Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

McNabb Benched In Lions Game, But Remains Starter


Donovan McNabb was benched by head coach Mike Shanahan late in Sunday's 37-25 loss to the Detroit Lions.

McNabb exited the game with the Redskins trailing 31-25 and 1:45 on the game clock.

He was replaced by Rex Grossman.

On Grossman's first play, he was sacked by defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and fumbled. The ball landed in the arms of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh who ran 17 yards for a touchdown that sealed a Lions victory.

Shanahan explained the decision to switch to Grossman after the game: "With Rex knowing how to run that 2-minute offense, I felt that with the time left and no time outs he gave us the best chance to win in that scenario.

"Just knowing the terminology and what we've done, how we've run it, puts a lot of pressure on a quarterback that hasn't been used to that terminology."

Asked if McNabb was still the Redskins' starter, Shanahan replied: "Yes, he's still our starter."

McNabb finished the game with 17-of-30 completions for 210 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The interception was costly. It was a throw into coverage late in the fourth quarter with the Redskins trying to hold on to a 25-20 advantage.

The turnover set up the Lions' game-winning touchdown.

McNabb was not injured in the game, but he did absorb several hard hits from the Lions' front four.

McNabb was sacked six times and was under steady pressure all game long. In addition to solid pressure from the front, the Lions blitzed linebackers and safeties as well.

Asked about getting benched, McNabb said: "He makes the decision. I just went with it and continued to cheer for my team."

Asked if he thought he could run the Redskins' 2-minute offense, McNabb replied: "I do, but again the decision was made and I went with it."

Shanahan said he believes McNabb understood the decision.

"He understands that [the 2-minute offense] has to be automatic, calling two plays at a time, and you're speeding things up," Shanahan said. "I believe he understood why I did it. I don't think he liked it, but I have to make that tough decision."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.