Eagles D Dominates 49ers

Yet another loss at Candlestick

When Donovan McNabb trudged off the field after throwing an interception with the Eagles down by nine and just 15½ minutes to play, coach Andy Reid knew his quarterback would do the right thing.

They've been together in Philadelphia for 10 seasons and 76 victories, through postseason heights and losing lows. McNabb and Reid have survived far bigger calamities than one interception, or even the touchdown return on a blocked field goal that briefly enlivened the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

"He stayed upbeat. That's when leaders lead," Reid said. "When something negative happens, don't hang your head. Just let everybody know that it's not going to happen again, and we're going to score. That's how you approach it."

McNabb's approach worked for the 76th time -- although it definitely helped to have a dominant defense to cover for an injury-riddled offense in Philadelphia's 40-26 victory.

McNabb passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns without his top two receivers and his best running back, and the Eagles' aggressive defenders forced three turnovers during a 23-point fourth quarter. A few days after McNabb called a team meeting, the Eagles (3-3) avoided falling further out of the NFC East race with an overwhelming comeback to snap a two-game skid.

The defense did most of the second-half work, holding San Francisco to minus-2 yards in the fourth quarter, but McNabb ran the show while moving past Ron Jaworski on the Eagles' career list for yards passing and pass attempts.

"Anything I receive individually is a tribute not only to this team, (but) to the big guy that drafted me in '99," McNabb said. "(He) has that confidence in me to have me here for 10 years, and knowing that when the ball is in my hands, he feels good about things happening."

McNabb and Reid have won more games together than Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, but the Eagles' duo was in trouble at Candlestick Park after San Francisco's Donald Strickland returned a blocked field goal 41 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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