PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- No high-five, no handshake, not even a nod
The feuding stars hooked up for a 64-yard touchdown pass on the
first play, helping the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Cincinnati
Bengals 27-17 in a preseason game Friday night.
Playing together for the first time since their public spat
began in April, McNabb and Owens picked up where they left off last
year. In just one half, Owens caught five passes for 131 yards, and
McNabb threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns.
"It was business as usual," McNabb said.
Carson Palmer played into the third quarter with the rest of
Cincinnati's starters, but the Bengals (1-2) couldn't get into the
end zone until the reserves scored twice in the fourth quarter.
Palmer completed 13 of 25 passes for 136 yards.
"We weren't sharp," Palmer said. "There's no way around that.
We got outplayed. It's tough and frustrating."
After Rod Hood returned the opening kickoff 24 yards to
Philadelphia's 36, McNabb connected with Owens on a deep pass down
the right side. The All-Pro wideout caught McNabb's toss in full
stride near the 20 and streaked into the end zone.
"I saw the mismatch with T.O. to the outside and I decided to
take it," McNabb said. "I tried to put it in a decent spot. He
did an excellent job accelerating to the ball and scoring the
Known for his flamboyant antics after scoring, Owens toned down
his act. He spiked the ball, stood with his hands on his hips and
nodded his head. Owens then ran to the sideline, stopping once to
pound his chest and point toward the sky.
While nearly everyone congratulated Owens and McNabb after the
play, the two didn't even acknowledge each other. Owens twice
walked past McNabb without looking at him and then sat on another
bench just a few feet away from the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback.
"We were both excited whether we celebrated together or with
other teammates," McNabb said. "Let's not blow this out of
proportion. It's still early."
The friction between Owens and McNabb started when the enigmatic
Owens took a shot at McNabb's performance in Philadelphia's Super
Bowl loss to New England. Owens also called McNabb a "hypocrite"
earlier this month.
Owens hasn't endeared himself to fans by demanding a new
contract just one season into the seven-year, $48.97 million deal
he signed in March 2004. But the notoriously boorish Philly fans
didn't get a chance to give Owens an earful. He heard plenty of
cheers after his score.
Owens missed the first preseason game at Pittsburgh after he was
sent home for a week following a heated dispute with Eagles coach
Andy Reid. He was held out of last week's game at Baltimore because
of a groin injury that he reaggravated late in the first half.
"They'll be fine. Sometimes actions speak louder than words,"
Reid said of McNabb and Owens.
Without Owens, McNabb and the rest of the offense had some
success in the first two games. But they were dominant with Owens
on the field. McNabb completed 14 of 23 passes, Greg Lewis had four
catches for 72 yards and one TD and rookie Reggie Brown had a TD
"We are showing progression," McNabb said. "With the addition
of having T.O. out there, we are able to do a little bit more
things and it makes it exciting right now."
McNabb threw 31 yards to Owens on Philadelphia's second play.
McNabb twice overthrew Owens, but they didn't communicate after
McNabb's 8-yard TD pass to Brown gave the Eagles a 17-3 lead
midway through the second quarter. Lewis made an outstanding,
one-handed catch for a 27-yard TD reception that made it 27-3 at
"Everybody's getting involved and you can't just key on one
person," Lewis said. "T.O.'s the headliner of the receiving corps
and Reggie and myself try to get in where we can fit in."
"We didn't play very well on offense, defense and special
teams," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "We didn't tackle, we
didn't block, we didn't cover, we didn't punt. The fortunate thing
is it doesn't count."
The Eagles (2-1) were home for the first time since beating
Atlanta in the NFC championship game seven months ago. The whole
team ran onto the field before the game rather than introducing the
offense or defense individually.
Owens' injury doesn't appear serious. ... Last year, McNabb
and Owens connected for an 81-yard TD pass against the Ravens on
the Eagles' first play in their first preseason game at home. ...
Bengals S Kim Herring injured his right shoulder in the second
quarter and didn't return. ... Eagles T Tra Thomas, playing for the
first time since returning from a blood clot in his leg, left with
a lower back injury in the first quarter. .... Bengals Pro Bowl RB
Rudi Johnson ran 17 times for 72 yards.