PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The Philadelphia Eagles’ stale offense needed a couple tweaks to get going. A lucky break and some fresh ideas did the trick.
Donovan McNabb threw an 84-yard touchdown pass to Donte’ Stallworth, Sheldon Brown returned an interception 70 yards for a score and the Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak with a 27-3 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
Coach Andy Reid turned over playcalling duties to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg after a 13-6 home loss to Jacksonville. The result was a balanced attack featuring more runs than passes for the first time this season.
“We were in a rut offensively and I was calling the plays,” Reid said. “I told you it starts with me, so, take a close look at yourself and you move on.”
It was a costly loss for the Redskins, who lost Clinton Portis to a broken right hand in the first quarter. It wasn’t immediately known how long Washington (3-6) would be without its star running back. Coach Joe Gibbs said Portis may require surgery.
The Eagles (5-4) improved to 8-0 following a bye under Reid while earning their first win since beating Dallas 38-24 in Terrell Owens’ return to Philadelphia on Oct. 8.
McNabb completed 12 of 26 passes for 222 yards. Stallworth had six catches for 139 yards and Brian Westbrook ran for 113 yards.
Philadelphia struggled with bad breaks in its recent losses, including a 23-21 loss at Tampa Bay after Matt Bryant kicked a 62-yard field goal to win it as time expired.
But the Eagles got a favorable bounce of their own to take a 17-0 lead in the second quarter. On third-and-15 from the Eagles 45, McNabb completed a 20-yard pass to Reggie Brown near the right sideline. Brown appeared to try to lateral the ball as he was being hit by Shawn Springs, but he actually fumbled.
The ball popped straight into the arms of a streaking Correll Buckhalter, who caught it and sprinted 37 yards down the sideline for his first TD since 2003.
“It was a hook-and-lateral all the way. I’m sticking to my story,” Brown said with a smile before admitting he lost control of the ball. “I guess I didn’t have it secure.”
On Washington’s first possession in the third quarter, Sheldon Brown stepped in front of Mark Brunell’s pass to Santana Moss, made the pick and ran untouched the other way to give the Eagles a 27-3 lead.
Philly’s defense kept the Redskins out of the end zone in a solid all-around effort. Ladell Betts had 83 yards rushing filling in for the injured Portis.
“We need to take a long, hard look at everything,” Gibbs said.
The Eagles, who scored a total of 3 points in the first half of their last three games, matched that on the first drive when David Akers kicked a 37-yard field goal.
McNabb’s long TD pass to Stallworth made it 10-0. Stallworth, who missed four games with a hamstring injury, blew past safety Sean Taylor, caught McNabb’s pass in stride and raced into the end zone for his longest career catch.
The Redskins drove past midfield on their first three possessions, but punted twice and Nick Novak missed a 48-yard field goal.
With Reid calling plays, the Eagles have always relied heavily on the pass. But Mornhinweg called 30 runs and 29 passes, including two that turned into scrambles by McNabb.
“We were able to establish a run game,” said McNabb, who also had more input in the plays, particularly in the no-huddle offense.
Brunell finished 16-of-31 for 132 yards and one interception.
“The conditions were the same for both teams,” he said. “They clearly were more effective.”
^Notes: Moss, who missed last week’s game with a strained left hamstring, had 3 catches for 17 yards. …. The Eagles are 14-4 after a bye since it was instituted in 1990. … Buckhalter’s last TD came against Washington on Dec. 27, 2003. He missed the next two seasons with knee injuries before returning this year. … Redskins SS Troy Vincent played his first game in Philly since leaving the Eagles after the 2003 season.