Final

Eagles 40

(3-3, 1-2 away)

49ers 26

(2-4, 1-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:15 PM ET, October 12, 2008

Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 7 10 0 2340
SF 6 10 10 026

Top Performers

Passing: D. McNabb (PHI) - 280 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: F. Gore (SF) - 19 CAR, 101 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Jackson (PHI) - 6 REC, 98 YDS

Eagles' defense frustrates 49ers in fourth quarter on way to victory

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Donovan McNabb trudged off the field after throwing an interception with the Eagles down by nine and just 15½ minutes to play, coach Andy Reid knew his quarterback would do the right thing.

They've been together in Philadelphia for 10 seasons and 76 victories, through postseason heights and losing lows. McNabb and Reid have survived far bigger calamities than one interception, or even the touchdown return on a blocked field goal that briefly enlivened the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Fast Facts

• Juqua Parker returned a J.T. O'Sullivan interception for a touchdown, his first career TD.

• Frank Gore had his 14th career 100-yard rushing game in the loss, his second this season.

• The Eagles won for the first time on the road this season.

• Philadelphia has now won four of five against the 49ers; Mike Nolan is 0-3 against the Eagles.

-- ESPN research

"He stayed upbeat. That's when leaders lead," Reid said. "When something negative happens, don't hang your head. Just let everybody know that it's not going to happen again, and we're going to score. That's how you approach it."

McNabb's approach worked for the 76th time -- although it definitely helped to have a dominant defense to cover for an injury-riddled offense in Philadelphia's 40-26 victory.

McNabb passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns without his top two receivers and his best running back, and the Eagles' aggressive defenders forced three turnovers during a 23-point fourth quarter. A few days after McNabb called a team meeting, the Eagles (3-3) avoided falling further out of the NFC East race with an overwhelming comeback to snap a two-game skid.

The defense did most of the second-half work, holding San Francisco to minus-2 yards in the fourth quarter, but McNabb ran the show while moving past Ron Jaworski on the Eagles' career list for yards passing and pass attempts.

"Anything I receive individually is a tribute not only to this team, [but] to the big guy that drafted me in '99," McNabb said. "[He] has that confidence in me to have me here for 10 years, and knowing that when the ball is in my hands, he feels good about things happening."

McNabb and Reid have won more games together than Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, but the Eagles' duo was in trouble at Candlestick Park after San Francisco's Donald Strickland returned a blocked field goal 41 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half.

Reid, whose curious ideas about game management have long bedeviled Eagles fans, decided to attempt a 54-yard field goal 1 second before halftime. Ray McDonald went unblocked through the line and swatted down the attempt by David Akers, who hasn't made a kick longer than 44 yards in his past 10 tries since Sept. 30, 2007.

Strickland easily returned it for a score to send San Francisco (2-4) into the locker room trailing just 17-16, and the 49ers then quickly drove 78 yards for Frank Gore's 6-yard TD run.

"It definitely carried through halftime with our momentum," Strickland said. "We came out and scored, but then they made plays and we didn't get off the field on third downs. We know we have the talent, we have the schemes. Everything is right on the cusp."

The 49ers nursed a 26-17 lead in the fourth quarter, but Philadelphia's defense added three sacks to its league-leading total while holding the Niners to just one offensive touchdown.

After Akers' 38-yard field goal put Philadelphia ahead with 7:46 to play, Quintin Mikell's interception return to the San Francisco 7 set up another short field goal. Trent Cole then swatted the ball out of quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan's hands, and Chris Clemons recovered to set up another field goal with 1:10 left.

San Francisco got past midfield with one last drive, but O'Sullivan threw a pass directly to Juqua Parker, who returned it 55 yards for a score with 38 seconds left in the Niners' third straight loss.

O'Sullivan passed for 199 yards for the 49ers, who fell to 1-3 at home in another mistake-filled performance that included 10 penalties. Joe Nedney kicked four field goals when the offense repeatedly stalled -- until the fourth quarter, when it completely fell apart.

"We've just got to finish," said Gore, who rushed for 101 yards -- but just 3 in the final quarter. "We got ahead, we kind of got comfortable, and the Eagles played great. They made great plays and turned their season around." Correll Buckhalter rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown while filling in for injured All-Pro Brian Westbrook. The Eagles also played without injured receivers Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown. DeSean Jackson, the electric Eagles rookie who starred at Cal across the Bay last fall, had six catches for 98 yards, while Hank Baskett and L.J. Smith caught TD passes.

Game notes


Coach Mike Nolan attempted to challenge Akers' go-ahead field goal, thinking it missed. ... San Francisco LB Takeo Spikes, cut by the Eagles in March, made seven tackles and a key interception, his third in three games. ... The 49ers hadn't returned a blocked field goal for a score since 1989.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PHI
SF
1st Downs2114
Passing 1st downs
157
Rushing 1st downs
57
1st downs from penalties
10
3rd down efficiency
6-122-12
4th down efficiency
0-01-1
Total Plays5760
Total Yards383306
Yards per play6.75.1
Total Drives1214
Passing280175
Comp-Att
23-3617-30
Yards per pass
7.85.3
Interceptions thrown
12
Sacks-Yards Lost
0-03-24
Rushing103131
Rushing Attempts
2127
Yards per rush
4.94.9
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-71-4
Penalties2-1010-58
Turnovers13
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
12
Defensive / Special Teams TDs11
Possession26:4133:19

Passing Leaders

PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNabb23/362807.8210-0
SFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
O'Sullivan17/301996.6023-24

Rushing Leaders

PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Buckhalter18935.2128
Booker155.005
SFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Gore191015.3125
O'Sullivan33110.3011

Receiving Leaders

PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson69816.3027
Buckhalter78512.1025
SFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Davis67512.5057
Battle33913.0026

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPHISF
sfFG12:38Joe Nedney 32 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:20
03
phiTD9:13Correll Buckhalter, 1 yd run (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 37 yds, 3:26
73
sfFG4:29Joe Nedney 37 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 54 yds, 4:43
76
SECOND QUARTERPHISF
phiTD14:10Hank Baskett, 2 yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 78 yds, 5:19
146
phiFG4:35David Akers 19 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 63 yds, 3:14
176
sfFG0:34Joe Nedney 53 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 37 yds, 4:01
179
sfTD0:01Donald Strickland 41 yd blocked field goal for a touchdown (Joe Nedney kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 44 yds, 0:29
1716
THIRD QUARTERPHISF
sfTD11:21Frank Gore, 6 yd run (Joe Nedney kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 78 yds, 3:46
1723
sfFG3:05Joe Nedney 29 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 11 plays, 77 yds, 6:13
1726
FOURTH QUARTERPHISF
phiTD11:46L.J. Smith, 2 yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 38 yds, 2:44
2426
phiFG7:50David Akers 38 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 31 yds, 2:48
2726
phiFG5:17David Akers 25 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 0 yds, 0:55
3026
phiFG1:14David Akers 28 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 9 yds, 2:01
3326
phiTD0:48Juqua Parker, 55 yd interception return (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 25 yds, 0:32
4026