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Archive for Sunday, December 28, 2003

Eagles top Redskins

Philadelphia earns first-round bye in NFC playoffs

December 28, 2003

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— The Philadelphia Eagles guaranteed themselves a week off. There's no telling what's in store for the Washington Redskins.

Donovan McNabb completed 23 of 32 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score Saturday in a 31-7 victory over Washington that clinched the Eagles' third consecutive NFC East title.

The Eagles (12-4) secured a much-needed off week to rest their injured players; running back Brian Westbrook joined the list when he tore a triceps muscle in the first half. Philadelphia will have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs if St. Louis loses to Detroit on Sunday.

The Redskins (5-11) lost 10 of their last 12 and finished with their worst record since going 3-13 in 1994, and there is rampant speculation over the future of coach Steve Spurrier.

Spurrier has said the franchise needs to undergo significant changes, but he had refused to be specific about his plans until the season was over.

Among Washington's lowlights: The team broke the franchise record for penalties in a season, committing nine to finish with 124 and surpass the mark of 122 set in a 12-game season in 1948.

McNabb moved impeccably in the pocket, finding open receivers on the run as the Eagles scored touchdowns on their first three drives to take a 21-7 halftime lead.

He was also savvy enough to spot tight end Chad Lewis completely uncovered to the right on a second-and-goal at the 3. With the Redskins' defense confused, McNabb took a quick snap and hit Lewis for the easy touchdown for the game's first score.

Among other highlights, McNabb strolled across the goal line on a 1-yard bootleg to make it 14-0.

McNabb then hit Freddie Mitchell with an 8-yard TD pass following a fumble by Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck. In the second half, McNabb threw an 11-yard touchdown screen to Correll Buckhalter, who scored with an outstretched dive for the pylon. McNabb completed passes to 10 receivers.

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