Final

Eagles 34

(11-3, 6-1 away)

Dolphins 27

(8-6, 3-4 home)

9:00 PM ET, December 15, 2003

 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 14 10 0 1034
MIA 7 10 7 327

McNabb throws for 236 to lead Eagles

MIAMI (AP) -- The last time the Philadelphia Eagles played so well for so long, they won the NFL championship. That was 43 years ago.

Donovan McNabb threw a 59-yard completion on the first play, receiver Freddie Mitchell's first career completion went for a touchdown, and Philadelphia beat the slumping Miami Dolphins 34-27 Monday night.

The Eagles extended their winning streak to nine games, matching the franchise record set in 1960, when they went on to the NFL title. Philadelphia (11-3) matched the St. Louis Rams for the NFC's best record.

"We're opening up some eyes," McNabb said. "We've gotten better and better each week. Guys are out here having fun."

The result pushed Miami to the brink of elimination from the playoff race. With coach Dave Wannstedt's job in jeopardy, the Dolphins (8-6) slipped into their traditional December swoon with a second consecutive loss.

The Dolphins could miss the playoffs for the second year in a row even if they win their final two games against Buffalo and the New York Jets.

"Do we need a little bit of help? Sure," Wannstedt said. "Anything can happen."

When asked if he's concerned about his job security, Wannstedt said, "I'm just concerned about Buffalo, to be honest with you."

Philadelphia has averaged 32 points in the past five games, and McNabb and company continued to roll against a Miami defense that ranked third in the NFL in points allowed.

The 34 points and 401 yards allowed by Miami were season highs. The Eagles scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions.

"They probably made more big plays today than we've given up all year," Wannstedt said. "We missed too many tackles."

Three times the Dolphins came from behind, but they couldn't rally after Correll Buckhalter scored on a 2-yard run with 14:53 left to break a 24-all tie.

Buckhalter reached over the goal line with the ball extended as he leaped across the corner pylon. A replay review determined the play was a touchdown after the officials originally ruled Buckhalter out of bounds short of the end zone.

A pass-interference penalty against Miami's Arturo Freeman on third-and-18 set up the score.

David Akers' second field goal gave Philadelphia a 10-point lead. Olindo Mare kicked a 50-yard for Miami with 14 seconds left, but his ensuing onside kick went out of bounds to give the Eagles the ball -- and the win.

"We're not near where we want to be," running back Brian Westbrook said. "We're a work in progress."

Ricky Williams ran for 107 yards and a touchdown for Miami. But he carried only 18 times, while Jay Fiedler threw 40 passes -- a ratio sure to be questioned by Wannstedt's critics.

Williams broke a 45-yard run, his longest this season, to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Travis Minor for a 14-all tie. On the first series of the second half, Miami evened the score at 24 with an 80-yard drive capped by Williams' 3-yard run.

McNabb was 15-for-27 for 236 yards, but it was Mitchell who threw the game's only touchdown pass.

McNabb lateraled to the wide receiver, who retreated and hit Westbrook with a 25-yard scoring pass. Westbrook outfought linebacker Zach Thomas for the ball in the end zone to put the Eagles ahead 21-14.

"Against an aggressive defense, it's something you want to try," Mitchell said. "They didn't bite as much as we thought they would. But I know as a receiver I just want them to throw the ball up there so I can make a play, so I figured I'd do the same for Westbrook."

The teams scored touchdowns on five of the first seven possessions, and the Eagles needed just three plays to take the lead. Todd Pinkston beat Sam Madison deep for the Eagles' longest pass of the season, a 59-yard gain. After an incompletion, Westbrook ran up the middle 21 yards for the score.

"Our offense did an excellent job of putting up enough points for us to win," Madison said. "As a defense, we weren't as stingy as we usually are. We gave up too many big plays, too much yardage, and that will come back to bite you."

Game notes


Eagles tackle Tra Thomas was inactive after suffering back spasms during pre-game warmups. ... Miami fullback Rob Konrad suffered a concussion in the first quarter and missed the rest of the game. ... Miami defensive tackle Tim Bowens played sparingly after he aggravated a calf injury in first quarter. ... Eagles cornerback Troy Vincent suffered a hip flexor in the second half. ... The Eagles improved to 12-1 on Monday night under coach Andy Reid. ... Williams topped 100 yards for the 16th time, a team record. Larry Csonka held the old record of 15.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Philadelphia
Miami
1st Downs2322
3rd down efficiency
3-83-14
4th down efficiency
0-02-3
Total Yards401398
Yards per play7.05.6
Total Drives23
Passing261221
Comp-Att
16-2821-40
Yards per pass
9.35.5
Interceptions thrown
12
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-02-19
Rushing140177
Rushing Attempts
2829
Yards per rush
5.06.1
Penalties6-607-76
Turnovers12
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
12
Possession27:5532:05

Passing Leaders

PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNabb15/272368.7011-0
Mitchell1/12525.0100-0
MIAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Fiedler21/402406.0022-19

Rushing Leaders

PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Westbrook8597.4128
Staley6589.7022
MIACARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams181075.9145
Minor5244.8112

Receiving Leaders

PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Pinkston27839.0059
Thrash24824.0044
MIARECYDSAVGTDLG
McMichael79513.6035
Chambers58617.2038

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPHIMIA
TD1:11BRIAN WESTBROOK 21 YD RUN (DAVID AKERS KICK)
Drive: 3 plays, 80 yds, 1:11
70
TD9:11JAY FIEDLER 1 YD RUN (OLINDO MARE KICK)
Drive: 6 plays, 63 yds, 3:15
77
TD13:07DONOVAN MCNABB 1 YD RUN (DAVID AKERS KICK)
Drive: 8 plays, 80 yds, 3:56
147
SECOND QUARTERPHIMIA
TD0:05TRAVIS MINOR 2 YD RUN (OLINDO MARE KICK)
Drive: 5 plays, 70 yds, 1:58
1414
TD3:52BRIAN WESTBROOK 25 YD PASS FROM FREDDIE MITCHELL (DAVID AKERS KICK)
Drive: 7 plays, 75 yds, 3:47
2114
FG12:10DAVID AKERS 46 YD
Drive: 7 plays, 40 yds, 3:12
2414
FG14:34OLINDO MARE 27 YD
Drive: 9 plays, 69 yds, 2:24
2417
THIRD QUARTERPHIMIA
TD5:16RICKY WILLIAMS 3 YD RUN (OLINDO MARE KICK)
Drive: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:16
2424
FOURTH QUARTERPHIMIA
TD0:07CORRELL BUCKHALTER 2 YD RUN (DAVID AKERS KICK)
Drive: 7 plays, 62 yds, 3:45
3124
FG13:00DAVID AKERS 42 YD
Drive: 4 plays, 8 yds, :26
3424
FG14:46OLINDO MARE 50 YD
Drive: 8 plays, 36 yds, 1:46
3427