McNabb leads Eagles to long overdue comeback win

Published Nov. 23, 2009 9:07 p.m. ET

Donovan McNabb rallied the Philadelphia Eagles from a fourth-quarter deficit and the defense preserved the victory. No big deal? Well, it hadn't happened in two years. In a game the quarterback called a "must-win," McNabb led the offense to a go-ahead score with 5:31 left and the Eagles beat the Chicago Bears 24-20 on Sunday night. It was the first time Philadelphia came from behind in the final quarter and won since a 33-25 victory at Washington on Nov. 11, 2007. The Eagles had been 2-11-1 since then in games decided by seven points or fewer. "I think Donovan did a nice job with it. He kept everybody calm," coach Andy Reid said Monday. "I think when enough is said about it, I've learned with professional athletes that when they are challenged, normally good things happen. These are talented guys and they took it up a notch." McNabb has been criticized for his inability to lead the Eagles to late-game victories in recent seasons. Early in his career, he was captain of the comebacks. Not lately, however. McNabb got ripped throughout the offseason after the Eagles lost to Arizona 32-25 in the NFC championship game last January. He misfired on four straight passes from the Cardinals 47 in the final minutes. But McNabb helped the Eagles overcome an 18-point, second-half deficit in that game. His 62-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson in the fourth quarter put Philly ahead only to watch the defense give it right back. Most people just remembered the final drive. In a 13-9 loss to lowly Oakland on Oct. 18, McNabb led the Eagles to the Raiders 43 before the drive stalled near the two-minute warning. The offense also came up short in the fourth quarter in losses to Dallas (20-16) and San Diego (31-23) this month. The Eagles (6-4) couldn't afford to lose to Chicago. The victory kept them right in the mix for a playoff berth in the jumbled NFC East. Philadelphia trails Dallas by one game and is one of three 6-4 teams fighting for the two wild-card spots. "This was a game that we definitely needed to come out and win, by any means necessary," McNabb said. "We pulled together. Guys continued to support one another. We were waiting to see who was going to make the big play." Playing without star running back Brian Westbrook, the Eagles relied on rookie LeSean McCoy to balance an offense that relies mostly on the pass. McCoy carried 20 times for 99 yards, including a 10-yard TD run that provided the final margin. McNabb threw for 244 yards and connected with Jackson for another big play, a 48-yard TD pass. The Eagles overcame three turnovers, including fumbles by Jackson and McCoy. "Jackson really stepped up. He had a short-term memory of what happened with his fumble and came back and made a very big play for us on a third down," McNabb said. "The defense was making plays, getting us the ball back, and putting pressure on Jay Cutler. We had a total team effort." Notes: As expected, Reid said Westbrook won't play against the Redskins this week. Westbrook saw two concussion specialists last week in Pittsburgh and needs more time to recover after sustaining two concussions in a three-week span. ... Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel felt fine after straining his neck and missing time against the Bears.