PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Terrell Owens needed a police escort to get
to the stadium. He didn't need help finding the end zone.
Owens had three touchdown catches, Donovan McNabb threw for 330
yards and tied a career high with four TD passes and Brian
Westbrook ran for 119 yards, leading the Philadelphia Eagles over
the New York Giants 31-17 on Sunday.
Owens got stuck in traffic on his way to Lincoln Financial Field
for his first game with the Eagles, and was told by a police
officer he wouldn't make it in time without an escort.
"I didn't expect the traffic to be so hectic," Owens said. "I
was on time for the game. That's all that matters."
An Eagles spokesman said Owens wasn't fined for being late.
The Eagles, runners-up in the NFC championship the last three
years, won their opener for just the second time in coach Andy
Reid's six seasons.
"It was a good start," said McNabb, who completed 26 of 36
passes and had no interceptions. "We made some big plays. We made
some mistakes. Overall, it was a great performance."
Two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner had a lackluster debut for the
Giants, who lost their ninth straight game and first under new
coach Tom Coughlin. Heralded rookie Eli Manning made his NFL debut
in the final minutes, handing off to Tiki Barber for a 72-yard TD
run on his first play.
"We obviously had a lot of trouble stopping them on defense,"
Coughlin said. "We have our work cut out for us, but I'm not
Owens, who came to the Eagles after eight
sometimes-controversial seasons in San Francisco, made an immediate
impact, scoring on his first two receptions.
The four-time Pro Bowl receiver, known for his flamboyant TD
celebrations, kept it low key. He stood in the end zone and flexed
his right arm while cradling the ball in his left arm after his
first score. He flapped his arms after the last one, then took a
few bows on the sideline while fans chanted, "T.O."
"This is what I expected. This is why I lobbied to get here,"
Owens said. "I'm loving it."
Owens, acquired in a three-team trade with the 49ers and
Baltimore in March, finished with eight catches for 68 yards,
including TDs of 20, 3 and 12 yards.
After the Giants took a 7-0 lead on Ron Dayne's 3-yard run early
in the first quarter, the Eagles came right back.
Westbrook ran 50 yards to New York's 21. Two plays later, McNabb
dropped back, pump-faked and lofted a pass into the right corner
over cornerback Will Allen and safety Shaun Williams into Owens'
McNabb's 3-yard TD pass to Owens made it 14-7. The play was
He was chased out of the pocket by Michael Strahan, scrambled
toward the right sideline, stutter-stepped near the 10, kept
rolling and threw across his body just before stepping out of
"For a guy who has the ability to run like he does, he has a
knack for keeping his eyes open downfield," Reid said.
A 53-yard pass from McNabb to Todd Pinkston on a third-and-10
put the Eagles at New York's 3, setting up the score.
L.J. Smith made a tumbling catch in the right corner of the end
zone on a 14-yard pass from McNabb to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead
in the second quarter.
McNabb and Owens connected on a 12-yarder, giving Philadelphia a
31-10 lead in the third quarter.
Warner, who led St. Louis to a Super Bowl victory in 1999, has
lost his last nine starts, including to the New England Patriots in
the 2001 Super Bowl.
Released by the Rams in June after losing his job to Marc
Bulger, Warner is keeping the position warm for Manning. Warner
finished 16-of-28 for 203 yards and was sacked four times. Barber
had 125 yards rushing on nine carries. Manning was 3-of-9 for 66
yards, and fumbled after being hit hard on the final play.
"I thought we made progress," Warner said. "But it's never
good enough if you don't win."
The victory was costly for the Eagles. Rookie offensive guard
Shawn Andrews, the 16th overall pick in the draft, will miss the
rest of the season after breaking his right leg. Philadelphia
already lost defensive end N.D. Kalu and running back Correll
Buckhalter to season-ending injuries in the preseason.
The Giants were 4-4 at the midpoint last year, before losing
their last eight games, costing coach Jim Fassel his job.
Giants Pro Bowl TE Jeremy Shockey, who sat out all four
preseason games with an injured foot and hamstring problem, had two
catches for 39 yards. ... Weak side LB Nate Wayne sat out with a
hamstring injury for Philadelphia. Keith Adams started in his
place. ... Westbrook went over 100 yards rushing for the first time
in his three seasons.
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