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The Designed Rush Redux: With Michael Vick And The Eagles, We May Finally Have A Favorite

It took an eye-opening onslaught over a division rival, but the Philadelphia Eagles behind Michael Vick made a resounding statement that they will be a powerhouse and presumptive Super Bowl favorite in the NFC.

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The Designed Rush column covers all NFL action through Sunday each week. Of course, with the exception of Week 17 and the postseason, there's this pesky thing called Monday Night Football. Which means there are possibly significant developments and story lines left uncovered. Solution: The Designed Rush Redux, which will gather up the most interesting tidbits from Monday's action, as well as the continued fallout from Sunday.

Disconnected Thoughts From The Eagles Slaughtering Of The Redskins

- Call it a knee-jerk reaction to a staggering blowout during which the Eagles were playing their best ball, but at this point, the Eagles have to be considered NFC favorites, if not Super Bowl champion favorites, until Philly loses a game that Michael Vick starts and plays all the way through. All three of the Eagles' losses have come in games where either Kevin Kolb started and took the majority of the snaps or Vick started and was injured early. With Vick playing at the level he is, the Eagles' offense is damn near impossible to defend. And the Philly defense is strong enough to keep teams from entering into Texans-style shootouts.

- In case you missed its half dozen drops last night, but Jon Gruden has taken to calling Vick "Starship Seven." My favorite part was during the pregame interview with Vick when Gruden was reminiscing about Veterans Stadium and referred to Lincoln Financial Field as "that souped-up rock 'n' roll joint you got down there now." Yeah, Gruden, stadiums that opened five years before your last coaching stint ended sure are space agey futuristic. The winds of change blow too strongly.


- Hopefully the incredible humiliation LaRon Landry suffered on the opening play last night will get the Redskins' safety to kindly pipe down or quit dancing for as much as a quarter last week. Fawning local media in D.C. always wants to compare Landry to Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed or Bob Sanders. And you can tell Landry would like to make as great an impact as any of those guys, but he simply lacks the instincts and the discipline. While LaRon makes a huge hit every now and then, he's also often woefully out of place in coverage. He was torched repeatedly when the Redskins played the Colts. Last night, aside from the opening play disaster when he probably shouldn't have been trying to cover DeSean Jackson one-on-one, the Redskins tried to use Landry as a spy on Vick, but it was so obvious to the quarterback when the safety would try to cheat up on the run that it was certainly a net negative as a scheme.


- I did enjoy seeing Keiland Williams' head bump into an end zone camera after the Redskins finally got on the board early in the second quarter. Just that kind of night for Washington.


NFL Player Tweet Of The Night

How do u justify a 78 million dollar contract w/this type of performance?less than a minute ago via ÜberTwitter


While at once trying to avoid the crush of players comparing last night's contest to a game of Madden on the rookie difficulty setting, I was also hoping not to have to highlight T.O. taking another potshot at McNabb, but alas it was not the most interesting evening in the NFL corner of the Twittersphere. 

At the same time, there are likely more than a few people echoing this sentiment this morning. The extension the Redskins offered to McNabb is indefensibly stupid. The Redskins winning last night would not have changed that fact. But this is a pointed criticism of McNabb specifically, and while the quarterback had his struggles last night, the loss is hardly on him any more than the rest of the team. The Redskins line is terrible. Their receiving corps is subpar. And the team is counting on a tandem of reserve running backs to hack it on the ground.

So give McNabb at least a modicum of credit for posting his highest yardage total for a quarter in his career in the second. With back-to-back scores, there were a few minutes where viewers thought just maybe the 'Skins could make a game of it. There aren't many passers in history who are going to overcome a 35-0 deficit to start a game. McNabb hardly has the '92 Bills on his side.

A Delicious Bundle Of Gripes

- Incoming House majority leader Eric Cantor wants to do away with congressional resolutions honoring sports teams. It's nice bit of grandstanding by an emergent party leader, but he has something of a point. It is a waste of resources. So much more so than public money going to build stadia and the copious tax breaks offered to such teams. Yes, it's much better we did away with honorific resolutions first.

- There's nothing quite like the team bringing in Shaun Suisham for a workout to make Steelers fans momentarily reconsider their now festering dislike of Jeff Reed. Matt Stover has also been mentioned by some as a potential replacement candidate, which is great if the Steelers don't intend on kicking a field goal longer than 40 yards the rest of the season.

- Jerricho Cotchery is getting his due plaudits for a critical overtime play against the Browns where the Jets receiver suffered a groin tear, hopped around on one leg and laid out to make a difficult catch to extend the drive. Rex Ryan called him “the gutsiest player I’ve seen in a long time.” Cotchery is still hoping to play Sunday against the Texans but seems a long shot at this point.