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PHILADELPHIA 23, ATLANTA 16

McNabb Unloads on Hapless Falcons

November 03, 2003|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Donovan McNabb needed a lift, a little something to get his season going.

Hello, Atlanta Falcons.

McNabb took advantage of an entirely revamped Atlanta secondary to throw for a season-high 312 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown pass to Freddie Mitchell, and the Philadelphia Eagles won, 23-16, Sunday for their fifth victory in six games.

"I've been saying things will turn out positive," said McNabb, the league's lowest-rated passer before the game. "Nobody would believe me. We can't change what happened in the past. The only thing we can change is what's going to happen."

The Falcons (1-7), who lost their seventh in a row, are stuck in a perpetual nightmare, a season of promise that has gone wrong.

Beleaguered Coach Dan Reeves tried to shake things up by starting four new defensive backs, but it didn't slow McNabb. He completed 21 of 33 passes to go past 300 yards for the fourth time in his five-year career. His highest total this season had been 186 yards against New England in Week 2.

The Eagles (5-3) have rebounded from an 0-2 start, putting themselves in the thick of the NFC playoff race. This one wasn't pretty -- Philadelphia had a field-goal try blocked, was two of 11 on third downs and was penalized 11 times -- but it was enough to get a victory.

The Falcons replaced quarterback Kurt Kittner with Doug Johnson early in the fourth quarter. Johnson directed Atlanta to a field goal that made the score 23-16, but went three-and-out on his last chance to tie the score.

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