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Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 716
Location: Montpelier, Vermont

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 8:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote, about that SI cover jinx?

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Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 220
Location: Philadelphia, PA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 10:44 am    Post subject: from a local philly paper Reply with quote

This was from the local city paper (Philadelphia Inquirer)... I wan't sure if you guys would get this up there but I thought it was interesting. Mc Nabb took the team on his shoulders and the blame as well.

Kinda helps the medicine go down a bit... as tough as it is to swallow for me.

once again... congrats Pats!


McNabb was spent on Eagles' final push
By Bob Brookover
Inquirer Staff Writer

It will go down as the most scrutinized and controversial touchdown drive in Eagles history.

With 5 minutes, 40 seconds left in Super Bowl XXXIX, the Eagles got the football on their own 21-yard line trailing the New England Patriots by 10 points. Donovan McNabb took his team on a 13-play, 79-yard drive that concluded with a 30-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Greg Lewis.

That play pulled the Eagles within three points and kept their dim hopes of winning the Super Bowl alive. But most of America and every breathing Eagles fan wondered why McNabb and the offense weren't in more of a hurry to get to the line of scrimmage.

Only 1:48 remained on the clock when Lewis scored, and when the Eagles failed to recover the ensuing onside kick, they found themselves in desperation mode.

Center Hank Fraley said Monday night on a local television show that part of the problem was that McNabb became sick in the middle of the drive and that he needed assistance from wide receiver Freddie Mitchell to call one of the plays.

"I mentioned that [McNabb] was exhausted," Fraley said yesterday as the Eagles gathered at the NovaCare Complex to clean out their lockers. "He gave us everything he had to try to put us in a position to win."

Fraley's comments triggered all sorts of speculation about what was wrong with McNabb, but nothing was confirmed by the Eagles. Neither coach Andy Reid nor McNabb was made available for comment. McNabb is in Honolulu, where he is scheduled to start for the NFC in Sunday's Pro Bowl.

One theory was that McNabb suffered a concussion. Fraley believed it was simply a case of exhaustion that made the quarterback have the dry heaves. He said he thought McNabb was trying to vomit just as he had done during the Eagles' fifth game of the season in 2002. Strangely enough, that game was also in Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium, with an attempt at a late rally by the Eagles falling three points short against the Jaguars.

"He wasn't disoriented," Fraley said. "He was exhausted. We were kind of not in a hurry-up mode, but we were in a hurry-up mode. He had to run around a couple of times. He scrambled, he got hit, and he threw up or something. He wasn't able to spit out the whole play or puke."

Guard Artis Hicks said it definitely reminded him of the Jacksonville game.

"He was talking, and he started gagging," Hicks said. "I thought he was going to throw up. It was kind of the same situation [as 2002] except he didn't let it go. He was out of breath, and he was tired. He was able to communicate well enough to the linemen that we knew what the protection was."

Mitchell completed the call.

"You could definitely see there was some kind of complication," he said. "He couldn't speak. He couldn't get it out. It was the first time I had to be a quarterback in the NFL."

Somebody suggested Mitchell should have called a play for himself.

"That was my big chance and I blew it," he said.

A sequence of plays led to McNabb's violent coughing spell in the huddle.

With 3:36 left and the Eagles at their own 46-yard line, McNabb avoided the Patriots' rush and scrambled to his left. Just as he threw an incomplete pass intended for Terrell Owens, he was drilled by defensive end Jarvis Green.

McNabb was slow to get up, and the next play broke down when it appeared as if the quarterback wasn't ready for the ball when Fraley snapped it. The quarterback went down for no gain at 3:28, and the Eagles did not get the next play off until the 2:55 mark. Just eight seconds remained on the play clock at that point.

Remarkably, the play resulted in a first-down completion to Mitchell with 2:51 remaining. McNabb started to call the following play at the line of scrimmage, but he couldn't complete the call and the Eagles were forced to huddle.

At that point, the Fox cameras focused on Reid, who didn't appear to know what was going on. But before that, McNabb could be seen coughing in the huddle.

Thirty-one seconds ticked off the clock before the next play. To make matters worse, McNabb's pass on that play was dropped by Brian Westbrook, who would have gone for a huge gain or possibly a touchdown.

Westbrook caught McNabb's next pass for a 13-yard gain to the New England 30-yard line with 2:09 remaining, but the Eagles didn't make any attempt to get another play off or spike the ball before the two-minute warning.

McNabb's second pass after the two-minute warning went for the touchdown to Lewis.

Though McNabb's problem explains why the Eagles allowed huge chunks of time to expire after the hit by Green, it does not explain why the team wasn't in more of a hurry before that.

Perhaps the most inexcusable sequence was when they allowed 10 seconds to tick off the clock after they successfully challenged a 4-yard pass to Lewis that was initially ruled incomplete. The Eagles still huddled after the officials restarted the clock.

Hicks said the Eagles didn't want to start the drive in too much of a hurry.

"You don't want to be in your two-minute offense when there are five minutes left in the game," he said. "You do that and you're not communicating as well, and you don't get anything done or you end up throwing an interception. You might save time on the clock, but you don't have the ball. What's the point of that?"
"If I had some money I would buy more time!"

- Trey Anastasio
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