Chargers 14

(5-8, 1-6 away)

Eagles 24

(8-4, 3-4 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, December 9, 2001


1 2 3 4 T
SD 7 7 0 014
PHI 14 7 0 324

McNabb helps Eagles build East lead

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- LaDainian Tomlinson took a pitch, ran wide, saw Brian Dawkins coming at him full speed and dropped the ball.

That was just one instance where the San Diego Chargers beat themselves on Sunday.

How did the Eagles' top-ranked pass defense give up 307 yards passing to the Chargers?
QB Doug Flutie is hard to contain -- he's going to make some plays.

But tackling is key. If you make the tackle immediately after the catch, you limit the passing yards. Often, when you give up lots of passing yards, it means you were tackling poorly in the secondary.

The Chargers did get one lucky play that bounced around and turned into a long gain through the air. But the Eagles didn't get the pressure they needed to get on Flutie, and their tackling was suspect.'s Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.

Donovan McNabb passed for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and Dawkins returned Tomlinson's fumble 49 yards for a TD, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to a 24-14 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Doug Flutie threw for 307 yards and two TDs against the NFL's top-ranked pass defense, but San Diego couldn't overcome four turnovers and lost its sixth consecutive game after opening 5-2.

"A lot of times when you play good teams they cause you to make mistakes," Chargers coach Mike Riley said. "Their defense is darn good, the best we've seen."

The NFC East-leading Eagles (8-4) won their second straight, fifth of six and improved to just 3-4 at Veterans Stadium.

With the score tied at 7 in the first quarter, San Diego had a third-and-1 at Philadelphia's 38. Flutie pitched the ball to Tomlinson, but he never got complete control as he ran wide to his right, saw Dawkins coming and dropped it.

Dawkins scooped it up and outran Tomlinson and Flutie to the end zone for a 14-7 lead.

"If a guy is coming at you full speed, who are you going to look at?" Dawkins said. "A lot of times you are going to look at the guy."

Tomlinson said Dawkins knew the play was coming.

"He blitzed hard and made a good play," Tomlinson said.

The Eagles let the Chargers hang around until the fourth quarter, but never trailed and finally beat an inferior opponent at home.

On two previous occasions this season, Philadelphia lost games at the Vet against teams it should've beaten. Arizona, a 13-point underdog, defeated the Eagles 21-20 on Oct. 7, and Washington, a touchdown underdog, beat them 13-3 two weeks ago.

"We did OK, but we have plenty of room to improve on both sides of the ball," Eagles coach Andy Reid said.

McNabb's 1-yard TD pass to Chad Lewis gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead 4:11 into the game. It was the first time this season Philadelphia scored on its opening possession.

McNabb was 4-of-5 for 66 yards on the drive, including completions of 28 yards to Duce Staley and 31 to James Thrash.

"Every week we want to start fast," Thrash said. "Coach really emphasizes it. It felt good. Everything was clicking. It was exciting."

A fumble by Flutie midway through the fourth quarter also cost the Chargers. On third-and-3 at Philadelphia's 13, Flutie appeared to run for a first down when Dawkins punched the ball out of his hands and Hollis Thomas recovered.

David Akers kicked a 37-yard field goal minutes later to give the Eagles a 24-14 lead. It was Akers' team-record 14th straight field goal, breaking his own mark set last year.

"We fought our tails off, but they have a good defense," Flutie said.

The Chargers tied it at 7 on a 61-yard TD pass from Flutie to Jeff Graham midway through the first quarter. Graham made an acrobatic catch, reaching over cornerback Troy Vincent's shoulders, tipping the ball to himself before Dawkins converged and running untouched the last 40 yards.

McNabb's 8-yard TD pass to Staley gave the Eagles a 21-7 lead with 2:01 left in the first half.

McNabb began the drive by hitting Staley on a 37-yard screen pass. He threw a 24-yarder to Thrash on fourth-and-1 before Staley made a one-handed catch on a fade pass for a TD.

But Flutie led the Chargers 71 yards in 56 seconds, completing a 10-yard TD pass to Graham that cut it to 21-14 before halftime.

Chargers kicker Steve Christie hit the upright on a 34-yard field goal that would have cut the deficit to 14-10 in the second. He was wide left on a 37-yarder with 1:57 left.

Game notes
Eagles punter Sean Landeta moved past Lee Johnson into first place on the NFL's career list with his 1,188th punt late in the third quarter. ... Tomlinson went over 1,000 yards rushing to become the first San Diego runner to reach that mark since Natrone Means did it in 1994. He's the second Chargers rookie to reach 1,000 yards. ... Flutie, who struggled in recent weeks, had 229 yards in the first half. ... McNabb left the game for one play after hurting his back when Rodney Harrison sacked him late in the first half.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

Drive info: 1 plays, 56 yds, 0:00
Drive info: 1 plays, 56 yds, 0:00
phiFG9:08David Akers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 7 yds, 1:48
Drive info: 6 plays, 63 yds, 1:58
Drive info: 6 plays, 78 yds, 1:42
Drive info: 6 plays, 63 yds, 1:58
Drive info: 6 plays, 78 yds, 1:42
Drive info: 8 plays, 81 yds, 2:30
Drive info: 8 plays, 81 yds, 2:30
Drive info: 7 plays, 71 yds, 0:04
Drive info: 7 plays, 71 yds, 0:04