PHILADELPHIA -- Backup quarterback Jim McMahon directed two scoring drives and the Eagles held off a fourth quarter rally by the Colts to post a 23-21 victory over Indianapolis in NFL exhibition action last night.
McMahon, who relieved Randall Cunningham early in the second quarter and played into the fourth, led the Eagles on a nine-play, 80-yard drive that broke a 7-7 tie in the third quarter. Thomas Sanders covered the last 16 yards on a run around the left side.
The Eagles (4-1) made it 17-7 just over a minute later when Mike Flores recovered a fumble by running back Ken Clark and the Eagles converted it into a 21-yard field goal by Roger Ruzek. Flores was in the lineup in place of holdout Clyde Simmons.
Early in the fourth quarter, McMahon marched the team 63 yards in nine plays to make it 23-7 with 11:10 left. McMahon hit on passes of 22 and 11 yards in the drive, ended by Heath Sherman's 3-yard run.
But the Colts came back behind Mark Hermann, the third-string signal-caller behind starter Jeff George and Jack Trudeau. First Hermann hit Pat Beach with a 1-yard pass after a fumble recovery to make it 23-14.
Then, with 2:54 remaining, he capped a four-play, 69-yard march by connecting with James Bradley from 8 yards out. The drive was helped by two Eagles penalties totaling 31 yards.
Cunningham directed Philadelphia's first scoring drive, started when Reggie White blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt by Dean Biasucci. The 11-play, 67-yard march was capped by Robert Drummond's 4-yard TD run.
Cunningham completed five of seven passes for 30 yards. McMahon was 12-for-21 for 158 yards. Eagles tight end Keith Jackson caught five passes for 76 yards.
George completed six passes as the Colts drove to a first down at the Eagles' 15, but cornerback Eric Allen intercepted at the 3. Three plays later, Jackson fumbled after a catch and defensive back Eugene Daniels recovered at the Eagles' 19.
George completed 11 of 24 passes for 121 yards and an interception, and Eric Dickerson, returning after missing a game with an injured back, carried six times for 22 yards and the Colts' first touchdown.
George hit Albert Bentley for 14 yards, then Dickerson went up the middle for the last five to make it 7-7.
The Eagles (4-1) open their season Sept. 1 at Green Bay, and the Colts (1-3) host the New England Patriots.