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(Sunday, October 11th)
Final Score: Philadelphia 33, Tampa Bay 14
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Donovan McNabb returned to the Eagles' lineup and threw for 264 yards and three scores, as Philadelphia took a 33-14 victory over Tampa Bay, keeping the Buccaneers winless.
McNabb had missed the last two games with a cracked rib suffered in the Eagles' season-opening win over Carolina. Philadelphia had a bye last week to allow McNabb to further heal, and he returned Sunday to lead the Eagles' explosive offense.
McNabb completed 16-of-21 throws, including touchdowns of 51 and 40 yards to rookie Jeremy Maclin, who finished with six catches for 142 yards. Brian Westbrook had a rushing score and Leonard Weaver caught a touchdown pass for the Eagles (3-1), who have won two in a row.
"I feel pretty good," McNabb said. "It's always good to get that first hit and shake it off. The offensive line did an excellent job today."
The victory is the 100th regular season win in the coaching career of Philadelphia's Andy Reid, who took over in 1999 -- the same year McNabb made his debut after being selected second overall in the NFL draft.
"A hundred is better than none I guess," Reid said. "I think it's more important we played well and Donovan looked healthy. This was an important win for us."
Josh Johnson got his second start for the Buccaneers and completed 26-of-50 passes for 240 yards and a pair of scores to tight end Kellen Winslow, but was also intercepted three times.
Winslow ended with nine catches for 102 yards for Tampa Bay (0-5), which last began the season with five losses in 1996, when the Bucs went 6-10.
The Bucs went three-and-out on their first drive, and the Eagles took over at their own 36-yard-line. McNabb ran for 13 yards before connecting with Maclin down the left side of the field for a 51-yard score.
Tampa Bay squandered some early scoring opportunities, including a series in the middle of the first quarter that started at the Philadelphia 34. But the Bucs turned the ball over on downs, as Johnson's pass on 4th-and-2 fell incomplete.
In the second quarter, the Bucs got to the Eagles' 23, but on 4th-and-1, Johnson lost the ball. Akeem Jordan ripped it away and ran the distance into the end zone, but the fumble ruling was overturned after a Tampa challenge.
Regardless, the Eagles got possession because of downs, and marched 76 yards in six plays for another TD. McNabb hooked up with Brent Celek for a 38-yard gain to bring the ball across midfield, and he capped the drive with a 20-yard catch-and-run to the fullback Weaver, who rumbled into the left corner of the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
Tampa Bay responded with a scoring drive, in which Johnson had passing gains of 31, 24 and 11 yards to get to the Philadelphia nine. Johnson ended the series with a pass to the back of the end zone for Winslow, who made the catch before stepping out of bounds. Coming with 1:55 left in the half, the score was reviewed by the booth and upheld.
But the Eagles struck again before the intermission, as on the second play of the ensuing drive, McNabb aired a pass down the center of the field. Maclin adjusted to make the catch at his hips as he crossed the goal line with 1:34 on the clock.
The Bucs drove to the Philadelphia eight, looking to score before the break, but Asante Samuel picked off Johnson in the end zone to keep the Eagles' lead at 21-7 at the intermission.
The Eagles increased their advantage almost midway through the third quarter, after Samuel picked off Johnson in Tampa Bay territory. His interception and return set Philadelphia up at the 27, and McNabb passed to Westbrook for 20 yards before Westbrook ran it in himself.
The Bucs had another scoring chance on the next drive, reaching the Eagles' 12, but Sheldon Brown recorded a pick. That led to a 44-yard field goal by David Akers nearly three minutes into the fourth quarter.
"Three turnovers, two of them in the red zone," a disappointed Johnson said. "A lot of it was credit to what they were doing. They were bringing everybody...they were bringing more than what we had in protection."
Johnson's nine-yard TD pass to Winslow on the ensuing drive got the Bucs within 31-14. They tried an onside kick and recovered, but had to punt, and the Eagles held on from there, adding a safety in the final minute.
Samuel left in the fourth quarter with a strained calf...The touchdowns were the first of Maclin's career...The Eagles are 11-0 under Reid when coming off a bye. Reid is fourth among active coaches in wins, behind the Patriots' Bill Belichick, the Titans' Jeff Fisher and the Giants' Tom Coughlin...Johnson had 40 rushing yards to lead the Bucs, while Antonio Bryant finished with five catches for 62 yards...Eagles quarterback Michael Vick entered for McNabb in the fourth quarter. He completed one pass, and also finished the game with four runs for 10 yards...Philadelphia linebacker Jeremiah Trotter played in his first game since signing a one-year contract last month. He had two prior stints with the Eagles and last played in the NFL in 2007, with Tampa.
10/11 18:33:39 ET
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