Redskins make it worse for Eagles

Pick of McNabb pass clinches win over team in turmoil

Redskins 17 Eagles 10



LANDOVER -- The gift arrived at FedEx Field wrapped in green and white, and the Washington Redskins gladly accepted it.

Taking advantage of a Philadelphia Eagles team beset by chaos, injuries and ineffectiveness, Washington outlasted the visiting Eagles, 17-10, here last night.

Many of the 90,298 in attendance - the second-largest crowd in FedEx Field history - stayed until the very end to watch Redskins strong safety Ryan Clark intercept a pass by quarterback Donovan McNabb intended for wide receiver Greg Lewis at Washington's 3-yard line with 25 seconds left in the game.

Considering the Redskins also recovered fumbles by their H-back, Chris Cooley, and punt returner James Thrash in the second half, the players said they were happy to escape with a win after the 36-0 shutout loss to the New York Giants a week ago.

"Things kind of went our way today," Clark said.

With the victory, the Redskins improved to 5-3 and moved into a tie for second place with the idle Dallas Cowboys. Both teams are one game behind the division-leading Giants, who moved to 6-2 after handling the San Francisco 49ers, 24-6.

Washington also ended a seven-game losing streak to the four-time NFC East champions. The Redskins had last defeated Philadelphia, 13-3, on Nov. 25, 2001.

The Eagles, who suspended controversial wide receiver Terrell Owens on Saturday for comments critical of the organization and McNabb, fell to 4-4.

Without Owens, Philadelphia's offense looked lost at times. McNabb, who is battling several injuries, including a sports hernia, completed 22 of 35 passes for 304 yards, but rarely went for the deep ball.

And the NFL's worst rushing unit before yesterday's games gained just 45 yards on 23 carries, including 24 on 17 attempts by running back Brian Westbrook.

On the Eagles' final possession, the offense needed just five plays to chew up 78 yards to Washington's 7. But after two incompletions to set up fourth-and-four, Clark stepped in front of McNabb's pass and sealed the outcome.

"We were nervous," linebacker LaVar Arrington admitted. "That's Donovan McNabb. You can't take him for granted."

Washington's game-winning touchdown came immediately after the Eagles had marched 64 yards on 11 plays and earned 10-10 tie on a 34-yard field goal by kicker David Akers with 6:26 left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing series, the Redskins took advantage of a 40-yard kickoff return by Ladell Betts to Philadelphia's 48-yard line. Seven plays later, running back Clinton Portis - who reached the 5,000-yard career rushing mark in the second quarter - ran 6 yards up the middle for a touchdown with 2:47 left in the period.

"I kind of had it pegged that if we lose this ball game, we're going to have our backs against the wall the whole way," said coach Joe Gibbs, whose team is 2-1 against the NFC East. "But it gives us a lift. At least we have two wins in our division."

Washington took a 10-7 lead into halftime thanks to a 1-yard plunge by H-back Mike Sellers into the end zone.

Sellers - who had caught just six passes, four for touchdowns, this season - turned his first rush of the season into a touchdown with 4:17 left in the second quarter, but not without a little controversy.

He appeared to fumble the ball at about the same time he tumbled into the end zone. However, officials ruled the ball had broken the plane of the goal line before the fumble, and an Eagles challenge to overturn the ruling was denied.

Neither offense - both were ranked in the top 10 in the NFL before last night- appeared fluid at the start of the game. In fact, both offenses stalled on their first drives, though Philadelphia capitalized on its second series.

After the Eagles collected two first downs and marched from the 30-yard line to the 44, McNabb found wide receiver Reggie Brown streaking down the middle of the field on a post route.

McNabb hit Brown in stride, and the rookie from Georgia motored down the field untouched to complete a 56-yard touchdown with 2:55 left in the first quarter.

The Redskins responded with a 10-play, 59-yard drive that ended with a John Hall 24-yard field goal with 12:37 left in the second quarter.

Redskins@Bucs Sunday, 4:15 p.m., Ch. 5, 1430 AM, 106.7 FM

Philadelphia 7 0 3 0--10

Washington 0 10 7 0--17

First quarter Phi--R.Brown 56 pass from McNabb (Akers kick), 2:55.

Second quarter Was--FG Hall 24, 12:37. Was--Sellers 1 run (Hall kick), 4:17.

Third quarter Phi--FG Akers 34, 6:26. Was--Portis 6 run (Hall kick), 2:47. A--90,298.

Phi Was

First downs 17 17

Total Net Yards 336 293

Rushes-yards 23-45 29-78

Passing 291 215

Punt Returns 1-8 2-0

Kickoff Returns 3-74 3-86

Interceptions Ret. 0-0 1-6

Comp-Att-Int 22-35-1 21-29-0

Sacked-Yards Lost 2-13 2-9

Punts 7-37.4 6-43.3

Fumbles-Lost 2-0 3-1

Penalties-Yards 5-64 4-35

Time of Possession 28:03 31:57

Rushing--Philadelphia, Westbrook 17-24, McNabb 3-12, Gordon 3-9. Washington, Portis 21-67, Brunell 4-4, Betts 2-4, Moss 1-2, Sellers 1-1.

Passing--Philadelphia, McNabb 22-35-1-304. Washington, Brunell 21-29-0-224.

Receiving--Philadelphia, R.Brown 5-94, G.Lewis 5-57, Westbrook 4-55, McMullen 3-60, Parry 2-14, Spach 2-14, Smith 1-10. Washington, Cooley 7-85, Moss 7-79, Sellers 3-26, Portis 3-8, Betts 1-26.

Missed field goals--None.

Keys to the game

Stifling the run

The Redskins' defense held Brian Westbrook to 24 yards on 17 carries, forcing the Eagles to again rely on Donovan McNabb's sometimes erratic arm.

Going to Cooley

Eagles linebackers had problems tracking down Chris Cooley, who consistently found holes in Philadelphia's zone and made seven receptions for 85 yards.

Running the ball

Clinton Portis didn't have a great day, but his 67 yards on 21 carries kept the Eagles' defense honest and prevented the unit for focusing solely on the pass.

[Edward Lee]

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