“Whatever happened in the past, hopefully it’s over,” McNabb said of his well-publicized feud with Owens this summer.
Wearing extra padding to protect his injured chest, McNabb finished 23-of-29 for 342 yards and tied his career-best for TD passes while playing three quarters. Owens had five catches for 143 yards—all in the opening 19 minutes — in his first game against his former team.
L.J. Smith caught a career-best nine passes for 119 yards and one TD for Philadelphia (1-1).
“Don was looking for all his receivers,” Smith said. “He wasn’t keying on one person. Sometimes, I was the third read and still got the ball. The tight end is vital in this offense.”
Alex Smith, the top pick in the NFL draft, made his debut for San Francisco, playing the last series and throwing one incomplete pass.
“We don’t have any excuses. We didn’t play very well,” 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. “We’ll correct our mistakes. We’ll learn from them.”
Six days after losing to Atlanta 14-10 in a rematch of last season’s NFC championship game, the Eagles dominated the 49ers (1-1) from the start.
McNabb and Owens connected for a 68-yard TD on the third play from scrimmage, electrifying a sellout crowd at Lincoln Financial Field that hadn’t seen a meaningful game since the Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl.
McNabb, who missed practice Wednesday because of a bruised chest, eluded a strong rush, scrambled to his left, and threw on the run, hitting Owens in stride at San Francisco’s 41. Owens outran cornerback Mike Adams to the end zone, turned around and raced straight toward McNabb. The two stars, who weren’t on speaking terms in the preseason, low-fived each other and went to the sideline smiling.
“When we’re in the field and everything is clicking, everyone is smiling,” McNabb said.
McNabb’s 42-yard TD pass to Owens early in the second quarter made it 21-0. This time, Owens stood in the end zone, stared into the stands and nodded his head before giving the ball to McNabb. The catch put Owens over 10,000 yards receiving, making him the 22nd player in NFL history to reach that mark.
Third-string tight end Mike Bartrum kicked off, but Akers returned to make the rest of the kicks.
A week after beating St. Louis, the 49ers were completely overmatched against the Eagles. They had just 62 total yards in the first half and 142 overall, while Philadelphia racked up a team-record 583 yards.
The extra motivation of playing against Owens couldn’t help San Francisco. Linebacker Derek Smith, who had harsh words for Owens earlier in the week, wasn’t a factor. Safety Mike Rumph delivered a crushing hit on Owens after a 20-yard catch in the first quarter, but Owens got right up.
“He didn’t let all of that bother him,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said of Owens. “I’m sure everybody has their opinion on him on that team. Some guys like him and some don’t, but he goes through that every week. Guys taunt him, but he doesn’t get into that.”
Smith stood by his criticism of Owens.
“I said he was a premier player, but I wouldn’t take him on our team, even after his performance today,” Smith said. ^Notes: McNabb’s other five-TD game was in a 47-17 victory over Green Bay last Dec. 5. … The Eagles had 582 yards against Cleveland on Nov. 7, 1965. … Backup QB Koy Detmer completed all nine of his passes for 94 yards. … Rattay was 13-for-26 for 107 yards and three interceptions. … RB Lamar Gordon scored his first TD for the Eagles on a 6-yard run in the fourth.