History lesson: No looking past Vikings

Joe Webb, the Vikings' backup QB, fending off the Eagles' Jamar Chaney during a December 2010 game. Webb, now a Minnesota receiver, played well in the win.
Joe Webb, the Vikings' backup QB, fending off the Eagles' Jamar Chaney during a December 2010 game. Webb, now a Minnesota receiver, played well in the win. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: December 15, 2013

Joe Webb doesn't rank up there with Tampa Bay's Joe Jurevicius in Eagles infamy, but the name brings back painful memories for the Birds.

Now a Vikings wide receiver, the former backup has been getting a lot of press this week for his role in a 2010 Eagles loss as the Birds prepare for Sunday's game in Minnesota.

Three years ago, the Eagles were 10-4, fresh off an emotional comeback victory over the New York Giants, and two wins from securing a free pass into the second round of the playoffs, along with home-field advantage.

And then Webb happened. He was a rookie backup quarterback making his first start for the then 5-9 Vikings, and came away with a 24-14 win.

There are only 14 players remaining from the 2010 Eagles - and only 12 who played in that late-December game - so expecting any carry-over from that upset loss is an exercise in futility.

But there are lessons to be learned from the defeat the Webb-led Vikings handed a surging Eagles team on a Tuesday following a snow-out in Philadelphia.

One lesson is to not get caught up in past accomplishments. This Eagles team, likewise, is coming off an emotional comeback victory, having toppled the Detroit Lions in the snow. The other is to not overlook any opponent in the NFL - not that Chip Kelly would allow that.

"We are just a one-week operation," Kelly said earlier this week. "I literally was thinking of the Vikings game coming off the field on Sunday. What's our next opportunity to go out and see where we are as a team and that's what this deal is all about.

"I think the teams that are mentally tough can work their way through it and I think we have a mentally tough group."

The idea that any professional team could overlook an opponent or there could be collective highs and lows or that there are "trap games" are often the stuff of sportswriter narratives.

Kelly didn't discount the possibility, though, and said that he didn't know if one of his past teams had fallen prey to taking a lesser opponent lightly. The Vikings are 3-9-1, but the Eagles coach said "they're a very good football team" - just "turn the tape on."

But the Vikings could be without all-pro running back Adrian Peterson. He was listed as questionable with a foot strain, as was his backup, Toby Gerhart (hamstring).

Before that 2010 game, the Vikings were shorthanded. Starting QB Brett Favre was out with a concussion and Webb, a rookie who played quarterback in college but was originally drafted as a receiver, took his place.

The Eagles were two-touchdown favorites after the game was postponed following a storm that dropped a foot of snow on Lincoln Financial Field. But Peterson ran for 114 yards and Webb played near-flawless football.

His quarterback counterpart, however, had his worst game of the season.

"The only thing I can remember - the first play of the game I ended up getting a bad quad bruise," Michael Vick said. "I played the entire game with a quad bruise. That kind of ruined my day."

The Vikings blitzed Vick from every direction and he was sacked six times, fumbling twice and having one returned for a touchdown. He also tossed an interception.

"It was a letdown," Vick said. "We were all upset. I think the fact that I had that deep quad bruise really hampered me. All I can remember was Coach [Andy] Reid asking me, after seeing my leg, why didn't I tell him I was hurt. I went all out because I wanted to win that. It was probably selfish of me."

The Eagles sat their regulars in the season finale the following week, lost, and were knocked out of the playoffs by the Green Bay Packers in the first round. They haven't been to the playoffs since. Vick hasn't been the same quarterback since.

Nick Foles, of course, is now the starter and Reid is no longer the head coach. The Eagles control their own playoff-clinching destiny if they win out, but Kelly said he doesn't have his troops looking ahead and certainly not past the 41/2-point underdog Vikings.

"We respect all, but we fear none," Kelly said. "That's just a concept that we've always had. I think on any given Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Thursday, whenever you have to play, there's another opponent out there on the field."

Tuesdays, too.

Wolff doubtful. Earl Wolff was listed as doubtful for Sunday's game.

The rookie safety has missed three games with a knee injury and Patrick Chung will likely start in his place for the fourth straight game. Wolff practiced this week for the first time since injuring his knee against the Packers on Nov. 10, but he was limited.

Cornerback Cary Williams was deemed probable after he apparently tweaked his hamstring during Thursday's practice. Reserve linebacker Najee Goode (hamstring) was also listed as doubtful.


jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane

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