- The Washington Times - Monday, September 14, 2009

CHARLOTTE, N.C. | Donovan McNabb was walking gingerly to the locker room with a cracked rib about the same time Jake Delhomme was mercifully yanked after his fifth turnover.

It was the third quarter of the Philadelphia Eagles’ 38-10 rout of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, and both franchises suddenly had big worries about their veteran quarterbacks. One was injured two weeks before Michael Vick is eligible to return; the other can’t seem to throw the ball to the right team anymore.

With Delhomme increasing his turnover total in his last two games to 11, the Eagles’ dominating defensive performance in their second straight season-opening rout was tempered by concerns about McNabb, who was crunched by several tacklers on a 3-yard touchdown run.

“He’s sore right now. He’s got a broken rib,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “We’ll just see how he does over the next little bit.”

With the suspended Vick watching from a luxury suite, Kevin Kolb finished at quarterback as the Eagles ran out the clock on a miserable day for the Panthers.

Reid wouldn’t rule out McNabb, who did not speak to reporters, from playing next week against New Orleans.

“Don is very resilient,” said running back Brian Westbrook, who caught one of McNabb’s two touchdown passes. “He heals fast.”

While Panthers coach John Fox hinted Delhomme will remain the starter, his teammates were peppered with questions about their confidence in the 34-year-old quarterback two years removed from reconstructive elbow surgery.

Playing his first meaningful game since throwing five interceptions and losing a fumble against Arizona in the playoffs, Delhomme was constantly under pressure and nearly as bad in a miserable start for the defending NFC South champions.

With the boos increasing before he was finally replaced by Josh McCown, Delhomme was 7-for-17 for 73 yards with four interceptions and a lost fumble. His passer rating was 14.7.

“I hope so,” Delhomme said when asked whether he deserves to be the starter next week against Atlanta. “I’m not looking for the easy way out.”

He may have to start since McCown left with knee and foot injuries. Third-stringer Matt Moore threw his own interception, one of Carolina’s team record-tying seven turnovers.

“Offensively, we just sucked. Let’s be honest,” receiver Steve Smith said.

Victor Abiamiri picked up Delhomme’s fumble and plunged 2 yards for the go-ahead touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. Moments later, DeSean Jackson returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown - the second longest in franchise history.

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