McNabb, Eagles thump Detroit in matchup of unbeatens
Updated: Sunday September 26, 2004 8:42PM
DETROIT (AP) -- After falling a game short of the Super Bowl the past three years, the Philadelphia Eagles seem to have the swagger and talent they've been missing.
Donovan McNabb threw for 356 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score, Terrell Owens caught six passes for 107 yards and a TD and Jevon Kearse had three sacks to lead Philadelphia to a 30-13 win over the Detroit Lions.
In a game between unbeatens, the Eagles made a resounding statement.
And with a championship-or-bust mentality, Philadelphia is not satisfied with its first 3-0 start since 1993.
"We haven't played our best -- and that's exciting," McNabb said.
Rookie receiver Roy Williams had nine receptions for 135 yards and two TDs -- for the second straight week -- for the Lions, who had a chance to go 3-0 for the first time since 1980.
Other than games to avoid or end futility records, the Lions played in their biggest matchup since the 2000 finale, when they lost to Chicago and fell to 9-7 and out of the playoffs. That setback led to the hiring of president and general manager Matt Millen and coach Marty Mornhinweg, now Philadelphia's assistant head coach.
"Now our guys can see what a championship-caliber team is like," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said. "We've got a ways to go."
McNabb frustrated Detroit early and often.
Midway through the first quarter, he slipped a sack and moved around the pocket long enough to find a wide-open L.J. Smith to convert a third down. The electric play, which McNabb made look routine, was merely a preview.
"When you make a play like that, it throws a defense off," McNabb said.
McNabb's jaw-dropping play kept an 88-yard drive going. It ended with his 1-yard sneak, giving Philadelphia a 7-0 lead. His 29-yard pass to Owens and 1-yard pass to Mike Bartrum put the Eagles ahead 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
"They got out on us early, which was our worst-case scenario," Mariucci said.
Detroit crossed the 50 for the first time with 52 seconds left in the first half on Williams' 18-yard catch.
Then Joey Harrington went to Williams on three straight plays, including a 12-yard TD. Williams caught four passes for 63 yards on the 64-yard drive that gave Detroit a glimmer of hope.
David Akers put the Lions away with field goals on the Eagles' first two possessions in the second half, and added another field goal early in the fourth quarter.
"We were able to start fast, but we didn't finish as fast as I'd like," Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said.
Williams added to his highlight reel with a spinning, tackle-breaking 29-yard TD midway through the fourth period, but Detroit trailed 30-13 after a missed 2-point conversion.
"Roy was a bright spot," Mariucci said. "He was terrific after the catch on several occasions, but we didn't get any big plays other than Roy's."
Harrington was 21-of-38 for 199 yards with two TDs.
McNabb's sixth NFL season is looking like it might be his best.
He fell just 34 yards short of his career high, a 390-yard game in 2000 against Cleveland, and surpassed his 330-yard performance in this year's opening win over the Giants.
McNabb has completed 69.8 percent of his passes for 931 yards with eight TDs and run for two scores without throwing an interception through three games.
"He's taken that next step to become a great quarterback," Detroit cornerback Fernando Bryant said. "He's one of the two or three best in the game right now."
McNabb proved he is human, however, because he lost a fumble against the Lions. He also became a dad this week, a fact that made it a little tough to leave home.
"It was hard, but she has to eat, so I've got to feed her," McNabb said with a smile.
The McNabb-led passing attack negated a lackluster day on the ground for Brian Westbrook, who ran for just 44 yards on 13 carries.
Injuries hurt Detroit in the first quarter, when running back Kevin Jones (right ankle) and fullback Cory Schlesinger (hamstring) were sidelined. Shawn Bryson ran for 43 yards and Artose Pinner added just 16 yards rushing.
Notes: Philadelphia's Jon Ritchie (knee), Jermane Mayberry (torn biceps) and Smith (shoulder) will be examined on Monday. ... Detroit reserve CB Rod Babers broke his collarbone. ... Lions RT Stockar McDougle often went against his brother, DE Jerome McDougle. ... Over the past three-plus years, Philadelphia has won 38 games and Detroit has lost 39. ... In 1993, the Eagles won their first four games.