|McNabb says he feels fine, struggles in return from knee injury|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 09 September 2007 13:45|
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -Donovan McNabb's smile looked the same. He said he felt fine, too.|
Still, the five-time Pro Bowl selection struggled to find a rhythm and got little help from his receivers or offensive line in the Philadelphia Eagles' 16-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in his first game since returning from a torn right knee ligament.
McNabb finished 15-of-33 for 184 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but the nine-year veteran looked little like the dominating quarterback that led Philadelphia to four NFC title games and a Super Bowl appearance.
``I had full command of everything that was going on out there, just like I thought I would,'' McNabb said. ``When you get in a game situation, you have to take care of the little things and I think we all didn't do that today.''
McNabb, who was injured last November, misfired on three of his first five passes, including one that was flagged as intentional grounding and another that was picked off by linebacker Nick Barnett.
The turnover set up a field goal that gave the Packers an early 10-0 lead.
``I was just trying to buy time, I had to get out of the pocket,'' McNabb said. ``If I had an opportunity to do it again, would I do it? I would do the same thing, but maybe I'd put air under it. But in that situation throwing across your body in the middle of the field, you don't want to.''
McNabb was only sacked once for four yards in the fourth quarter, but was under constant pressure.
``Our D-line has done a great job this whole offseason,'' Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk said. ``Being great, being stout, at the same time getting a lot of pressure and helping us out on the back end. When a quarterback only has two or two and a half seconds to throw, it makes it a lot easier on us.''
McNabb wouldn't blame his offensive line, but he didn't have much time and it affected the Eagles. McNabb said he wasn't able to set his feet on some of his throws.
``Not at times, but that happens during the course of a game,'' McNabb said. ``When that happens, you keep your eyes downfield and try to make them pay playing the pass game. If nothing's there, try to pick up as much as you can running and I tried to do that. They really pursued well.''
McNabb seemed to find his game midway through the first half, showing his brilliant touch on the final play of the first quarter in the face of an all-out blitz. He got a pass off down the right sideline to wide receiver Kevin Curtis for a 37-yard gain to set up the Eagles' first points, a field goal by David Akers.
On Philadelphia's next possession, McNabb went 5-of-6 for 55 yards, ending when he found receiver Jason Avant matched up with a linebacker for a 9-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10.
``I thought he did a good job facing the circumstances,'' Avant said. ``We're going to get better. All of us have kinks that we need to get out.''
That would be the end of McNabb's consistent play. Philadelphia went away from Brian Westbrook and the running game in the second half, and Green Bay began keying on the quarterback.
``I'm sure he'll be the first to tell you we can do a lot better than what we did,'' tight end L.J. Smith said. ``We had a couple of drops, and I think Westbrook would probably like to get the ball in his hands a little more on the ground, but the coaches will figure that out and we'll work on that.''
McNabb finished with nine yards rushing on four carries. He appeared to grow tired in the fourth quarter, going 3-for-9 for 26 yards and being sacked twice, though one was nullified by a defensive penalty.
The Eagles also failed to capitalize after linebacker Trent Cole stripped Brett Favre and Jevon Kearse recovered to give Philadelphia the ball on the Packers 38 with 4:18 to play.
Philadelphia ran twice, but on third down, McNabb was flushed out of the pocket and tackled by defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila after a short gain. The Eagles never got another offensive opportunity after J.R. Reed muffed a punt that set up Mason Crosby's game-winning kick with two seconds left.
``There were too many mistakes,'' McNabb said. ``I have to be the one to set the tone and make sure we eliminate those. But as a unit, you have to be able to do your job and do it well.''
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