It was an unexpected sight.
No, it wasn't the Michael Jackson leg kick after his touchdown Sunday against the Falcons. It wasn't the fact that he scored on a QB sneak. It was what he did three plays before his touchdown.
With the ball at the Falcons' 26-yard line, McNabb dropped back to pass, didn't see anyone open and took off for a 12-yard gain.
What that play did was help get McNabb into a rhythm that the offense sought for a better part of the first half.
Before the scramble, McNabb was 5-of-15 for 73 yards. The Eagles has scored no points. After the scramble, the Eagles scored on that drive and the following two to take a 17-7 lead. Over those two-plus drives, McNabb was 6-of-8 for 96 yards.
"You just have to kind of relax and that's something I did in the second quarter," McNabb said. "I kind of relaxed and got my legs up under me. I attribute that to just getting back in the relaxed mode of just running the offense." Donovan McNabb PC: October 29
McNabb finished with a season-high 25 rushing yards. The rushing touchdown was McNabb's first since Oct. 8, 2006.
"I haven't been in the end zone for a while," McNabb said. "Not that I was looking for it in any way, but for us to go up and score points and to kind of contribute in that way was big for our offense and for him (head coach Andy Reid) to have that confidence in calling it down there obviously shows a lot."
In the previous game against the 49ers, the Eagles also benefited from McNabb's scrambling ability. This time it was a 4-yard run that shortened the length of David Akers' successful field goal attempt in the fourth quarter that put the Eagles ahead for good.
It's one thing to use McNabb's mobility to buy time in the pocket, as he did with the breathtaking 14-second play against the Cowboys in 2004. But it's another to put the threat of taking off in the minds of the opponent.
It is highly unlikely that McNabb will ever match the rushing totals he put up earlier in his career and for good reason. The offense is limited if McNabb doesn't go through his reads. And the extra punishment is unnecessary for McNabb, who spent last year getting his legs back under him from the knee injury in 2006.
But when the downfield options are limited and the field is open, why not?
"I guess it's a difference when you're healthy of the choices that you have," McNabb said.