Josh McCown laid on the turf, drilled to the ground by Ravens linebacker Aaron Adeoye, listening to the roar of the crowd as tight end Alex Ellis caught his pass for a touchdown.
It was at this moment when the 40-year-old quarterback realized that he wasn't helping coach his son's high school football team back Charlotte, North Carolina anymore.
On Thursday night, McCown displayed all of the characteristics that made the Eagles want to pull the 17-year NFL veteran out of his oh-so-brief retirement. After just three practices with his new team, McCown was 17-of-24 for 192 yards with two touchdowns for a 122.2 QB rating.
"I've said it from the day I got here. The guys in the locker room, the people that I'm around, the coaches, and just the whole organization (have made it easy)," McCown said after the lightning-shortened 26-15 loss to Baltimore at Lincoln Financial Field.
"We started a little slow today, but we got it figured out. The offensive line fought hard and protected. The receivers were coached well and were in the right spots. For all intents and purposes, I've played a lot more football than those guys. It is surreal to a degree, but at the same time, it's just about execution. After we started slow, that second group got their minds made up to do it. They were in the right spots, so that made it fun."
McCown admitted after the game that he's still trying to learn the names of his new teammates, but one he's for sure to remember is wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The two connected seven times, including a pinpoint 20-yard touchdown pass to get on the board in the third quarter. Arcega-Whiteside ran a post-corner route and McCown lofted it over the rookie's shoulder in the end zone.
"I wish I could tell you it was some magic or something like that, but it was just really him and the coaching that he was getting," McCown said of his instant chemistry with the rookie. "His preparedness to play is huge. For a young player, he carries himself the right way and works really hard. To say that I have a rapport with any of these guys after four days, you know I can't take any of the credit for that. It's their work ethic. It's their time spent. I just know from my experience to put the ball in spots. It's a credit to them for being in those spots. Hats off to those guys."
McCown was signed as the Eagles wanted additional experience and leadership and depth at the game's most important position. McCown entered the game on the Eagles' third drive on offense after Cody Kessler started. McCown fumbled his first shotgun snap and his first pass attempt was a screen that was knocked down by cornerback Cyrus Jones. McCown said it was a 15-yard pass along the sideline to Greg Ward late in the second quarter that settled him down. The drive was promising but stalled because of penalties.
After halftime, McCown found his rhythm and was dealing. He was 9-of-13 for 122 yards with both touchdowns before exiting the game after the second scoring throw to Ellis.
"It's kind of like an old '79 Chevy; it takes a while to get cranked up and then you get going," McCown said. "I hate how I started, but I finally got some things going, so that was good."
"I thought he did a really good job," head coach Doug Pederson said. "He's a veteran player, obviously. The game plan, we just – I had him just highlight plays he knew in four days and just called off of that. He handled it extremely well, bounced back there in the third quarter and led two touchdown drives, and kind of got us back in the game. So, I was obviously pleased with the way he handled himself."