After Sunday's opening day performance by Donovan McNabb, it's safe to say that the quarterback is back to his pre-injury self.
No. 5 carved up the Rams' porous defense with relative ease, completing 16-of-24 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns. And that was before halftime. McNabb finished the day 21-of-33 for 361 yards, his most passing yards in a season opener, as the Eagles rolled to a 38-3 win over the Rams.
"He's worked so hard to get himself back to this point," head coach Andy Reid said. "For once, he didn't have to rehab during the offseason. He showed this the last three games of last season and he just kind of picked up where he left off."
McNabb didn't waste any time making sure the Eagles got off on the right foot this season. On the first possession of the game, Philadelphia marched 80 yards on six plays, culminating in a one-yard shovel pass from McNabb to running back Brian Westbrook for a 7-0 lead.
After the defense forced the Rams to go three-and-out, the Eagles took their second possession and drove 82 yards in 11 plays for another score - a 5-yard strike to tight end L.J. Smith.
According to McNabb, jumping out to an early lead was big.
"I think it was important for us to start that way," McNabb said. "Coming off a good preseason and, obviously, a great training camp, to start out early, set the tone early. In previous years, we weren't able to do that."
The Eagles offense thoroughly dominated the Rams, outgaining the Rams 522-166 in total offense. Hank Baskett, Greg Lewis and rookie DeSean Jackson each eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark, while Westbrook chipped in 91 yards on 19 carries.
"(McNabb) did a great job throwing the ball around," Westbrook said. "He had a lot of success. He threw the ball to a lot of different guys. He stood tall in the pocket. He got hit a couple times, but he completed the ball and he led the team. That's what we expect from 'Five' – to lead the team and to throw the ball around, and he did that today."
As always, McNabb spread the wealth, hitting eight different receivers before taking a seat on the bench early in the final quarter. He finished with a quarterback rating of 131.
"Well, they work hard,"" McNabb said, referring to the receiving corps. "Like I said in the offseason, like I said in interviews that I've had, in order for the guys to be successful and guys to make plays for you, you have to call plays for them.
"We called plays for each and every one of those guys and they made plays for us, and throughout the whole game, we were able to spread the ball around and get everybody involved. When things are rolling like that, when you spread the ball around and get everybody involved, it does wonders for your offense."
But this day belonged to McNabb, who took the opportunity to serve notice to the rest of the NFL that he is back. His longest strike went for 90 yards to Baskett near the end of the first half.
That play came after the Eagles ran the ball twice and appeared as if they were going to run out the clock.
"Well, you have to be aggressive, and we (were) doing it all through the whole game and there (was) no reason to stop now," McNabb said. "I thought it was a great job on (offensive coordinator) Marty (Mornhinweg) and Andy's (Reid) part of just taking a shot and it paid off.
"But we're going to have to do that this year. You know, we're going to have to keep defenses on their heels wondering what we're going to do because we just can't keep running the ball and not giving guys on the outside the opportunity to make plays for us."
With the Cowboys looming next Monday night, McNabb said that he has done some advance film study in preparation for the showdown in Dallas.
"Well, I've been watching 'Hard Knocks," McNabb said. "Who hasn't been? It's been on. (The Cowboys) are a confident bunch. They're an experienced bunch. There's a reason why they won 13 games or whatever last year. So we know it's going to be a battle. Every time we play it goes down to the wire somehow. So we have to prepare ourselves to go out and (put) up a good fight."