The Donovan McNabb 4th and 26 pass to wide receiver Freddie Mitchell during the 2003 playoffs was an incredible play. It is not surprising that Mitchell would be called Freddie Mitchell, as he was known for his ironic nicknames and wacky fashion sense. Whether it was his hairstyle, or his ironic nicknames, Mitchell could do no wrong. McNabb would complete the pass for the Eagles and score a touchdown in the process.
In January 2004, the National Football League playoffs produced a memorable play between Donovan McNabb and Freddie Mitchell. The play occurred during a critical fourth-down situation. In the 4th and 26 situation, Donovan McNabb was tasked with making a crucial run to stop the New York Giants from scoring a touchdown. While attempting to pass, Freddie Mitchell spotted a receiver in the end zone who was untouched.
In the NFL Draft, the Eagles chose Mitchell as the 25th overall pick. He played college football at UCLA and started his rookie season as the fourth wide receiver. Due to a nagging injury and unfamiliarity with the Eagles’ playbook, Mitchell struggled at first, but by week eight, he had earned the role of slot receiver. Mitchell finished the 2001 season with 21 catches for 283 yards and one touchdown.
Despite a slow start, Mitchell rushed for 22 yards and a fumble. He was penalized 5 yards for a false start. Then, he threw a poor pass on third down. After a few failed attempts, the Eagles faced fourth down and 26 yards. With just over one minute left, the Eagles needed a first down to advance to the red zone. After completing a leaping catch, McNabb hit Freddie Mitchell for another 28 yards.
After the infamous fourth and 26 game, Mitchell was in prison serving a 37-month federal sentence for tax fraud. Mitchell was subsequently offered a job as a babysitter to help out McNabb. Mitchell’s comments about the offense were largely unconstructive. After all, Mitchell was only trying to help his teammate. But the truth is that he had nothing to do with it.
Mitchell’s 4th and 26 play, which was arguably the most memorable of all, has continued to garner kudos. Mitchell has even made a 4th and 26 tattoo and is sharing it on social media. Mitchell’s 4th and 26 play often catches the praise of Green Bay Packers fans. According to Google Trends, the phrase “4th and 26” is searched on a consistent basis, peaking during the playoffs.
The fourth and 26, also known as 4th and 26, was an American football play that occurred on January 11, 2004 in the National Football League playoffs. McNabb’s play gave the Chicago Bears the lead with 4 seconds remaining. McNabb had already gained two yards on the play before he was tackled. In a rare moment, McNabb converted the fourth down to score the winning touchdown. It was a moment that will live long in football history.
The Eagles faced a fourth-and-26 situation with 1:12 left in the game. They snapped the ball as the play clock ran out. McNabb got a little time to throw, but the Packers settled into Cover 2 to make it more difficult on the quarterback. Linebacker Nick Barnett was left open and stepped up to pick up Mitchell. Mitchell made a leaping grab in front of safety Darren Sharper to gain 28 yards. Then, Akers kicked the game-tying 37-yard field goal to tie the game.
The 4th and 26 play is a famous moment in Philadelphia sports history. It took place during the 2003 NFC Divisional Playoffs. The Eagles led the game until the fourth quarter, and Donovan McNabb threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Mitchell. The Eagles eventually went on to win the game in overtime, but the Packers went on to win the game 27-13.
Donovan McNabb and the Packers had a chance to advance to the NFC Championship game. The Eagles had won the NFC Divisional playoff game, and had home field advantage. The Packers had a rest-week before the game. The Packers were rested after the week of play and a fierce battle with the Seattle Seahawks. But in the end, the Eagles had the advantage in the NFC.
It would be a major upset for the Eagles if McNabb was unable to convert this fourth down. The loss would be catastrophic for the Eagles’ hopes of winning a second Super Bowl title. And now, it’s clear that McNabb can’t deliver the same miracle in the Super Bowl as he did in 2004. While a third down conversion would have been better, the Eagles’ offense will have to work much harder if McNabb is forced to throw a second-down touchdown.
Ricky Manning Jr.
Richard Manning Jr. is an American football coach and former cornerback who is now a defensive assistant with the New York Jets. He played college football at UCLA and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the 2003 NFL Draft. Before becoming a defensive assistant, Manning was a cornerback for the Carolina Panthers. As a player, he was drafted by the Carolina Panthers and played for them for three years.
After playing for the Panthers and the Eagles, Manning, Jr. joined the Bears in 2006. He spent two seasons in Chicago, and finished his career with the Rams in 2008. While playing in the NFL, he compiled 268 tackles, 14 interceptions, five fumble recoveries, four sacks, and three touchdowns. Though he has since retired, his college career has been plagued by a variety of legal troubles. In 2002, he was charged with assault, but the case was dismissed after a bodybuilders’ fight.
During the 2007 NFL season, Manning played nickelback in the backup system while the third-string defense played on the field. He later tutored Danieal Manning, who replaced him. On August 31, 2008, he was signed by the St. Louis Rams as an assistant coach. However, his contract expired after the NFL season, and he was later released to the Washington Redskins. As a player, Ricky Manning Jr. made two Super Bowl appearances and scored three touchdowns, while also playing in the UFL.
In 2021, Ricky Manning, Jr. returned to the NFL as an assistant coach with the Seahawks. In this role, he becomes the eighth assistant to leave the Seahawks’ staff. In January 2021, he was named defensive coordinator for the New York Jets. Ricky Manning Jr. – Career Highlights
Before being drafted, Manning spent his first two seasons at UCLA as a true freshman. As a true freshman, Manning finished fourth on the team with 65 tackles and was second in the secondary. His four interceptions ranked second on the squad and he led the team with an average of 0.36 interceptions per game. Additionally, he broke two passes and returned four punts for 25 yards. The second season, he was the difference-maker in a 17-17 victory over Alabama.
It was a memorable moment in the Philadelphia Eagles’ playoff run when they faced a fourth-and-26 situation with 1:12 left in regulation. The Eagles were down 17-14 and were in danger of missing the NFC Championship game. Donovan McNabb completed a 28-yard pass to Freddie Mitchell on 4th and 26. After Akers kicked a field goal to tie the game, the Eagles won the game in overtime.
The Eagles’ defense held strong, limiting the Packers to three first-down plays and forcing an overtime period. After the Eagles’ interception, the Packers went three-and-out. The Packers went three-and-out on their first play of overtime. Favre threw a high, long pass to Dawkins, who broke a tackle and returned it 35 yards to the Green Bay 34. The Eagles converted on Akers’ 31-yard field goal.
The 2004 NFC Divisional Game became known as the “4th and 26” game. Donovan McNabb completed a pass to Freddie Mitchell on 4th and 26 in the Eagles’ game-tying touchdown drive. Green Bay then kicked a field goal on 4th-and-goal from the Eagles’ 1-yard line and took a 17-14 lead. The Eagles then punted on 4th-and-1 from their own 41-yard line.
The Eagles scored a touchdown on the next drive. They drove 88 yards in eight plays. The drive included two 10-yard penalties. On the drive, McNabb rushed for 37 yards and completed four passes for 72 yards. He also completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Mitchell. The Eagles advanced to the NFC Championship game and then lost in the playoffs to the Carolina Panthers.
The Eagles’ offense began threateningly on their fourth drive. McNabb completed one of his first seven passes and gained 41 yards on the Eagles’ first play. After a stalled fourth-quarter drive, the Packers’ offense drove 86 yards to the Eagles’ 44-yard line. Then, a fake field-goal attempt by Akers capped the drive and the Eagles led 14-0 after the first quarter.