PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Donovan McNabb silenced his critics. Jim Fassel gave his detractors more reasons to complain.
McNabb threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns, and Brian Westbrook caught two TD passes and ran for a score, leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their fifth straight victory, 28-10 over the New York Giants on Sunday.
“From where we were after two games, everybody burning us up and trying to get us out of town, to where we are now is pretty exciting,” McNabb said.
The two-time NFC East champion Eagles (7-3) have won seven of eight after opening the season with two losses at home. The Giants (4-6) have lost two in a row, including an embarrassing 27-7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week that left fans chanting “Fire Fassel.”
“We’re not playing well. I’m responsible,” Fassel said. “We can’t seem to overcome some things.”
McNabb, heavily criticized for his poor performance in the first six games, completed 24 of 30 passes for his fourth straight solid effort and fifth career 300-yard performance.
Tiki Barber had 111 yards rushing and no fumbles, but failed to get in the end zone on a crucial fourth-and-goal at Philadelphia’s 1 late in the second quarter.
The Giants came into the season with high expectations after riding a high-powered offense to the playoffs last year. But consecutive losses have dampened their playoff hopes and put Fassel’s job in jeopardy.
Fassel’s play-calling certainly will be questioned after this loss.
After Barber ran 13 yards to the Eagles 1, the Giants couldn’t get in. Dorsey Levens ran for no gain on first down, Collins threw an incomplete pass and Levens again ran for no gain.
“There was nowhere to go,” Barber said. “If we cut the edge, it would’ve worked.”
The Giants took the second-half kickoff and drove to the Eagles 30, but stalled. After a punt pinned the Eagles at their 5, McNabb drove them down the field in eight plays.
A 37-yard catch by Freddie Mitchell set up Westbrook’s 4-yard TD run, giving the Eagles a 21-3 lead.
“Donovan did a nice job,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “He spread the ball around, hit nine different receivers and seemed very productive.”
Collins connected with Barber on a 10-yard TD pass to cut it to 21-10 early in the fourth. But McNabb threw a 5-yard TD pass to Westbrook to ice it with 5:26 left.
The Giants thoroughly dominated the Eagles a month ago, but Westbrook returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown with 1:16 left to give Philadelphia a 17-14 victory. The Eagles haven’t lost since.
“It’s great that we finally came together offensively,” said wide receiver James Thrash, who had six catches for 48 yards. “We’ve had one good quarter, two good quarters. This time we did it the whole game.”
Playing without All-Pro tight end Jeremy Shockey (knee), the Giants’ offense racked up 361 yards, but only one TD.
A 29-yard pass from McNabb to Westbrook gave the Eagles a 14-3 lead with 3:36 left in the first half. The Eagles needed just three plays to go 73 yards. Duce Staley got 38 yards on a catch-and-run, setting up the TD pass to Westbrook.
“We better right the ship pretty quick, but we’re still not out of it,”Collins said.
The Eagles wore black jerseys for the first time in team history. … Dawkins returned to Philadelphia’s lineup for the first time since injuring his foot in the season opener. … The Eagles were without Pro Bowl CB Bobby Taylor (foot) for the fourth straight game. Taylor has played just two games this season. G John Welbourn (knee) also sat out, giving second-year pro Artis Hicks his first career start. … The Giants didn’t have DE Kenny Holmes (knee) and CB Ralph Brown (shoulder) along with Shockey. WR Ike Hilliard (knee, ankle) didn’t start, but came in after his replacement, Tim Carter, left the game witha concussion.