McNabb, Stallworth lift Eagles to win

HOUSTON (Sept. 10, 2006) -- Who needs T.O.?

A healthy and happy Donovan McNabb threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns, including one to Donte' Stallworth, to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a 24-10 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The Eagles, looking to move past their post-Terrell Owens hangover, got a great game from Stallworth in his debut after a trade from the Saints. It was also McNabb's regular-season return after missing the final seven games of last season for surgery to repair a sports hernia.

"For me, it was kind of a joy to get back out on the field and see guys kind of smiling, laughing, pushing each other, motivating each other," McNabb said. "And for us to put points on the board, it's exciting for us right now. It's a different type of attitude this year."

No. 1 pick Mario Williams had three tackles but failed to make much of an impact while being shifted up and down the line in his and coach Gary Kubiak's first game as Texans.

The Eagles sputtered in the first quarter, with a punt ending their first possession and an interception by McNabb stopping the second.

They got things going in the second quarter when Stallworth ran past a seemingly unaware C.C. Brown and caught a 42-yard touchdown pass to tie it at 7. It was the first of several times the Eagles would exploit Houston's inexperienced secondary.

Stallworth struck again just before halftime when McNabb found him for a 37-yard reception to the 5. Reggie Brown scored on the next play to give the Eagles a 14-10 halftime lead.

"We had an idea of the caliber of athlete he was," McNabb said of Stallworth. "We just kind of visualized what he could do in this offense. This is just a start. What he was able to display today, we have big-play capability."

Stallworth had four catches for 124 yards by halftime and finished with a career-high tying six for 141 yards -- his 10th career 100-yard game.

"They brought me here to do a job and it feels good to get a win," Stallworth said. "I know I can get better every day, every week and make sure I'm really working with Donovan to make sure we're in sync."

The Eagles opened the second half with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 31-yard pass from McNabb to Brian Westbrook that pushed Philadelphia's lead to 21-10. Westbrook also had a 17-yard run and caught a 17-yard pass on that drive.

He finished with 17 carries for 71 yards and had four catches for 61 yards.

Philadelphia added a 42-yard field goal by David Akers in the fourth quarter.

Houston finished with just 70 yards rushing. That combined with a quiet game from Williams will continue to fuel talk Houston made a mistake by passing on running back Reggie Bush to get him.

Williams, who was outdone by fellow rookie DeMeco Ryans, wasn't happy with his performance. Ryans led the team with 13 tackles.

"It wasn't good enough," Williams said. "I got doubled here and there but I have to get past that and I have to break through and keep putting pressure on the quarterback."

The Texans looked sharp early, with Carr going 4-of-4 and Houston marching down the field. Eric Moulds caught an over-the-shoulder pass and spun to evade a defender before dashing into the end zone untouched for the 25-yard touchdown. Things went downhill from there.

Houston's supposedly improved offensive line gave up five sacks -- the same as in the 2005 opener -- and the Texans didn't score in the second half.

"The sacks he's taking weren't his fault," center Mike Flanagan said. "He was making the right calls, he made the right throws, but we as an offense particularly the offensive line weren't good enough to give him a chance to let us win."

Trent Cole had two sacks as the Eagles took advantage of rookie left tackle Charles Spencer.

"They didn't do anything we didn't expect," Spencer said. "The defensive ends were just a lot faster than I expected them to be."

Andre Johnson got in front of Sheldon Brown for a 44-yard catch that got Houston to the 5 late in the second quarter. But Carr was sacked on second down and the Texans settled for a field goal and a 10-7 lead.

Johnson had six catches for 101 yards and Moulds had six catches for 68 yards.

The boos that rained down beginning in the first quarter of most games last season didn't return until late in the third quarter this time. They were prompted by Carr tripping to the turf and following that play with a poorly thrown incompletion.

His frustration boiled over when he was sacked for the fourth time on Houston's first drive of the second half and he ripped off his chin strap angrily and screamed in the direction of his teammates.

He wound up 18-of-27 for 208 yards and a touchdown.

Notes:

Eagles CB Lito Sheppard injured his ankle in the first quarter and did not return, however, X-rays were negative. ... Carr's touchdown pass to Moulds was the 49th of both of their careers. ... The Texans wore white jerseys with white pants for the first time in team history.

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