CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It took a visit from the NFC's least-productive offense to snap the Carolina Panthers out of their defensive doldrums.
After forcing only five turnovers all season, the Panthers matched that total Sunday against Philadelphia and converted the Eagles' miscues into 20 points on the way to a 33-7 victory.
"We needed to get one of these," said Carolina cornerback Eric Davis, who forced one of Philadelphia's four fumbles. "On series after series we did the little things all day long."
Only a 14-yard touchdown run by Duce Staley with 2:37 remaining allowed the Eagles to avoid a shutout. It would have marked the second time in two seasons that Philadelphia had been shut out at least twice.
Carolina (3-5) was bidding for its first shutout in more than two years but had to settle for a turnover-free performance and its first victory in three games.
Carolina's Sean Gilbert had a sack and forced a fumble, and Kevin Greene had a sack and a fumble recovery to lead a defense that held Philadelphia (2-7) to 249 yards.
"Things just kind of snowballed," said safety Mike Minter, who had a fumble recovery. "Once we got one turnover, we just kind of took it upon ourselves to keep them coming."
Things got so bad for the Eagles that Donovan McNabb, the seldom-used first-round draft pick, ended up playing the entire second half. He misfired on 12 of 20 passes and was intercepted once, but Eagle Coach Andy Reid raised the possibility that McNabb could start Philadelphia's next game Sunday at home against Washington.
The Panthers' Steve Beuerlein threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Muhsin Muhammad, and John Kasay kicked four field goals.