PHILADELPHIA -- Jake Delhomme fired a pass over the middle for a touchdown that was overturned. The result didn't matter so much. Delhomme's surgically repaired right elbow passed the test.
Delhomme was 9-for-14 for 54 yards in his first real action since ligament-replacement surgery in October, but Tony Hunt's 51-yard touchdown run with 2:15 left led Philadelphia to a 24-13 victory against Carolina on Thursday night.
"We didn't have four of our top six receivers, but I thought Jake operated pretty good for the (weather) conditions," Panthers coach John Fox said. "It wasn't ideal as far as the offensive passing game."
The game was delayed 58 minutes because of lightning in the first quarter. Both teams looked sloppier than the field conditions.
Donovan McNabb and the Eagles' first-team offense failed to produce any points in six possessions. The starters lined up for a pair of field goals and came away down seven points.
Richard Marshall returned an interception off a fake field goal 78 yards for a score in the first quarter. He stepped in front of holder Save Rocca's shovel pass intended for Brent Celek, avoided kicker David Akers' attempted tackle and raced to the end zone to put Carolina ahead 7-0.
With Philadelphia down 13-0 in the fourth quarter, Kevin Kolb rallied the Eagles. He led the winning drive from Philadelphia's 15. Kolb moved the Eagles to the 49 on passes of 23, 7 and 4 yards. Then Hunt took a handoff, burst up the middle, broke a tackle, cut to his left and raced in for the score to put the Eagles ahead 17-13.
A third-round pick who saw little action last season, Hunt is fighting for a roster spot. He significantly helped his chances with that run.
"Every time you step on the field, you want to do something positive," Hunt said. "I just want to show I can contribute on special teams and running the ball."
Delhomme threw just one pass last week in his first game since his elbow operation. He showed plenty of zip on a 10-yard strike to Muhsin Muhammad that was initially ruled a TD. But Muhammad bobbled the ball after taking a hard shot from safety Brian Dawkins, and the call was reversed.
After the challenge, John Kasay kicked a 28-yard field goal to make it 10-0. Kasay added a 49-yarder in the fourth quarter for a 13-0 lead.
"I took a tough shot. I'm a little buzzing right now," Muhammad said. "It was one of those things. I was just trying to make a play and I took a shot. My head isn't as bad a problem. I think I hurt my ribs on that play. It hurts a little more than I thought I would. I pulled myself out after that."
Both teams played most of their starters the entire first half, despite the lengthy delay.
McNabb finished 11-of-24 for 98 yards against a secondary that was missing three starters. He didn't get much help from his receivers, who dropped about six passes.
"We had too many drops," coach Andy Reid said. "You can't drop that many balls and expect to move the ball consistently."
McNabb led the offense to 10 points in two series in the preseason opener at Pittsburgh last Friday.
"I think consistency is key for us," he said. "When we sustain drives and move the ball down field, we have to come out with touchdowns. That's the most important thing in this game."
Kolb was 14-for-27 for 155 yards, one TD and one interception.
All-Pro cornerback Asante Samuel, who received a $58 million, six-year contract from the Eagles in free agency, saw his first action after missing most of camp with a hamstring injury. He broke up a pass to Muhammad the first time Delhomme looked his way.
Eagles rookie DeSean Jackson had a 27-yard punt return into Carolina territory in the second quarter. Jackson fumbled after a hard hit from Dante Wesley, but Matt Schobel recovered for the Eagles at the Panthers 40. The offense stalled and Akers missed a 45-yarder.
Lito Sheppard gave the offense another chance by intercepting a pass late in the second quarter, but McNabb threw three consecutive incomplete passes from Carolina's 45. Two of the passes were dropped.
|Carolina's Jake Delhomme is 9-for-14 for 54 yards in his first action since elbow surgery. (Getty Images)|
|Thurs. Aug. 14||Final|
|CAR - Pass: M. Moore (11-19, 85), Rush: D. Williams (8-32)|
PHI - Pass: K. Kolb (14-27, 155), Rush: T. Hunt (5-79)
|TD||Richard Marshall, 78 Yd interception return (John Kasay kick is good), 0:47.|
|FG||John Kasay 28 Yd, 7:04. Drive: 10 plays, 51 yards in 5:34.|
|FG||John Kasay 28 Yd, 7:04. Drive: 10 plays, 51 yards in 5:30.|
|FG||John Kasay 49 Yd, 8:34. Drive: 12 plays, 56 yards in 6:17.|
|TD||Greg Lewis, 33 Yd pass from Kevin Kolb (Richmond McGee kick is good), 6:41. Drive: 6 plays, 69 yards in 1:53.|
|FG||Richmond McGee 40 Yd, 6:11. Drive: 4 plays, 0 yards in 0:13.|
|TD||Tony Hunt, 51 Yd run (Richmond McGee kick is good), 2:15. Drive: 4 plays, 85 yards in 1:00.|
|TD||Justin Roland, 74 Yd interception return (Richmond McGee kick is good), 0:10.|
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