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Watters Holds On, So Do Eagles Against Lions

NFC: He rushes for 153 yards and a touchdown--and doesn't fumble once--in leading team to 24-17 victory.

September 16, 1996|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Running back Ricky Watters had 27 carries for 153 yards and a touchdown as the Philadelphia Eagles bounced back from a poor performance last Monday night with an impressive 24-17 victory over the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Equally impressive was the fact that Watters, whose 17 fumbles since 1994 lead the NFL, didn't lose the ball once.

"I cut the fingers out of my gloves so I could feel the ball better, and that helped," said Watters, who also had six receptions for 57 yards.

Watters was one of many Eagles who played terribly in Monday night's 39-13 loss at Green Bay. The embarrassment definitely helped motivate Philadelphia (2-1) against Detroit.

"We just had to get that winning taste back in our mouth," said wide receiver Chris T. Jones, who complemented the Eagles' solid ground game with 121 yards and a touchdown on nine catches.

Philadelphia's offensive line helped the Eagles outgain the Lions, 175-60, on the ground, and the Eagles nearly doubled Detroit's time of possession, 39:22 to 20:38.

Although Barry Sanders, who entered the game with two consecutive 100-yard rushing efforts, scored on two touchdown runs, he only had 49 yards in 16 carries.

"When we had to stop them, we didn't stop them, especially at the end," Detroit Coach Wayne Fontes said. "We never got in control of their running game, and they ate the clock on us."

The Eagles beat the Lions, 58-37, in a playoff game last January.

"We should have Detroit on our schedule every year," said Rodney Peete, who completed 25 of 30 passes for 284 yards, his highest total in two seasons with the Eagles. Peete also passed for a touchdown.

The Lions (1-2) dropped to 13-18 in September games during Fontes' eight-year tenure as coach.

"It just seems like we're hanging around and not taking it to people," Fontes said. "It's like we're playing not to lose."

The Eagles shut down Lion receivers Herman Moore, Johnnie Morton and Brett Perriman as cornerbacks Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent excelled. Taylor had an interception, the first turnover created by Philadelphia this season.

On the first play of the game, Watters broke off the right side for 53 yards to the Detroit 30. Seven plays later, he capped an 83-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown run that gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead.

The Lions moved deep into Philadelphia territory on their first drive, but squandered a chance to score when Taylor intercepted a pass at the goal line and returned it to the Eagles' six.

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