Final

Panthers 8

(1-4, 1-2 away)

Eagles 30

(5-0, 3-0 home)

1:00 PM ET, October 17, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
CAR 0 0 0 88
PHI 10 3 10 730

Panthers without recourse vs. unbeaten Eagles

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Philadelphia Eagles didn't need their best offensive effort to beat injury-depleted Carolina in a rematch of last season's NFC championship game.

Eric Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen What's the biggest reason behind Carolina's Super Bowl hangover?

There are myriad reasons why this team is suffering from a Super Bowl hangover. One, they've suffered some devastating injuries to WR Steve Smith, RB Stephen Davis and RB DeShaun Foster. Those losses have taken a lot of the oomph out of this offense and disrupted its flow. This team is based on running the ball successfully with the ability to go over the top occasionally, and they've been denied that with the injuries.

Second, the defense isn't stopping the run like they did last season. Last year it was impossible to run on the Panthers and this year it's become increasingly easier. If they want to get back into the hunt, they have to rediscover their run defense and running game.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

Terrell Owens had all of his 123 yards receiving in the first half and Lito Sheppard returned an interception 64 yards for a score, leading the undefeated Eagles to a 30-8 victory over the Panthers on Sunday.

"Offensively, we didn't play well," Owens said. "We rode the backs of our defense."

The Panthers' 14-3 victory nine months ago denied Philadelphia its first trip to the Super Bowl since the 1980 season. But the Eagles, who have lost three consecutive conference championship games, have come back strong, starting 5-0 for the first time since 1981. They've won each game by double digits.

Carolina, which lost to New England in the Super Bowl, fell to 1-4. Only eight teams have overcome a 1-4 start to make the playoffs.

"We didn't play well enough to beat a good team on the road," Panthers coach John Fox said. "We must continue to improve."

Donovan McNabb, off to the best start of his six-year career, didn't have a touchdown pass for the first time this season. But he completed passes of 53 and 51 yards to Owens that led to 10 points. McNabb finished 14-of-26 for 209 yards and one interception.

"Defensively, we had a great game," McNabb said. "It was a total team effort."

Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme hardly played like he did last January, throwing four interceptions. His 2-yard TD pass to Muhsin Muhammad came late in the fourth quarter.

"Things aren't happening right now," Delhomme said. "Certainly it's hard, it's discouraging."

Sheppard, who had two picks, put the game away in the third quarter with a nifty return after another poorly thrown pass by Delhomme. Sheppard eluded a couple of tackles along the left sideline, waited for a block from Corey Simon near the 15 and ran in to make it 23-0.

"I was trying to make something happen. I was able to make a couple guys miss then I got some great blocks," said Sheppard, who predicted earlier in the week he'd have two interceptions.

Brian Westbrook added a 42-yard TD run in the final minutes.

Right from the start, the Eagles proved they're not the same team that was completely shut down in the conference title game. J.R. Reed returned the opening kickoff 66 yards, and McNabb's first two passes were caught by Todd Pinkston, who didn't have a catch in the last meeting.

David Akers' 48-yard field goal gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead.

McNabb and Owens connected on a 53-yard pass on the next possession, setting up Dorsey Levens' 1-yard TD run to make it 10-0.

Owens, who challenged cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. earlier in the week, beat Manning on the long pass. Manning, who had three picks against McNabb in the previous game, got another interception, but it was too late to matter.

A 51-yard catch-and-run pass to Owens set up a 34-yarder by Akers that made it 13-0 in the second quarter. Akers also hit a 43-yarder in the third quarter.

Owens had four catches, but didn't score for the first time this season.

Stephen Davis had 66 yards rushing for Carolina in his first game back after missing three games with a knee injury. Injuries have made it difficult for the Panthers to repeat in the NFC. Wideout Steve Smith and All-Pro defensive tackle Kris Jenkins are out for the year, and No. 2 running back DeShaun Foster went down with a broken collarbone last week.

"As much as we're a different team, they're a different team. They're banged up," Eagles coach Andy Reid said.< ^Notes: Panthers DE Mike Rucker left after the first series with an irregular heartbeat. ... The Eagles are 6-0 after a bye under Andy Reid, and an NFL-best 51-18 overall since 2000. ... Philadelphia has led after each quarter this season. ... They haven't started 6-0 since 1961, when they finished 10-6. ... Delhomme has thrown nine interceptions in five games. ... The Eagles recovered an onside kick to start the second half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

THIRD QUARTERCARPHI
phiTD4:55Touchdown
Drive info: 1 plays, 51 yds, 0:00
022
phi4:55
Drive info: 1 plays, 51 yds, 0:00
023
FOURTH QUARTERCARPHI
phiTD2:17Brian Westbrook, 42 yd run
Drive info: 3 plays, 47 yds, 0:28
829
THIRD QUARTERCARPHI
phiFG8:35David Akers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:59
016
FOURTH QUARTERCARPHI
phi2:17
Drive info: 3 plays, 47 yds, 0:28
830
FIRST QUARTERCARPHI
phiFG12:36David Akers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, -2 yds, 2:15
03
phiTD3:44Dorsey Levens, 1 yd run
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yds, 3:02
09
phi3:44
Drive info: 7 plays, 80 yds, 3:02
010
SECOND QUARTERCARPHI
phiFG4:19David Akers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 64 yds, 4:26
013
FOURTH QUARTERCARPHI
carTD3:00Touchdown(Jake Delhomme pass to Keary Colbert for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 11 plays, 66 yds, 4:56
823