Final

Vikings 16

(1-1, 0-1 away)

Eagles 27

(2-0, 2-0 home)

9:00 PM ET, September 20, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 3 3 3 716
PHI 7 3 7 1027

Vikings score too little, too late

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Donovan McNabb can't remember when he's had so much fun.

Even with the Minnesota Vikings hogging the ball for nearly 38 minutes Monday night, McNabb was the most effective player in the Philadelphia Eagles' 27-16 victory. He didn't need much of Terrell Owens, either, although he got one big play, a clinching 45-yard TD catch, from Owens.

"We have a lot more weapons and guys know exactly what we can do," McNabb said after throwing for 245 yards, running for one touchdown and throwing for two. "I've always said we have other weapons on this team. T.O.'s presence opens a lot for the other guys."

It was a strange game featuring lots of long drives, but not an explosion of points. Of the four big offensive stars, only McNabb glittered, and Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper hurt his team badly with a fumble inside the Philadelphia 1-yard line.

"I thought the ball might have crossed the plane," he said. "I thought my body was in there."

The Eagles' 2-0 start at the Linc is a switch from last season, when they lost the first two games at their new home.

"Everybody talks about us being 2-0," McNabb said. "A lot of us learned from the mistakes of last year, and the experience of being in that position helped us a lot and how we got out of that hole."

Donovan McNabb

AP

Donovan McNabb celebrates a TD pass to L.J. Smith.

The Vikings (1-1) have lost 17 of their last 18 outdoor regular-season games. They might have stayed unbeaten if Culpepper and Randy Moss made more critical plays Monday night. Minnesota gained 410 yards, but got only one touchdown, Moss' 4-yarder late in the game.

"I kept coming to the sideline telling Coach, `I see fear in their eyes. Let's keep attacking," Moss said. "I think I was more frustrated because we kept driving, driving, driving. We put yards on the scoreboard, but we didn't put up the points."

Time-consuming marches ate up chunks of yards, but the end zone was elusive for Minnesota until 3½ minutes were left -- even though the Vikings had the ball for nearly 38 minutes.

That was not problematic for Philadelphia because McNabb made several big plays.

"We couldn't wait to get back out there," McNabb said. "It's a tribute to their offense that they were able to run some clock ... but when we had opportunities, we took full advantage of it and got some points."

Owens, who had three TD receptions in his Eagles debut last week, didn't have a big impact with four catches for 79 yards. But he had an impressive dunk over the crossbar after his touchdown, sparking a huge roar from the crowd.

"They were bandwagoning Randy Moss," Owens said of the media. "They can say he's the best, but I'm the best for the Eagles."

Moss, whose costly pass interference penalty was his most noteworthy play until the TD catch, did have eight receptions for 69 yards. But the Vikings kept bogging down in or near the red zone, in part because Moss was blanketed and Culpepper was sacked four times.

Culpepper finished 37-for-47 for 343 yards.

"They moved the ball well and ate up the clock," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. "But for the most part I think we did what we wanted in the passing game."

Morten Andersen, at 44 the NFL's oldest player, appeared in his 340th game, tying George Blanda's record. The 23-year veteran's left leg looked plenty strong as he made three field goals, but was short on a 44-yarder with 9:14 remaining.

Brian Westbrook gained 44 of the Eagles' 72-yards in their march to a 7-3 lead on their first series. L.J. Smith beat rookie linebacker Dontarrious Thomas over the middle for an 11-yard touchdown catch.

Minnesota didn't flinch, driving 65 yards in 14 plays before flopping on three runs from the Eagles 2. Brian Dawkins' hard hit on Culpepper's third-down quarterback draw stopped him short of the end zone, and Andersen added a 19-yard field goal. Culpepper outweighs Dawkins by about 50 pounds.

Philadelphia scored again on David Akers' 37-yard field goal. He also had a 47-yarder with 1:11 to go.

Dawkins' fumble recovery after Nate Wayne stripped the ball from Culpepper near the goal line finished the wide-open first half at 10-6.

Philadelphia began the second half at the Vikings 43 after rookie J.R. Reed's 46-yard kickoff return. McNabb avoided a strong rush and got a great downfield block by tailback Reno Mahe on his 20-yard scramble for a 20-6 lead.

Culpepper, who threw for five TDs in last week's win over Dallas, returned the favor by scoring on an 11-yard run on the next series, only to see it negated by center Matt Birk's holding penalty. Andersen kicked his third field goal, from 39 yards.

Game notes


Andy Reid's 58th coaching victory moved him ahead of Dick Vermeil into second place in Eagles history, behind only Greasy Neale's 66. ... Each team punted once. ... TE Jermaine Wiggins had eight receptions for 65 yards for Minnesota, but left late in the game with a sprained left hand. T Mike Rosenthal sprained his ankle. ... The Eagles last were 2-0 in 1993 under Rich Kotite and finished 8-8.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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