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Eagles can win division by beating 'Skins

12/22/2003

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Forget home-field advantage throughout the
NFC playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles have to win the division
first.

Tony Parrish's second interception set up a 22-yard field goal
by Todd Peterson in overtime, helping the San Francisco 49ers snap
the Eagles' nine-game winning streak, 31-28 on Sunday.

Question on the 49ers: Is this the most impressive or surprising victory of the weekend so far?
This was one of the most surprising victories of the weekend because it was accomplished mostly without Terrell Owens and because of the 49ers' road woes. In the end the 49ers defense made enough plays to win this game. I definitely put the outcome of this game up there with the outcome of the Atlanta-Tampa Bay game.

Question on the Eagles: Do you think playing the NFC title game on the road could derail their Super Bowl hopes?
The loss of home-field advantage will adversely affect the Eagles' hopes for a Super Bowl berth. Right now, it looks as if the NFC title game will come down to the Eagles and the Rams, and the Rams play extremely well at home. It'll be very difficult for the Eagles to go to St. Louis and get a victory.

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

The Eagles (11-4) still can clinch their third consecutive NFC
East title and secure a first-round bye with a victory over
Washington next Saturday. However, if they lose and Dallas (10-5)
beats New Orleans on Sunday, the Cowboys win the division.

To get the No. 1 seed, Philadelphia needs to beat the Redskins
and have St. Louis (12-3) lose at Detroit next Sunday.

"It's very disappointing, but we have to focus on the next
game," Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said.

The 49ers (7-8) lost Pro Bowl wide receiver Terrell Owens to a
broken left collarbone in the first half, but snapped an eight-game
road losing streak.

The Eagles lost Carlos Emmons, their best linebacker, to a
broken left leg.

Kevan Barlow ran for 154 yards, the sixth time in seven games a
runner went over 100 yards against Philadelphia, and had two
touchdowns.

Parrish, who intercepted McNabb's throw on the first play of the
game, stepped in front of a pass intended for Freddie Mitchell on
the first play of OT. He bobbled it, caught it while on the ground
and returned it to Philadelphia's 4. Two plays later, Peterson
kicked his third field goal to win it.

Parrish said he was upset he wasn't selected to the Pro Bowl
earlier this week. He proved he deserved consideration with two
picks and a forced fumble.

"I'm over it. I just go out and play hard," Parrish said.

McNabb threw a 19-yard TD pass to Todd Pinkston with 1:02 left
to tie it at 28. But the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback had his
least-productive game in weeks, throwing two interceptions and
getting sacked five times.

"I have to be more secure with the ball," McNabb said.

After Brian Westbrook returned a punt 81 yards for a TD to give
the Eagles a 21-14 lead early in the third quarter, the 49ers
scored the next 14 points.

A 1-yard TD run by Barlow and successful 2-point conversion made
it 28-21 with 5:03 left. A holding penalty on cornerback Lito
Sheppard kept the drive alive after the Eagles stopped the 49ers
near midfield.

The 49ers cut it to 21-17 on a 33-yard field goal by Peterson in
the third quarter. He hit a 25-yarder on the first play of the
fourth quarter to make it 21-20.

David Akers, who had made 13 consecutive field goals, missed
attempts of 42 and 47 yards in the second half.

"I had good hits on the ball, but they didn't go through,"
Akers said.

The Eagles played without five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Troy
Vincent, out with a hip injury. Also, running back Correll
Buckhalter was deactivated after he missed a team meeting Saturday
and was late for a walkthrough.

"I let my teammates down," Buckhalter said.

Barlow has rushed for 393 yards in three starts since Garrison
Hearst was injured.

"It wasn't an opportunity. It was me just stepping up and doing
my job," Barlow said.

Duce Staley ran in from the 1 to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead
midway through the second quarter. A pass interference penalty by
Dwaine Carpenter on James Thrash in the end zone put the ball at
the 1. The Eagles started the drive at San Francisco's 40 after an
8-yard punt by Bill LaFleur.

A 33-yard pass from Jeff Garcia to rookie Brandon Lloyd capped
an 82-yard drive, tying the score at 14.

Staley's 7-yard TD run tied it at 7 early in the second quarter.
The short scoring drive was set up when Corey Simon sacked Garcia,
forcing a fumble recovered by Emmons at San Francisco's 20.

The 49ers took a 7-0 lead on Garcia's 15-yard TD pass to Barlow
in the first quarter.

A 48-yard TD pass from McNabb to Pinkston was overturned in the
second quarter when replays showed Pinkston fumbled the ball at the
1 and it rolled out of bounds in the end zone for a touchback.<
^Notes: Pinkston had 121 yards receiving on five catches, the first
100-yard game of his career and the first by an Eagles receiver
since Antonio Freeman in the third game of last season. ... The
49ers gained over 400 yards for the third straight game. ... Eagles
FB Jon Ritchie got his first carry since Dec. 5, 1999 in the first
quarter. He gained 1 yard on the run. ... The Eagles wore black
jerseys for just the second time.