It didn't take long for Donovan McNabb to prove he was healthy enough to play Sunday afternoon.
On the first offensive play for the Eagles, McNabb bought time in the pocket before scrambling 13 yards for a first down. Clearly his legs were underneath him and he could run in his first game back after suffering a fractured rib in the season opener.
Then, on the very next play, McNabb rolled to his left and unleashed a bomb downfield that rookie Jeremy Maclin brought in for a 51-yard touchdown. So yeah, McNabb could throw the ball too.
"I knew it would kind of be a slow process, (I) didn't think it would happen as fast as it did with that first touchdown," McNabb said. "It just so happened to be the deep ball for the touchdown that really got us going on offense."
McNabb had close to a flawless game, connecting on 16 of 21 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns. He was also the Eagles' leading rusher, picking up 30 yards on the ground.
"It was good to get Donovan back in there, and I thought he played well," said head coach Andy Reid. "He felt pretty good. He took a couple of hits, but not many. There weren't a lot of times that he got hit. He tweaked (the rib) a little bit, and from a confidence standpoint, you never want him hit, but it was good that (he did get hit) and felt comfortable coming out of it. I saw him run the football, and I wasn't sure that would be quite as much of his game today as it was early. He did a nice job with it and was smart getting out of bounds."
The star quarterback and the rest of the offense showed their explosiveness with three separate two-play touchdown drives. McNabb connected on two touchdowns of 40-plus yards to Maclin, and also hooked up with Leonard Weaver on a 20-yard catch and run for a score.
McNabb is now on the precipice of joining some exclusive company. With 199 touchdown passes and 29,663 passing yards in his career, he will soon become one of 20 quarterbacks to notch 200 touchdowns and 30,000 yards passing. Only two other active players, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre, are on that list.
McNabb has also been historically mistake-free as a passer. His current touchdown to interception ratio - 199 touchdowns against only 91 interceptions - is the second-best of all-time, trailing only Tom Brady who has thrown two more touchdown passes and three less interceptions.
But McNabb and the Eagles are in an interesting position as they evaluate themselves. All four of the team's games this season have been lopsided affairs - the 19-point victory against the Bucs was the closest margin win or lose for the Eagles in 2009 - and the three teams the Eagles have beaten have combined for a single victory.
"It's difficult for anybody to know where they're at right now," McNabb said. "I've been in this game for a while where you've seen a lot of teams come out hot, and everybody's saying they're the best team in the league, and all of the sudden they don't make the playoffs and things don't really work out well for them. I think, for all of us in this league, this is a time when you're gauging the different players that you have, and what you can do in the offense.
"I think in this situation, it's an opportunity for us to get adjusted with one another, with the receiving corps, with the tight ends and running backs, so that by mid-season and toward the end, we're hitting the thing rolling."
One thing's for sure though, when McNabb plays as well as he did Sunday, it's almost a guarantee that the Eagles come out on top. The team has now won 34 straight games in which McNabb's quarterback rating exceeded 100.0, the longest active streak in the league.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:12 p.m., October 11