By Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 16, 2010; 1:57 AM
Michael Vick met Donovan McNabb at midfield as the final seconds ticked off the clock in the Philadelphia Eagles' 59-28 win over the Washington Redskins on Monday night, the man once entrusted with the Eagles' fortunes embracing the player who had replaced him.
The night had started with the spotlight on McNabb, the former Philadelphia star who earlier in the day had signed what a source said was a five-year, $78 million contract extension with the Redskins. By game's end, though, it was Vick who had put on a headline-worthy performance.
Vick, who was knocked out of the Redskins' win over Philadelphia earlier this season when he injured his ribs on a scramble, completed 20 of 28 passes for 333 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for another 80 yards and two scores.
He was dominant from the Eagles' first offensive play, an 88-yard scoring strike to DeSean Jackson, to one of his last, when he scrambled to keep a play alive before firing a three-yard touchdown pass to Jason Avant.
"I don't know. I have to go back and watch some of the film," Vick said when asked if it was his best performance ever, on any level. "I've had some great games in my day. But I don't think I had one quite like this one."
Vick opened the game with the deep pass to Jackson, a throw he said might be the longest he has thrown as a professional, and it set the tone for the rest of the night.
Vick completed his first 10 passes, including an 11-yard shovel pass to LeSean McCoy that went for a touchdown and a 48-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin on the first play of the second quarter. He rushed for touchdowns on the Eagles' second drive, a seven-yard scamper, and on their last touchdown drive of the first half, a six-yard run.
Even with the Redskins defense employing a 'spy' to slow him, Vick proved to be nearly unstoppable.
"I played against him a lot when I was in St. Louis, and he's a much better player than he was then, a much better quarterback," Redskins Pro Bowl linebacker London Fletcher said. "Before he couldn't make those throws. He couldn't do those things in the pocket like he's able to do. He always could run, but now, nobody else has a weapon like him in the National Football League."
The game marked another step for Vick, who was signed amid some controversy by the Eagles last offseason following his release from prison, where he served time for his role in a dogfighting ring. He entered this season appearing to be the backup to heir apparent Kevin Kolb.
Instead, Vick took over the starting job when Kolb was injured in the season opener and has steadily improved. Vick has completed 62.7 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions this season. He has rushed for another 341 yards and four scores.
"I could have never envisioned this," Vick said. "Signing here, I didn't even think I'd be starting as the quarterback this year."
For McNabb, who had been in Vick's corner when the quarterback was looking to come back to the NFL, the moment shared at midfield after such a devastating loss was somewhat bittersweet.
"I'm just happy for him," McNabb said. "Not by his performance today, because I told him I was [angry] at him. But I'm just happy by the way he's continued to progress and have confidence in himself and staying humble. I think that's the most important thing. Good things will happen for him."