Final

Eagles 38

(7-8, 5-3 away)

Saints 23

(7-8, 3-5 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 23, 2007

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 21 3 7 738
NO 14 3 0 623

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 284 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: B. Westbrook (PHI) - 17 CAR, 100 YDS

Receiving: K. Curtis (PHI) - 6 REC, 78 YDS, 1 TD

Saints' playoff hopes dangling loosely with loss to Eagles

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- If Donovan McNabb keeps playing like this, those fickle Philly fans who have been calling for rookie Kevin Kolb may have to wait.

Running, throwing, and sometimes throwing on the run, McNabb accounted for 300 total yards and tossed three touchdown passes, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 38-23 victory Sunday that dealt a devastating blow to a New Orleans squad still clinging to playoff hopes.

Eagles On Run
<b>Brian Westbrook</b>
Westbrook
Brian Westbrook has always been a great all-purposse back, but he set a personal single-season best for rushing yards on Sunday. Here are the top single-season rushing totals in Eagles' history:
Player
Year
Yards
Wilbert Montgomery19791512
Ricky Waters19961411
Wilbert Montgomery19811402
Brian Westbrook20071291
Duce Staley19991273
Ricky Waters19951273
Wilbert Montgomery19781220
Brian Westbrook20061217

"A lot of people ask a lot of questions about Donovan," said Eagles running back Brian Westbrook, who gained 100 yards on 17 carries. "I've said all along, it's going to take a full year for him to recover and be totally back. You see the way he's running the ball down the field. He's rounding back into being his old self and these last two weeks are proof of that."

The Eagles (7-8) have won two straight, building on their upset of the Cowboys in Dallas a week earlier. Their triumph snapped a two-game winning streak for the Saints (7-8), who stayed alive (barely) for playoff contention when the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Washington Redskins later Sunday night.

McNabb, whose 263 yards passing gave him more than 25,000 for his career, no longer showed the effects of his rehabilitation from knee surgery last year or an ankle sprain in midseason.

His 40-yard scramble on the third play led to a bizarre touchdown after his fumble was recovered in the end zone by receiver Kevin Curtis. McNabb also used his scrambling ability to neutralize the Saints' pass rush and give his receivers more time to get open.

"I think teams now see the progression of me coming off the injury and seeing I'm getting my mobility back," McNabb said. "I'm definitely feeling better and being able to get opportunities for guys by holding the ball a little bit longer."

Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw for 289 yards and an interception, and lost his best receiver when Marques Colston left the game in the first half with a chest contusion that had him spitting up blood.

Still, the Saints were in position to tie the game at 21 on the opening drive of the second half when David Patten nearly scored on a short first-down pass.

Coach Sean Payton thought Patten had crossed the goal line and challenged the ruling, but the call was upheld, setting up second-and-goal from the 1. The Eagles stuffed New Orleans on three straight running plays to preserve their one-touchdown lead, taking over possession at their own 2.

The running plays seemed like a departure for Payton, who calls a majority of passing plays and never shies away from trickery. Payton said he didn't want to "get cute," and Brees agreed.

"Second and goal from the 4-inch line? You should be able to put that one in. We had pounded in there two other times previously and why not again right there?" Brees said. "That was a huge turning point in the game. We score there, we tie it up, and I think it would have been a different ballgame."

Instead, Philadelphia followed with a 15-play, 98-yard, seven-minute scoring drive that McNabb capped with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Greg Lewis, giving the Eagles a 31-17 lead late in the third quarter.

McNabb also had touchdown passes of 31 yards to Reggie Brown and 7 yards to Curtis. Correll Buckhalter scored the Eagles' other touchdown on a 20-yard run in the first quarter.

Curtis had six catches for 78 yards, while Brown caught six passes for 73 yards.

Aaron Stecker scored both New Orleans touchdowns on short runs in the first half.

Both teams entered the game with highly ranked run defenses. The Eagles came in fifth in the league, giving up an average of 94.6 yards rushing, and the Saints came in eighth (97.6).

Philadelphia finished with 184 rushing yards, while New Orleans managed only 65, with Stecker gaining 49.

Still, the Saints drove inside Philadelphia's 30 twice in the fourth quarter. Touchdowns on those possessions could have tied the game, but the Eagles forced Martin Gramatica's field goals of 35 and 46 yards, leaving New Orleans down 31-23 with 7:19 left.

Philadelphia needed one more scoring drive to put the game away. Buckhalter's 34-yard kickoff return gave the Eagles the ball at the New Orleans 44. McNabb got them inside the 20 with a 26-yard pass down the sideline to Curtis, then used a short pass to Westbrook to convert on third-and-2. Three plays later, McNabb found Curtis again for the score, which sent fans streaming for the exits with 2:33 to go.

"He looked great today," Eagles coach Andy Reid said of McNabb. "He ran strong. ... He played his heart out both running and throwing the ball. He had great command of the huddle."

Game notes


Saints CB Mike McKenzie left the game with a sprained right knee after he narrowly missed recovering McNabb's fumble on the Eagles' first TD of the game. ... Eagles S Brian Dawkins left the game with what team officials termed a right foot injury. He's scheduled for an MRI on Monday. ... Eagles LB Omar Gaither left the game with a quad contusion. ... Saints reserve running back Jamaal Branch broke his leg on a special teams play.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Team Stat Comparison

 
PHI
NO
1st Downs2422
Passing 1st downs
1214
Rushing 1st downs
106
1st downs from penalties
22
3rd down efficiency
8-133-12
4th down efficiency
0-11-2
Total Plays6664
Total Yards435346
Yards per play6.65.4
Total Drives1113
Passing251276
Comp-Att
24-3527-42
Yards per pass
6.66.4
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-121-8
Rushing18470
Rushing Attempts
2821
Yards per rush
6.63.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-32-4
Penalties4-296-64
Turnovers11
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession31:4828:12

Passing Leaders

PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNabb24/352637.5303-12
NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brees27/422846.8011-8

Rushing Leaders

PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Westbrook171005.9021
McNabb6376.2040
NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Stecker14533.8226
Thomas5183.6013

Receiving Leaders

PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Curtis67813.0126
Brown67312.2131
NORECYDSAVGTDLG
Patten6559.2016
Henderson15252.0052

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPHINO
phiTD13:33Kevin Curtis, fumble recovery (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 73 yds, 1:45
70
noTD11:12Aaron Stecker, 3 yd run (Martin Gramatica kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 66 yds, 2:08
77
noTD8:56Aaron Stecker, 1 yd run (Martin Gramatica kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 33 yds, 2:00
714
phiTD5:54Correll Buckhalter, 20 yd run (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 63 yds, 3:05
1414
phiTD1:58Reggie Brown, 31 yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 85 yds, 2:13
2114
SECOND QUARTERPHINO
phiFG9:33David Akers 24 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 59 yds, 5:21
2414
noFG0:04Martin Gramatica 55 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 45 yds, 2:00
2417
THIRD QUARTERPHINO
phiTD3:00Greg Lewis, 9 yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 15 plays, 98 yds, 7:00
3117
FOURTH QUARTERPHINO
noFG13:07Martin Gramatica 35 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 52 yds, 4:52
3120
noFG7:25Martin Gramatica 46 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 36 yds, 3:57
3123
phiTD2:33Kevin Curtis, 7 yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 56 yds, 4:51
3823