Pair of 42-yard field goals wins it for Eagles
Updated: Monday November 13, 2000 8:58 AM
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- For three quarters, Donovan McNabb looked like a quarterback trying to play his way out of the job. After that, he looked like John Elway.
McNabb rallied the Eagles from 10 points down with less than three minutes remaining Sunday and to an improbable 26-23 overtime victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers decided by David Akers' two late field goals.
Akers kicked a winning 42-yard field goal 4:16 into the overtime after tying it with a hurried 42-yarder on the final play of regulation following an onside kick recovery.
The Steelers (5-5), losing their second consecutive after winning five in a row, never got the ball in overtime as the Eagles won the coin toss and McNabb drove them 39 yards for Akers' fourth and decisive field goal.
"To come into a place like this, come back from 10 points down and win in overtime says a lot about this team," defensive tackle Corey Simon said. "We're still trying to sneak up on people, but this is a pretty good team."
The Eagles (7-4), winning their sixth in eight games, were down 23-13 after Kris Brown's 40-yard field goal with 3:42 remaining and hadn't moved the ball consistently all day. McNabb passed for only 213 yards despite attempting 55 passes.
"But Donovan kept telling us, 'Stay with it, we'll make something happen,'" wide receiver Charles Johnson said. "He wasn't panicking, he didn't have any big eyes or anything."
Philadelphia got to 23-20 on a 57-yard drive finished by McNabb's 13-yard pass to Brian Mitchell with 2:29 remaining, the fourth way Mitchell has scored this season.
"I couldn't get in sync for a long time, but I did finally at the start of the fourth quarter and things started to roll," McNabb said. "I had to keep my head up and be a leader."
Tim Hauck then recovered a high-bounding onside kick to give the Eagles the chance to send the game into overtime.
"I didn't even have time to take a deep breath," Akers said of his tying field goal. "But once I got out there, it was just automatic motor movement."
The Steelers lost even though Jerome Bettis ran for 134 yards and a 7-yard touchdown.
"You have it right there, you go to grab it and hold it and it just falls through your fingers," Steelers head coach Bill Cowher said.
So ineffective were the offenses until the frantic finish that the pass interference penalty was the major offensive weapon for both teams. A 7-yard pass interference call on Troy Vincent led to Bettis' touchdown, which made it 13-13.
The Steelers were penalized 13 times for 141 yards, the Eagles nine times for 61 yards.
"It was the first time that I got up after every play looking for a flag," Steelers safety Lee Flowers said. "It got to the point where we should have left Philadelphia and the refs on the field."
Flowers inadvertently fired up the Eagles by revealing Cowher's challenge to the Steelers to win their final seven games.
"They said a lot of things last week about how they were going to run the table, and that meant a lot to us," Eagles tight end Chad Lewis said.
The Steelers were penalized three times for 53 yards to account for most of the yardage on a 78-yard drive finished by McNabb's 2-yard scoring toss to Jeff Thomason in the second quarter -- the first touchdown against the Pittsburgh defense in 21 quarters. Cornerback Chad Scott was penalized twice for 38 yards for pass interference.
Notes: The Steelers' streak was the NFL's longest since the 1976 Steelers went 22 quarters without allowing a touchdown. ... Mitchell, who set the NFL record for career kickoff return yardage with a 32-yarder in the second quarter, has scored on a touchdown reception, an 85-yard run, a 72-yard punt return and an 89-yard kickoff return this season. ... Mitchell had six kickoff returns for 134 yards, giving him 10,371 yards for his career. Mel Gray held the record of 10,250. ... Of the Steelers' five losses, four are by three points or fewer, including last week's 9-7 to the Titans in the last minute. ... Philadelphia has allowed 541 yards rushing the last three games. ... Pittsburgh's offense has scored one touchdown in each of the last five games.