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.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Carolina
Philadelphia
1st Downs2110
3rd down efficiency
6-174-11
4th down efficiency
2-20-0
Total Yards344283
Yards per play4.66.0
Total Drives01
Passing186202
Comp-Att
24-4214-26
Yards per pass
4.47.8
Interceptions thrown
41
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-191-7
Rushing15881
Rushing Attempts
3120
Yards per rush
5.14.1
Penalties8-454-38
Turnovers41
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
41
Possession38:3021:30

Passing Leaders

CARC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Delhomme24/422054.9142-19
PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNabb14/262098.0011-7

Rushing Leaders

CARCARYDSAVGTDLG
Davis15664.4012
Hoover11635.7012
PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Westbrook13644.9142
Levens4112.815

Receiving Leaders

CARRECYDSAVGTDLG
Muhammad6488.0115
Goings5408.0021
PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Owens412330.8053
Westbrook4266.5010

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCARPHI
FG2:35DAVID AKERS 48 YD
Drive: 6 plays, 13 yds, 2:35
03
TD11:20DORSEY LEVENS 1 YD RUN (DAVID AKERS KICK)
Drive: 7 plays, 80 yds, 3:06
010
SECOND QUARTERCARPHI
FG10:45DAVID AKERS 34 YD
Drive: 9 plays, 64 yds, 4:30
013
THIRD QUARTERCARPHI
FG6:34DAVID AKERS 43 YD
Drive: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:55
016
TD10:28LITO SHEPPARD 64 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (DAVID AKERS KICK) 023
FOURTH QUARTERCARPHI
TD12:12MUHSIN MUHAMMAD 2 YD PASS FROM JAKE DELHOMME (JAKE DELHOMME PASS TO KEARY COLBERT FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION)
Drive: 11 plays, 66 yds, 5:08
823
TD12:52BRIAN WESTBROOK 42 YD RUN (DAVID AKERS KICK)
Drive: 3 plays, 47 yds, :40
830