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McNabb accounts for four TDs as Eagles pull away for victory

Oct 3, 2006 - 4:03 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Without his little buddy, Donovan McNabb came up big.

McNabb threw two touchdowns to Greg Lewis and also ran for a pair of scores as the Philadelphia Eagles overcame some early sloppiness to post a 31-9 victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Philadelphia (3-1) played without running back Brian Westbrook, who entered Week Four leading the NFL in touchdowns, yards from scrimmage and rushing average. The Eagles also did not have the services of injured cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Roderick Hood, but the rest of the team rose to the occasion - especially after halftime.

"Guys just have to step up and take on the challenge of doing something extra," McNabb said. "I thought (Westbrook) was going to play. ... Any time you lose a weapon, it's not a bonus for our team. I talked to him a little bit and told him I'd take care of it and everything would be fine."

The Eagles trailed, 9-7, at intermission and appeared lost offensively without Westbrook, who usually opens holes for the wide receivers and creates mismatches all over the field.

But McNabb raised his level of play in the second half, while counterpart Brett Favre resorted to his gun-slinger mentality without injured running back Ahman Green.

McNabb completed 16-of-30 passes for 288 yards and recorded his first career game with two rushing TDs. He did not get much help from the running game but still was able to outperform Favre, who fell to 0-6 all-time in Philadelphia.

Making his NFL-record 225th consecutive start at quarterback, Favre was forced to throw 44 passes, completing 22. He accumulated 205 yards but also threw a pair of second-half interceptions before leaving with a head injury and stinger with 6:13 remaining.

"There hasn't been a diagnosis yet, but it was his head and a stinger," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said of Favre, who did not meet with the media after the game. "I think he's going to be fine. He just shook it off. He said he got hit in the head."

The Eagles' offense, which averaged 28.7 points over the first three games, was totally out of sync in the first half. McNabb was 10-of-19 for 169 yards, but he threw numerous passes into the ground and had several others dropped.

"We started out very slow," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "I don't think we came out of the gates like we had in the past, but the sign of a good football team is that you can buckle down and change the wrongs to rights."

McNabb and Correll Buckhalter also fumbled a handoff inside the Packers 5 midway through the first quarter and Buckhalter - who entered with six fumbles in 33 career games - lost another inside the 5 early in the second period.

"We left a lot of points out on the field," McNabb said. "Any time you get in the red zone...that's just not us to turn the ball over or not come out with points."

Philadelphia caught a break, however, as Vernand Morency returned the favor by fumbling on Green Bay's second play. The Eagles finally cashed in behind McNabb, who scampered in on a quarterback draw for a six-yard TD and a 7-3 lead.

"It was a great call," McNabb said. " We called (a draw), knowing that they were going to be playing a little man coverage and no one was going to guard me."

But that completed the first-half offense for Philadelphia, which jogged into the locker room to a chorus of boos.

"Mistakes just killed us (in the first half)," said McNabb, who admitted he fired up the team at halftime. "On the offensive side, the opportunities were there for us to score touchdowns, not just field goals. We all needed to pick it up, including myself."

The Eagles began to show signs of life on the opening drive of the second half, when they took the kickoff and drove 57 yards in 15 plays, capped by David Akers' 40-yard field goal.

After Dave Rayner missed wide left on a 54-yarder, McNabb responded on the second play, hooking up with Lewis on a post pattern for a 45-yard TD to put Philadelphia ahead, 17-9.

"Any time I'm out there, I feel that I'm a primary (receiver)," said Lewis, who entered with one touchdown in 46 career games. "That's what all receivers say."

Green Bay's next possesion ended when Favre's pass went off Morency's hands and was intercepted by rookie tackle LaJuan Ramsey. Philadelphia again capitalized as McNabb found a wide-open Lewis on a crossing pattern and the fourth-year receiver broke a tackle on his way to the end zone.

McNabb, who finished with five carries for 47 yards, ran for a 15-yard score with 12:41 remaining to make it 31-9.

The Eagles lost wide receivers Donte Stallworth (hamstring) and Reggie Brown (shoulder) to injuries in the second half, giving the team some concern heading into next week's matchup against Terrell Owens and the Dallas Cowboys.

"It sure wasn't flawless football, but there were some good things we did in the second half," Reid said. "We'll have to play better this coming week against the Dallas Cowboys."

Morency rushed for 99 yards on 26 attempts, but was stopped four straight times on a game-ending goal-line stand that kept Green Bay (1-3) out of the end zone for good.

"It is definitely disappointing," Morency said. "You want to leave here with a touchdown. You want to leave here with something to move on with."

Rayner made three first-half field goals, including a franchise record-tying 54-yarder, for the Packers, who have lost nine straight games in Philadelphia since a victory at Franklin Field in 1962.

"I do not know what it is about this place," Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett said. "When we come to Philly, we just have to play. Unfortunately, we were not able to come in here the last couple of years and play well. ... We need to play better mentally."

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