since at least 1950. Vick's performance was so brilliant -- he became the first player in NFL history with at least 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game -- that it overshadowed McNabb's new deal and turned up the volume among those questioning whether the Redskins traded for the wrong Eagles QB in April.
Here's what we learned from Monday night:
1. McNabb's five-year extension, which according to ESPN includes $40 million in guarantees, makes no sense as currently outlined. McNabb is in his 12th season, will be 39 in the final year of the deal and has struggled to adjust to new coach Mike Shanahan's system. Two weeks ago, Shanahan humiliated McNabb by benching him against the Lions, then telling the media that McNabb did not have a handle on the two-minute offense and lacked the "cardiovascular endurance" to run it. Now he's worth $40 million guaranteed?
2. The knee-jerk reaction is to rip the Redskins, but doing so would be reckless and unwarranted -- until we see the fine print. If the pact allows the Redskins to walk away within two of three years, at a cost far less than what has been reported, it's easier to understand the deal. But if the Redskins, who have major offensive holes along the line, along with wide receiver and running back, can't void the contract or release McNabb without serious financial consequence, then allocating major dollars to an aging signal-caller will prove to be one of the worst decisions of the Shanahan era. As it is, McNabb is on pace for his worst year since his rookie season (1999).
3. Vick is better than he was during his Pro Bowl years in Atlanta. He still possesses great mobility; but at 30 years old, he looks more comfortable and confident in the pocket. You can see him going through his read progressions rather than scrambling downfield if his first receiver is covered.
At one point early in the second quarter, Vick had completed all nine of his passes for 229 yards and three scores, with one touchdown rushing. He threw from the pocket, on designed bootlegs and at the end of scrambles. Who'd have thought that, nine weeks into a season, we'd find Vick as the league's top-rated passer, at 115.1? Yet there he sits, ahead of Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and all the other established "passers". More impressive, Vick has yet to throw an interception since joining the Eagles last year. That's 166 consecutive attempts and counting. Vick is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2011. If McNabb is worth $78 million over five years, we can only guess what Vick, who is five years younger, will command on the open market. The Eagles better hope the franchise tag is part of the new collective bargaining agreement.
4. The only people happier with Monday's outcome than Eagles fans were executives at NBC Sports. The Peacock Network has the rights to Sunday night's NFC East showdown between the Eagles and Giants, who are tied atop the division at 6-3, two games ahead of the Redskins; and the matchup figures to draw big numbers.
Before losing last weekend to the Cowboys, the Giants were widely regarded as not only the hottest team in the league -- with five straight wins -- but possibly its best. Many are sure to talk about the Eagles in the same vein after their dominating performance against the Redskins. For those keeping track: Philadelphia is 4-0 in games that Vick starts and finishes.Another tidbit: The Eagles have won the last four meetings against the Giants (including the 2008 playoffs).
5. The Redskins won't be a factor in the divisional race. They're now 4-5 and have a remaining schedule that isn't forgiving.: at Titans, Vikings, at Giants, Bucs, at Cowboys, at Jaguars, Giants.
Washington was down to its third-string running back Monday, and its receiving corps doesn't keep defensive coordinators up at night. The offense has taken a lot of hits this year, but defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had two weeks to prepare for the Eagles and his unit still surrendered 28 points in the first quarter and 45 in the first half.