Eagles Final Drive Beats Packers 17-14
Nov. 11, 2003
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ Donovan McNabb threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Todd Pinkston with 27 seconds left to give the Philadelphia Eagles a 17-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers on a rainy Monday night.
The Eagles (6-3) stayed one game behind Dallas in the NFC East and the Packers (4-5) blew their shot at closing within a game of slumping Minnesota in the NFC North.
``It surely wasn't pretty. I would imagine Mike Sherman would say the same thing,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said of his counterpart. ``But we overcame the adversity. In the fourth quarter, it was great leadership by Donovan. In that last drive he really put it together.''
Pinkston caught his first touchdown pass of the season when he beat cornerback Bhawoh Jue off the line and got free in the left side of the end zone. Jue had replaced starter Al Harris, who was bothered by cramps.
``We just came together at the end,'' McNabb said. ``What we showed tonight is why we're a winning team. Never count us out. It's an exciting season right now.''
The Eagles have won four straight games in which they trailed at halftime.
``I have a feeling that's the way it's going to be,'' Reid said. ``This team, they're fighters. I'll take them any way I can get them.''
Philadelphia started the winning drive at its 35 with 2:42 remaining and McNabb completed passes of 11 yards to Duce Staley and 20 yards to Chad Lewis.
The Packers drove to midfield with eight seconds left when Brett Favre, playing with a broken right thumb, fumbled for the third time, sealing Green Bay's third home loss of the season.
Ahman Green rushed for a team-record 192 yards and scored on a 45-yard run and a 24-yard screen pass. But he fumbled two more times, giving him an NFL-leading seven.
His 45-yard TD on fourth-and-1 with seven minutes left gave Green Bay a 14-10 lead. It came after the Eagles had taken their first lead at 10-7 on McNabb's 1-yard run with 9:32 left in the fourth quarter.
McNabb set up his first rushing touchdown of the season with a 51-yard pass to James Thrash when defensive back Mike McKenzie slipped on the soaked grass.
Favre said last week he's having so much fun running Green Bay's turbocharged offense that he's leaning toward returning next season rather than retiring.
But he had a miserable Monday night.
He was 14-of-22 for 109 yards with one TD, one interception and three fumbles, two of which he lost, including the final one, which was recovered by defensive tackle Darwin Walker.
The Packers fumbled six times, losing two. The Eagles didn't put the ball on the ground once.
``The balls were very, very slick,'' Sherman said. ``It seemed to affect us more than it did them, however, which concerns me.''
Sherman said Favre didn't think his broken thumb was a factor. ``But it's naive of us to think it didn't play any role,'' Sherman said.
Favre said: ``For whatever reason, the ball came out of my hands three times.''
Green and Favre each fumbled twice in the first half before hooking up on a 24-yard touchdown on a screen pass for a 7-0 halftime lead.
Thrash returned the second-half kickoff 33 yards and Philadelphia went 52 yards in 10 plays for John Akers' 21-yard field goal that made it 7-3.
Akers missed from 47 yards in the first half, when the Eagles gained just 68 yards.
Green Bay's Ryan Longwell came up just short on a 45-yard field goal attempt _ his first miss of the season _ after Green lost five yards on a questionable play call in which Favre handed the ball to his running back on a delayed draw on third-and-6 from the Eagles 22.
Just when it appeared there would be a scoreless first half at Lambeau Field for the first time since Oct. 26, 1980 _ and only the second time ever _ Favre found Green on the right side with three blitzers bearing down on him.
Green zigzagged his way into the end zone with 40 seconds left in the second quarter, becoming the first running back in team history to catch a TD pass in four straight games.
The Packers were driving earlier in the quarter when Eagles linebacker Nate Wayne, who always had big games on Monday night for the Packers, made a one-handed interception of a pass by Favre one play after he sacked his former teammate.
He returned it 33 yards to the Green Bay 34, but Akers was wide right on a line-drive 47-yard field goal attempt five minutes before halftime.
``We're not out of it, but we are digging a hole,'' Favre said. ``We're running out of games.''
Notes: Green surpassed Dorsey Levens' record of 190 yards rushing set against Dallas on Nov. 23, 1997. ... NASCAR Winston Cup winner Matt Kenseth, a native of Cambridge, Wis., exchanged helmets with Favre on the field before the game.