PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Donovan McNabb’s passing is just fine. His dance moves need work.
New Orleans’ Deuce McAllister had 184 yards rushing, including TD runs of 76 and 22 yards, for his eighth straight game with more than 100 yards. Aaron Brooks threw for 287 yards for the Saints, who had won four of five.
McNabb, the NFL’s worst-rated passer through six games, has been outstanding in the last five games, completing 93 of 142 passes (65.5 percent) for 1,224 yards and six TDs.
His 2-yard TD toss to Jon Ritchie in the fourth quarter gave the Eagles a 33-14 lead. McNabb ran toward Philadelphia’s sideline after the pass, threw his arms in the air and kicked his right leg out. The silly gyration didn’t seem as though it’ll catch on.
“That was for Michael Jackson,” McNabb said. “We have a lot fun during the week.”
The Eagles (8-3) have won eight of nine after starting the season with consecutive losses at home. The two-time NFC East champions are tied with Dallas for first place. They’ll play the Cowboys in Philadelphia on Dec. 7.
“The first two games were abominations,” Ritchie said. “We did a terrible job as a team. We didn’t have to do anything to respond other than work harder.”
Desperate to stay in the playoff race, New Orleans (5-6) committed three key turnovers, including one in Philadelphia’s end zone in the first quarter.
After a 23-yard screen pass from Brooks to McAllister put the ball at Philadelphia’s 1, McAllister was stopped on first down, even though the head linesman originally ruled he scored. On second down, Brooks fumbled before handing off to McAllister, and Troy Vincent recovered in the end zone for a touchback for the Eagles.
One play after McNabb scrambled 34 yards to the Saints 15, Brian Westbrook ran 15 yards for a TD to give the Eagles a 10-0 lead.
“The turnovers beat us,” Saints coach Jim Haslett said.
The Saints, who rallied from a 20-3 first-half deficit to beat Atlanta 23-20 in overtime last week, trailed 17-0 late in the second quarter. A 6-yard TD pass from Brooks to Boo Williams cut Philadelphia’s lead to 17-7, but David Akers kicked his second of four field goals to make it 20-7 at halftime.
After the Saints turned the ball over for the third time on the opening possession of the third quarter, Akers hit another field goal to give the Eagles a 23-7 lead.
“It’s frustrating,” Brooks said. “We just have to keep playing as hard as we can.”
On the Saints’ next play, McAllister burst up the middle and ran 76 yards for his longest career TD. A penalty nullified New Orleans’ successful 2-point conversion and the Saints settled for an extra point that cut Philadelphia’s lead to 23-14.
McAllister had 173 yards rushing and a franchise-record 237 all-purpose yards against the Falcons last week. He has rushed for more than 100 yards a league-best 16 times since the start of last season.
“We moved the ball effectively, but had too many turnovers,” McAllister said.
Correll Buckhalter’s 1-yard TD run gave the Eagles a 17-0 lead with 2:38 left in the second quarter. The Eagles got the ball at midfield after Nate Wayne sacked Brooks, forcing a fumble that was recovered by N.D. Kalu.
Akers had field goals of 36, 41, 42 and 33 yards. ^Notes: McNabb hasn’t thrown an interception in his last 124 attempts, spanning four games. … The Eagles were without All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins (foot) and Pro Bowl cornerback Bobby Taylor (foot). … Pinkston’s 48-yard catch on the game’s first play was his only reception and gave him more yards than he had in all but one game this season. … McNabb’s first pass gave him 13 consecutive completions going back to last week’s game against the Giants, tying Bobby Hoying’s team record. … Saints CB Dale Carter left the game with a right quad injury in the first quarter and didn’t return. WR/KR Michael Lewis left with a sprained right ankle in the third quarter and also didn’t come back. … Westbrook has nine TDs (six rushing, two receiving and one punt return), mostby an Eagles player since RB Ricky Watters had 13 in 1996.