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Eagles Protecting Their Home Turf

PHILADELPHIA 34, WASHINGTON 21

December 16, 2002|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles are two victories away from having home-field advantage at Veterans Stadium -- something that teams such as Green Bay and Tampa Bay don't want to see.

The Eagles clinched the NFC East by beating Washington, 34-21, Sunday. With victories in road games against the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, they will be home for every playoff game they play.

"If you go around the league and ask people where they don't want to play, this is at the top of the list," Coach Andy Reid said.

A.J. Feeley, who began the season as the third-string quarterback, threw two touchdown passes as Philadelphia (11-3) won its fourth in a row without quarterback Donovan McNabb, who broke his right ankle Nov. 17.

This one was played in swirling winds. Along with the reputation for bad turf and noisy crowds, the crumbling Vet is a nightmare for visiting teams.

But the ultimate goal -- getting to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1980 season -- may not be so easy. They likely will need McNabb to do that.

"I like the way this team plays," Washington Coach Steve Spurrier said of Philadelphia. "They don't play giveaway. They get a lot of loose balls. We're not as alert as the Eagle team."

That was obvious from the start for the Redskins (5-9).

On the second play from scrimmage, Stephen Davis broke loose toward midfield but had the ball knocked away by Brian Dawkins, and Michael Lewis recovered for Philadelphia. Davis separated his right shoulder on the play and is likely out for the season.

That turnover didn't lead to a score but two other Washington fumbles did.

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