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Dallas at Philadelphia

Eagles stamp their dominance in NFC East, clinch playoffs

SportsLine.com wire reports

PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb backed up a bold statement with another stellar performance.

McNabb threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns, helping the Eagles clinch a playoff spot with their eighth straight victory, 36-10 over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

The Eagles (10-3), who have the best record in the NFC, can clinch their third straight division title with two more victories or one victory and another loss by the Cowboys. Philadelphia hasn't lost since a 23-21 defeat in Dallas on Oct. 12.

The Cowboys (8-5) are 3-4 after a 5-1 start under Bill Parcells.

All along, McNabb has insisted the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East. Maybe they're the team to beat in the whole conference.

"We stayed confident, we stayed together and that's important," McNabb said.

Correll Buckhalter ran for 115 yards, including a 64-yard TD run in the fourth quarter that capped the scoring.

McNabb threw TD passes of 16 yards to Brian Westbrook, 5 yards to Duce Staley and 6 yards to L.J. Smith. He completed 19 of 35 passes and didn't throw an interception for the fifth time in the last six games.

After an 0-2 start, McNabb said the road to the NFC East title goes through Philadelphia. He didn't back off his comments after the Eagles fell to 2-3 with a loss to the Cowboys two months ago.

"Even though things were shaky, it was no time for panicking," McNabb said. "What you saw today was a team that wanted to defend its territory and move on."

The worst-rated passer in the NFL through six games, McNabb has returned to his Pro Bowl form. He has thrown for 1,513 yards, nine TDs and only one interception in the last six games, and was the NFC's offensive player of the month in November.

The Cowboys stayed close early and were tied at 10 at halftime. But Quincy Carter threw a costly interception on the third play of the third quarter and the Eagles turned it into a touchdown.

Sheldon Brown stepped in front of a pass to Terry Glenn and returned it 10 yards to the Dallas 27. Six plays later, Staley caught a shovel pass from McNabb and ran into the end zone for a 17-10 lead.

Parcells clearly was upset with his team's effort.

"I'm concerned about a lot of things right now," Parcells said. "It's pretty hard to have a full-blown crisis in your first year with a program. I don't know what I'm expecting. I expected more maybe."

A bad snap by Matt Lehr sailed past Carter and out of the end zone for a safety, giving the Eagles a 19-10 lead late in the third quarter.

The Eagles put the game away on their ensuing possession, driving 68 yards to take a 26-10 lead. McNabb connected with Smith for a score one play after hitting James Thrash for a 20-yard gain to the Dallas 6.

"We always thought we were the best team, even if we weren't playing well," Smith said.

The Cowboys came out trying to run against Philadelphia's porous run defense. Troy Hambrick got the carry on the first seven plays, but Dallas had to abandon the running game once the Eagles opened a big lead.

Hambrick finished with 75 yards rushing, stopping the Eagles' four-game streak of allowing a 100-yard rusher. Carter was 15-of-24 for 93 yards and two interceptions.

"I made a mistake and it cost us," Carter said.

Carter executed a play fake perfectly and threw a 3-yard TD pass to Jeff Robinson to tie the game at 10 late in the second quarter. But the Cowboys never recovered after his interception in the third.

McNabb's 16-yard TD toss to Westbrook gave the Eagles a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. Westbrook caught a screen pass at the 25, broke one tackle and eluded three others for his 11th TD of the season (six rushing, three receiving, one punt return).


  • The Eagles' winning streak is their longest since winning eight consecutive in 1980, when they went to the Super Bowl for the only time in franchise history.
  • Dallas has lost five consecutive in Philadelphia.
  • Carter has 13 interceptions in the last seven games.
  • Eagles K David Akers is 10-for-10 on field-goal tries in the past three games.
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
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Correll Buckhalter celebrates his 64-yard TD that puts the nail in the coffin Sunday.
Correll Buckhalter celebrates his 64-yard TD that puts the nail in the coffin Sunday. (AP)


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Scoring Summary
FGBilly Cundiff 29 Yd, 3:43. Drive: 6 plays, 34 yards in 2:58.
FGDavid Akers 22 Yd, 14:56. Drive: 8 plays, 65 yards in 3:47.
TDBrian Westbrook, 16 Yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good), 3:15. Drive: 7 plays, 79 yards in 4:01.
TDJeff Robinson, 3 Yd pass from Quincy Carter (Billy Cundiff kick is good), 0:26. Drive: 7 plays, 61 yards in 2:49.
TDDuce Staley, 5 Yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good), 12:25. Drive: 5 plays, 27 yards in 1:03.
TDL.J. Smith, 6 Yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good), 12:52. Drive: 8 plays, 68 yards in 4:33.
FGDavid Akers 21 Yd, 6:06. Drive: 9 plays, 68 yards in 4:57.
TDCorrell Buckhalter, 64 Yd run (David Akers kick is good), 1:47. Drive: 2 plays, 72 yards in 0:19.

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Q. Carter15/249312
T. Hambrick1775022
E. Bickerstaff94109
R. Anderson632013
J. Galloway1202
Q. Carter1000
R. Anderson740015
J. Witten335018
Z. Smith1808
T. Hambrick2606
J. Robinson1313
D. Campbell1101
D. McNabb19/3524830
C. Buckhalter13115164
B. Westbrook62307
D. McNabb121021
D. Staley2804
F. Mitchell358033
B. Westbrook448120
J. Thrash434020
C. Buckhalter229024
C. Lewis128028
T. Pinkston123023
D. Staley322117
L. Smith1616
Complete Player Stats