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First Place in East McNabbed by Eagles

November 20, 2000|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles had talked before the season about improving, possibly competing for the playoffs.

Well, after winning only eight games over the previous two seasons, the Eagles have already equaled that total this season in going from worst to sole possession of first in the NFC East--for one week at least.

Donovan McNabb passed for 217 yards, threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Eagles beat the Arizona Cardinals, 34-9, Sunday to take control in the NFC East. Philadelphia (8-4) is one-half game ahead of the New York Giants, who lost to the Detroit Lions Sunday to drop to 7-4.

"To be in this position is something special, something we all worked for," McNabb said. "A lot of people never expected us to be in this position. The sky is the limit for us. If we can continue to improve, big things are going to happen."

McNabb completed 25 of 34 passes for 217 yards and Darnell Autry ran for 59 yards and a touchdown, but the Eagle defense also had a big impact on the outcome.

Philadelphia had eight sacks, and twice knocked Jake Plummer out of the game. Plummer did not return after leaving early in the fourth quarter with bruised ribs and an injured left thumb.

"We had to get pressure on him. We didn't want him to get hot," said safety Brian Dawkins, who had two sacks.

Arizona (3-8) took an early 3-0 lead on a 42-yard field goal by Cary Blanchard that hit the crossbar and bounced over. But the Cardinals couldn't generate much offense the rest of the game.

"They played better defense than we played offense," Arizona Coach Dave McGinnis said. "You have to be able to protect your quarterback. You have to be able to move the football down the field."

McNabb, who led Philadelphia to game-tying field goals in the final seconds of the previous two games, threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Thomason with 19 seconds left in the first half, making it 10-3.

"McNabb played well, a lot of parts of his game were on," Eagle Coach Andy Reid said. "He threw to 10 different receivers, he worked well against the blitz, ran the ball and showed his [desire] to get it in the end zone."

Philadelphia opened the second half with a 15-play, 65-yard drive that consumed 8:32 and was capped by McNabb's seven-yard touchdown run.

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