Sunday, September 23, 2007

Will the real Birds please stand up; Eagles rout Lions

By Eric Redner
The Phanatic Magazine

The Philadelphia Eagles finally broke out of their offensive slump as the team scored 42 points in the first half and Donovan McNabb threw four touchdown passes in a 56-21 win over the DetroitLions at Lincoln Financial Field.

McNabb went 21-of-26 for 381 yards and his favorite target of the day was Kevin Curtis, who had a career day with 11 catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles (1-2), who had scored only one offensive touchdown in their first two games this season.

Curtis had 205 reception yards in the first-half alone, which tied an NFL record for first-half yards set by Buffalo's Lee Evans last year against Houston. The record for most yards in any half is by Irving Fryar, who had 221yards.

Equally impressive in the offensive outburst was Brian Westbrook. He had 14carries for 110 yards and two scores and added five receptions for 111 yards and one score for Philadelphia, which has won its last four regular-season games against Detroit. Westbrook left the game in the third quarter with a rib injury and was taken to the locker room for x-rays.

Philadelphia's defense limited the Lions to just 39 yards rushing and sacked Jon Kitna nine times for a total of 53 yards lost.

The Eagles were wearing the yellow and blue uniforms of the Frankford Yellow Jackets in honor of the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the franchise.

Kitna went 29-for-46 with a career-high 446 yards and two touchdowns with an interception while Roy Williams had nine catches for 204 yards and a score for the Lions (2-1), who were looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 1980.

Philadelphia's 42 first-half points set a new team record. The previous high was 35 points set on three different occasions. Also, the 63 combined points from the two teams in the first half was the second highest in NFL history.

Also, the 56 points scored was the most for the Eagles in a regular-season game since they reached the mark against the Chicago Cardinals on October 25,1953. The Eagles scored 58 points against the Lions in their NFC Wild Card win on December 30, 1995.

After stopping the Lions on the first possession of the game, the Eagles got the ball back near midfield and wasted no time taking the lead. On the fourth play of the drive, Westbrook took the hand off, cut out around the left end,broke a tackle and raced into the end zone on a 25-yard score for a 7-0 lead a bit over three minutes into the game.

However, the Lions wasted no time responding. On the next possession, the Eagles appeared to have the Lions contained as they stopped Tatum Bell on consecutive carries, but on 3rd-and-13, Kitna found Williams on a short crossing pattern on the right side and the receiver caught the ball and took it 54 yards to the Philadelphia 23. After McDonald's 21-yard catch to setup1st-and-goal, Kevin Jones punched it in to tie the game with 9:07 to play.

Philadelphia drove right back down the field to again take the lead. On 3rd-and-7, McNabb connected with Reggie Brown on a 19-yard play. Deep in Lions territory, Westbrook took the ball around the right end on a 12-yard run for a1st-and-goal at the five-yard line and on the next play Westbrook went through a huge hole at the left side, knocked back Kenoy Kennedy and just stretched the ball over the goal line as he dropped the ball. Detroit asked for the play to be reviewed to see if Westbrook fumbled before crossing the goal line, but the call on the field was allowed to stand.

The Eagles again forced a three-and-out from Detroit, and on the first play of possession McNabb went deep to Curtis who caught the ball over the middle and took it into the end zone on a 68-yard play for a 21-7 lead with 3:04 left in the first.

Philadelphia continued to pour it on in the second quarter. After getting the ball back late in the first, a seven-play, 78-yard drive was capped off when McNabb faked a pitch to Westbrook and found Curtis in the left corner of the end zone for a 28-7 lead with 12:45 left in the second.

The Eagles weren't done yet as after another Detroit three-and-out, McNabb found a wide open Curtis in stride along the left sideline and he took it into the end zone on a 43-yard play for a 35-7 lead with 11:32 left in the second.

However, the Lions responded with a pair of touchdowns to get back into the contest.

On 3rd-and-15, Kitna laid up a pass for Calvin Johnson and the rookie leaped up and made a 39-yard catch between two Eagle defenders. Two plays later, Kitna hit Shaun McDonald in the right flat and McDonald took it between two defenders and just got the ball into the end zone to make it a 35-14 game.

Philadelphia drove the ball down the field on the next touch, but Corey Smith swiped McNabb's arm causing the ball to come loose and Detroit recovered the ball. On the second play, Kitna connected with Williams on a short pass and the receiver raced past the Eagle defense and took the ball into the end zone on a 91-yard play to make it a 35-21 game with 5:01 left in the first half.

The Eagles, though, responded on the next drive as McNabb tossed the ball to Westbrook on a screen play and the running back broke several tackles on his way to a 43-yard touchdown play and a 42-21 lead heading into the locker room.

After stopping Detroit on the first possession of the second half,Philadelphia padded its lead. An 11-play, 63-yard drive was capped off on a one-yard touchdown run up the middle from Correll Buckhalter for a 49-21advantage with 2:24 left in the third quarter. The drive ate up over six minutes.

Tony Hunt's first career touchdown came on a one-yard dive into the end zone with 7:27 to play in the contest to give the Eagles a 56-21 advantage.
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