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Eagles Getting Back on Track

October 27, 2003|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Donovan McNabb threw a touchdown pass, ran toward the sideline, stopped, raised his arms, looked toward the crowd and took in their applause.

It had been awhile since McNabb heard cheers.

McNabb completed 17 of 23 passes for 141 yards and one touchdown, and Correll Buckhalter ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 24-17 victory over the New York Jets in Chad Pennington's return Sunday.

"We knew what we're capable of," McNabb said. "Everything you saw today was just a sign of the offense we can have."

Pennington, playing for the first time since breaking his left wrist Aug. 23 in an exhibition game against the New York Giants, was 14 of 23 for 154 yards and one interception.

"For the most part he was a little bit rusty," Jet Coach Herman Edwards said. "He did some good things. He moved the team. He didn't hurt us."

Vinny Testaverde led the Jets to 10 points in three possessions before giving way to Pennington in the second quarter. Testaverde finished seven of 11 for 112 yards and one touchdown, a 60-yard toss to Santana Moss on a perfectly executed flea flicker.

Curtis Martin had 110 yards rushing for the Jets (2-5).

"I didn't try to talk him [Edwards] into letting me stay in," Testaverde said. "I knew going in what the plan was. Did I want to stay in? Yes, but it's not my decision."

McNabb, heavily criticized for his poor performance this season, threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Jon Ritchie, giving the Eagles (4-3) a 21-17 lead with 6:42 left.

A three-time Pro Bowl quarterback, McNabb came in with the lowest passer rating (51.1) and completion percentage (47.9%) in the NFL. But playing without tape on his injured right thumb for the first time since hurting it against Buffalo on Sept. 28, McNabb looked more like his old self.

He made crisp passes and led the Eagles into the end zone on their first two possessions.

"I felt a whole lot better, but I'm still not 100 percent," McNabb said. "I was able to have a better grip."

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