BALTIMORE -- Donovan McNabb has done just about everything a quarterback can do in his Eagles' career. And what he hasn't done with that, he's done in high school or in college.
But he had never been benched.
McNabb was admittedly shocked when he was lifted for young Kevin Kolb at halftime of Sunday's disastrous 36-7 loss at Baltimore, a defeat that could prove fatal to Philadelphia's postseason hopes.
Could it also be the end of the Donovan McNabb Era, a 10-year period of prosperity under the franchise's all-time leading passer? McNabb's first word when he found out head coach Andy Reid's decision might sum up what all of Philadelphia feels.
In terms of pure play, it's not a total shock. McNabb had led his offense to just one touchdown in seven quarters of play, and had turned the ball over seven times over that stretch, including three during Sunday's first half. Naturally, there have been calls for McNabb's job from fans and media alike.
After completing six of his first seven passes, McNabb finished 8-of-18 for 59 yards and two interceptions.
But looking at the change from the standpoint that a presumably healthy McNabb was watching the Philadelphia Eagles from the sidelines for the first time since his rookie season requires taking a step back, and a deep breath along with it.
"You go along with (the decision)," McNabb said. "You just continue to try to motivate the rest of the guys who go out, and rally behind Kevin and help us win this game."
McNabb was blunt – if he were the coach, he would not have pulled himself. In that, he still "definitely hope(s)" to be the Eagles' quarterback when they battle Arizona on Thanksgiving. He could find out soon; with the short week looming, Reid will presumably have to make a decision on who gets the majority of practice reps Monday.
And McNabb feels he should be the one.
"Maybe that's just the competitive nature that you have. That you feel like something positive is going to turn things around and get things going in the right direction," McNabb said. "But that's why I'm not the coach."
For an offense that needed change, Reid made the big one. But in addition to McNabb's struggles, the running game was absent once again, the offensive line allowed both McNabb and Kolb to be swallowed up - forced to throw too soon or forced to run and mental mistakes were made all over the field.
"It all starts with me with the ball in my hands," McNabb said. "We all have to step up to make plays and we all have to step up and make our job a lot easier."
As of now, the man with the hardest job in Philadelphia could be Reid. It would be a stretch to say the Eagles, at 5-5-1, are on the ropes.
Reid's decision in the coming days could shift the course of the franchise from 2008 to 20-whenever, barring a miracle run. At 32 on Tuesday, history suggests McNabb does have quite a bit of football ahead of him.
"I expect to be here," McNabb said. "When you play a game like this, you don't focus on your future and all of that. You just focus on trying to win the game. And at this present time, I'm not even thinking about what happens after the season is over."