PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles were on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs last year when they faced a fourth-and-26 from their 24-yard line, trailing Green Bay, 17-14, with less than two minutes remaining. But a 28-yard Donovan McNabb completion to Freddie Mitchell rescued Philadelphia, which went on to win, 20-17, in overtime.
The Packers' defensive coordinator that day was Ed Donatell, who returns to Lincoln Financial Field tomorrow holding the same position with the Atlanta Falcons. Asked if Donatell regards this as a chance for revenge, Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr. bristled.
"I don't think Ed feels that way. Ed is a real forward-thinker," said Mora. "He is a bundle of positive energy. We all know the effect that that play had on his career and his life and I think, if you asked him now, it all worked out for the better for him. Unless that situation comes up again, where it's fourth and 26 and the game is on the line, I don't think he'll think about it. And, if it comes up again, I hope he makes the same call, because I know [linebacker Keith Brooking] will probably drop back and knock the ball down."
One thing is for sure, Donatell isn't staying awake nights thinking about the now infamous play. "Hey, it's part of NFL history," he said. "Let's move on."
Eagles coach Andy Reid credits much of the team's positive attitude to McNabb, Mitchell, and Terrell Owens, who will miss tomorrow's game with a broken left leg.
"I think they are very confident, they are a good team so they should be confident," Reid said. "But they are not boastful about it, necessarily, with the exception of, maybe, Freddie. And Freddie doesn't boast in jest. But it's a confident bunch -- been a lot of fun to be around and they have a great personality.
"You know, T.O. keeps things loose and I've said this from the get-go, he and Donovan are a great pair and it's hard to be uptight around them."
Runyan to go
Reid said tackle Jon Runyan, who is listed as probable on the Eagles' injury report with knee woes, will start. Owens is listed as out, while linebacker Mark Simoneau (knee) was listed as questionable and linebacker Dhani Jones (shoulder), tight ends Chad Lewis (triceps) and L.J. Smith (back), and guard Jermane Mayberry (triceps) are probable . . . The Falcons listed defensive end Travis Hall (chest), cornerback Kevin Mathis (ankle), and tackle Todd Wiener (ankle) as questionable, and receiver Brian Finneran (wrist) as probable . . . The National Weather Service is calling for 4 to 8 inches of snow here tonight into tomorrow. The snow is expected to stop before game time but the forecast is for a high of 18 degrees with a minus-7 windchill factor. To beat the storm, the Falcons will fly from Atlanta 4 1/2 hours ahead of schedule today, leaving at 10 a.m.
Material from wire services was used in this report.