Joe Webb Beats Expectations, Eagles
Not that any of that bothered Webb.
"If he wants to play, he can play," Webb said. "He's Brett Favre. Brett did a great job with me tonight, too. He gave me tips on the sideline as he watched the game. I took those tips and ran with them."
Yeah, Webb ran. He ran and threw and pump-faked and juked his way out of sure-thing sacks. While Michael Vick was having a miserable time on the other side of the ball for the Eagles, Webb was doing a pretty good Vick impression for the Vikings. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 195 yards and rushed for another 31 yards on six carries. His longest run of the night was a crazy scramble for a 9-yard, third-quarter touchdown that extended Minnesota's lead to 17-7.
"That one run he made for a touchdown," Frazier said, "I don't know how many guys in the league can duplicate that."
Webb wasn't supposed to be an NFL quarterback. He was a college quarterback at Alabama-Birmingham, but the Vikings drafted him in the sixth round (with the 199th overall pick -- same pick with which the Patriots once drafted Tom Brady) as a receiver. After getting a look at his arm in minicamp, though, they decided to work him into the QB rotation behind Favre and Tarvaris Jackson.
But then Favre got hurt, which had never happened before. And then Jackson got hurt. And after Favre came back last Monday night and got hurt again, all of a sudden, there was Webb, looking lost and running for his life in the second half against the Bears in a snowy outdoor game at the University of Minnesota.
This time, with a full week (plus two days!) to prepare as the starter, Webb looked a lot better.
"We have a lot of confidence in Joe," Frazier said. "We've seen him do some things that just show you he has the ability to make plays. Now, how consistent will he be as a rookie playing against a very, very good football team, a very good defense, that's what you don't know. But (Tuesday) gave you an indication of things to come with Joe."
The running was neat, especially the play that resulted in the touchdown. But Webb's biggest play of the night may have been a 19-yard completion to Percy Harvin on third-and-11 in the fourth quarter to extend a drive and dim the Eagles' hopes of getting the ball back in time for a comeback. It was a throw nobody expected Webb to be able to make, in that spot or any other.
"Yeah, I'm aware of that," he said with a smile. "The things coach was preaching in my ear were to take care of the ball. So as much as I wanted to be aggressive in the second half, I did what I had to do to take care of the ball."
And with it, he shocked the city of Philadelphia, which had chalked this game up as a win and was already working on scenarios by which they could get a first-round playoff bye with a win Sunday against the Cowboys. Those hopes are up in flames now, thanks to Webb out-Favreing Favre and out-Vicking Vick.
"Michael Vick is a great player," Webb said. "I've been watching him ever since I was a little kid. Just to be on the same field as him is a blessing. I don't look down on Michael Vick because of his performance (Tuesday), because he's still a great player."
Yeah, Joe Webb has nothing but respect for Vick, nothing but respect for Favre. And that's all good and the way it should be. But on this one Tuesday night in Philadelphia, Webb was something those guys weren't: the best quarterback on the field.