By Joseph White
LANDOVER —Forget about the contract: The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t happy with Donovan McNabb’s words. And they were thoroughly upset with LaRon Landry’s alleged dirty deeds, both before and during the game.
The best way to handle it? Have Michael Vick and the offense run up the score.
On a day the Washington Redskins hoped to celebrate McNabb’s new contract and set aside the swirl of distractions from his benching two weeks earlier, Vick put up some gaudy numbers of his own and the Eagles stormed the party and embarrassed their NFC East rivals 59-28 Monday night.
It was Vick, not McNabb, who played like a $78 million quarterback, accounting for six touchdowns. The Eagles marched down the field in one big chunk after another, putting new entries in the various record books along the way.
Vick became the first player in NFL history with at least 300 yards passing, 50 yards rushing, four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game. He hasn’t thrown an interception or lost a fumble this season.
“I’ve had some great games in my day,” Vick said. “But I don’t think I’ve had one quite like this one.”
Philadelphia center Mike McGlynn said the team was motivated by McNabb’s dig after the Redskins beat Philadelphia 17-12 last month. McNabb, speaking of the offseason trade that sent him to Washington, said at the time: “Everybody makes mistakes in their lifetime, and they made one last year.”
“Donovan had said some things after they beat us that fired us up, saying how they made a terrible decision and everybody makes mistakes,” McGlynn said. “I think we’re happy with where we are right now.”
Then there was a pregame skirmish between the teams on the field, forcing officials to step in and restore peace. McGlynn said Redskins safety Landry started it by saying something to receiver DeSean Jackson. Notably, it was Landry who was beaten by Jackson on the first play from scrimmage, an 88-yard pass from Vick for the first of many scores.
“Basically a guy tried to come over and intimidate us,” McGlynn said. “It was (No.) 30 again. He said some things to our star player he shouldn’t have said, and he got his. You can see on that first play. He got his.”
McGlynn also said he was spit on by Landry twice during extra points.
“That really fired us all up, and we really put the afterburners on,” McGlynn said. “It’s good to come out and score 60 points almost. We all want to play the game with all the respect in the world. When people come out and disrespect it like that, I think you’ve got to be more respectful of the game. That’s just a terrible thing. I think we just looked at it as ‘Hey, let’s keep pouring it on.”‘
Landry denied spitting at McGlynn, saying: “I’m aggressive. I’m not that type of player.”
As far as the pregame confrontation, Landry described it as “typical talk.”
“Me and DeSean was talking, and they took it to another level,” Landry said.
Jackson’s take? He said there were “some disrespectful things” said by players who “take this football a little bit too serious.” But then he uttered what would appear to be an unintentionally insensitive remark, given Vick’s recent jail time on a dogfighting conviction.
“The pregame altercation got us going. It had us ready. We came back into the locker room pumped,” Jackson said. “We were like pit bulls, ready to get out of the cage.”
The Eagles led 35-0 after the first play of the second quarter. Vick completed his first 10 passes and finished 20 for 28 for 333 yards with four touchdowns. He also ran eight times for 80 yards and two scores, moving past Steve Young and into second place in NFL history for yards rushing by a quarterback.
The Eagles set team records for total yards in a game (592), points in a half (45) and had the biggest lead after the first quarter for any NFL road team (28-0) since at least 1950.
The win moved Philadelphia (6-3) into a first-place tie with the New York Giants in the division, with both teams two games ahead of the Redskins (4-5). The Eagles are 4-0 when Vick starts and finishes the game.
A few hours before kickoff, the Redskins signed McNabb to a five-year, $78 million contract extension with $40 million guaranteed, putting to rest any doubts as to whether he would remain the centerpiece of coach Mike Shanahan’s rebuilding effort. It was Washington’s first game since Shanahan benched McNabb in the final two minutes of a loss to Detroit, when the coach cited McNabb’s less-than-full grasp of the two-minute offense and later the quarterback’s lack of “cardiovascular endurance” stemming from sore hamstrings.
McNabb received a standing ovation and applauded the fans in return when he was introduced with the starting lineups, but most of those fans had left by halftime on a rainy night in which they heartily booed offense and defense alike.
“We just got embarrassed, from start to finish,” Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. “It’s frustrating to go out there on national TV and play the way we played. … Anybody that was watching that game thought it was a joke.”
McNabb finished 17 for 31 for 295 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, nearly all of the yards coming after the Redskins had dug themselves a five-touchdown hole. Dimitri Patterson intercepted McNabb twice, returning one of them 40 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Interestingly, Shanahan made McNabb finish the entire game this time, even with the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. McNabb said the news of the contract didn’t help in dealing with the loss.
“At this point, I’m angry,” he said.
The 45 first-half points allowed by the Redskins tied a franchise record, and the 59 total points were the most allowed by a team coached by Shanahan. It was almost as if the players had decided there was no incentive to play well, given that a teammate who got benched in the last game had just received a mega contract.
“We got outcoached. We got outplayed. They did everything right,” Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth said.