Final

Eagles 25

(9-3, 5-1 away)

Panthers 16

(8-4, 5-2 home)

1:00 PM ET, November 30, 2003

 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 7 3 3 1225
CAR 3 0 7 616

Akers' 4 FGs the difference

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Donovan McNabb was an easy target to blame for Philadelphia's 0-2 start. Now that the Eagles have rallied for a share of the NFC's best record, he wants little of the credit.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Eagles: Because of their overall improved health, do the Eagles now have all the pieces in place for a title?
Currently, they have the pieces necessary for a run at the NFC championship game. But for a run at the ultimate prize, they need more production from their receivers and running game. Their receivers need more one-on-one opportunities and the only way that'll happen is if their running game forces opposing defenses to respect it.

Question on the Panthers: Is the dependence on the running game starting to hurt the Panthers?
The dependence on the running game isn't the reason the Panthers aren't playing up to their earlier standards. The reason is their inability to get adequate production from their running backs. Earlier in the season, it didn't seem to matter how many men opposing defenses had in the box against them because they were successful rushing the ball regardless. Recently, that hasn't been the case and they need to find a way to recapture that swagger in their running game to win.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

McNabb overcame an interception on the first play -- his first in six games -- to throw for a touchdown and 182 yards, hitting nine receivers while leading the Eagles to their seventh consecutive victory, 25-16 over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

The win kept the Eagles (9-3) tied atop the conference with St. Louis and stalled Carolina's (8-4) attempt to wrap up the NFC South.

But there was little celebration in the Philadelphia locker room, especially from McNabb.

"This is no time to go wild, you only go wild in February," he said. "Everybody counted us out early and nobody went crazy in here. We knew what we had to do to get this ship righted."

What the Eagles had to do was play mistake-free football and get better production out of McNabb. They did, going four consecutive games without a turnover while McNabb went 127 attempts without an interception.

That ended on the first play when McNabb looked left, then right, and tossed the ball straight into Mike Rucker's hands.

It took McNabb all of two minutes to forget about it.

"You can't harp on mistakes," he said. "The guys want to see how you adjust to mistakes."

The Eagles made several against Carolina -- Brian Westbrook also fumbled away a punt and they failed on a 2-point conversion -- but the Panthers made more.

John Kasay, who came into the game 24-of-27 on field goals this season, missed three -- and an extra point. The 10 points he failed to put on the board was the difference in the Panthers not ensuring their first winning season since 1996.

"I just missed the kicks and it's my fault," said Kasay. "Usually when something like this happens you're not doing this anymore -- you've moved on to another career. So hopefully I'll keep this to a minimum."

The Panthers refused to place all the blame on Kasay, the only player left from Carolina's inaugural 1995 team. He made a 20-yarder after Rucker's interception, but missed on attempts of 32, 38 and 49 yards.

"John is a guy who has been very reliable for us, and for whatever reason didn't get it done today," coach John Fox said. "I don't think that is the entire reason we lost."

The Panthers also turned over the ball on downs at the end of the first half on the Eagles 8-yard line when they went for it on fourth-and-1 rather then give Kasay another chance.

And Jake Delhomme fumbled on a fourth-quarter sack at the Carolina 11. McNabb put the Eagles ahead 22-10 two plays later when he hooked up with James Thrash, who used a second-effort dive to get into the end zone.

Although Philadelphia continued its turnaround from an 0-2 start -- its seven straight victories represent its best single-season streak since 1980 -- the Eagles did it without any flash and needed David Akers' four field goals and a 2-yard touchdown run by Duce Staley for the win.

Akers, who made field goals of 35, 48, 38 and 29 yards, empathized with Kasay after the game. The two battled in 1999 for a spot on Carolina's roster.

"Nobody taught me more than John Kasay," he said. "I would have taken him over any kicker in the league coming into today."

Despite the miscues, the Panthers still had opportunities.

Delhomme threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad, and although Kasay missed the extra point, it cut the Eagles' lead to 22-16 with 6:42 to play.

Carolina held on defense, but Delhomme threw two incompletions and Steve Smith was called for offensive pass interference to force the Panthers to punt.

They still had one last chance to get the ball back, needing to hold on third-and-8 at the Eagles 45. But McNabb eluded several defenders in a collapsing pocket to launch a 29-yard completion to Chad Lewis that set up Akers' final field goal.

"Chad had to win versus man-to-man coverage and he did that," coach Andy Reid said. "Donovan trusted him and he went up and, heck, that was a big play. It kind of sealed things."

NOTES:@ Delhomme threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns. .... Stephen Davis ran for 115 yards, the seventh straight game the Eagles have given up 100 or more yards. ... Kasay missed his first extra point attempt since 2001. ... Westbrook had 97 total yards, 64 rushing and 32 receiving. ... The Panthers were livid with the officiating: "What exactly that crew was doing today, I don't know," Fox said.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FOURTH QUARTERPHICAR
phiTD12:15Touchdown
Drive info: 2 plays, 11 yds, 0:25
2210
THIRD QUARTERPHICAR
phiFG7:25David Akers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 39 yds, 2:03
133
carTD3:08Touchdown
Drive info: 7 plays, 70 yds, 3:20
139
FOURTH QUARTERPHICAR
carTD6:50Touchdown
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 1:46
2216
THIRD QUARTERPHICAR
car3:08
Drive info: 7 plays, 70 yds, 3:20
1310
FIRST QUARTERPHICAR
carFG9:35John Kasay 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 34 yds, 5:10
03
phiTD4:15Duce Staley, 2 yd run
Drive info: 10 plays, 68 yds, 5:10
63
phi4:15
Drive info: 10 plays, 68 yds, 5:10
73
FOURTH QUARTERPHICAR
phiFG0:29David Akers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 57 yds, 5:10
2516
SECOND QUARTERPHICAR
phiFG3:20David Akers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 63 yds, 5:34
103
FOURTH QUARTERPHICAR
phiFG13:00David Akers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 61 yds, 13:59
1610