Originally created 09/22/04

Minnesota controls clock, but score doesn't show it



PHILADELPHIA - Donovan McNabb moonwalked, Terrell Owens slam-dunked and the Philadelphia Eagles' defense kept Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss from strutting their best stuff.

McNabb threw a touchdown pass to Owens and ran for another score, leading the Eagles over the Minnesota Vikings 27-16 on Monday night.

The Vikings hogged the ball for nearly 38 minutes, but were hurt by miscues and crucial penalties.

"Our defense did an excellent job keeping them out of the end zone," McNabb said. "When we had our opportunities, we took full advantage by putting points on the board."

Though the teams combined for 727 yards and punted only twice, this wasn't the offensive shootout many expected. McNabb outplayed Culpepper, who hurt his team badly with a fumble inside the Philadelphia 1.

"I thought the ball might have crossed the plane," Culpepper said. "I thought my body was in there."

The Eagles' 2-0 start at home is a switch from last season, when they lost the first two games at their new stadium.

"A lot of us learned from the mistakes of last year, and the experience of being in that position helped us a lot and how we got out of that hole," McNabb said.

The Vikings (1-1) have lost 17 of their past 18 outdoor regular-season games. They might have stayed unbeaten if Culpepper and Moss connected more when the game counted. Minnesota gained 410 yards, but got only one touchdown, Moss' 4-yarder late in the game.

"I kept coming to the sideline telling Coach, 'I see fear in their eyes. Let's keep attacking,'" Moss said. "I think I was more frustrated because we kept driving, driving, driving. We put yards on the scoreboard, but we didn't put up the points."

Moss finished with eight catches for 69 yards, while Owens had four receptions for 79 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown that put the game out of reach.

"They can say he's the best, but I'm the best for the Eagles," Owens said of Moss, who sparked a verbal war between the loquacious pair last week.

Owens, who had three touchdown receptions in his Eagles debut last week, celebrated his score with an impressive dunk over the crossbar, sparking a huge roar from the crowd.

Before his touchdown catch, Moss' costly pass-interference penalty was his most noteworthy play. The Vikings kept bogging down in or near the red zone, in part because Moss was blanketed by Lito Sheppard or Sheldon Brown, and Culpepper was sacked four times.

Culpepper finished 37-for-47 for 343 yards.

"It's not a foregone conclusion you're going to score when you're in the red zone," said Eagles' safety Brian Dawkins, who stopped Culpepper at the 1 and later recovered the quarterback's fumble at the goal line.

Morten Andersen, at 44 the NFL's oldest player, appeared in his 340th game, tying George Blanda's record. The 23-year veteran's left leg looked plenty strong as he made three field goals, but was short on a 44-yarder with 9:14 remaining.

Brian Westbrook gained 44 of the Eagles' 72 yards in their march to a 7-3 lead on their first series. L.J. Smith beat rookie linebacker Dontarrious Thomas over the middle for an 11-yard touchdown catch.

Minnesota didn't flinch, driving 65 yards in 14 plays before flopping on three runs from the Philadelphia 2. Dawkins' hard hit on Culpepper's third-down draw stopped him short of the end zone, and Andersen added a 19-yard field goal. Culpepper outweighs Dawkins by 54 pounds.

Philadelphia scored again on David Akers' 37-yard field goal. He also had a 47-yarder with 1:11 to go.

Dawkins' fumble recovery after Nate Wayne stripped the ball from Culpepper near the goal line finished the wide-open first half at 10-6.

"Whether it be the fumble, or penalties or missed assignments, that's football," Culpepper said.