Lambeau mystique turns into Lambeau mistakes

Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2003

GREEN BAY, Wis. The Philadelphia Eagles held onto the wet ball, something Brett Favre and Ahman Green couldn't do.

Donovan McNabb threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Todd Pinkston with 27 seconds left to give the Eagles a 17-14 victory over the Green Bay Packers on a rainy Monday night.

The Eagles (6-3) stayed a game behind Dallas in the NFC East, and the Packers (4-5) blew their shot at closing within a game of slumping Minnesota in the NFC North.

''It surely wasn't pretty. I would imagine Mike Sherman would say the same thing,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said, referring to his Green Bay counterpart. ''But we overcame the adversity. In the fourth quarter, it was great leadership by Donovan. In that last drive he really put it together.''

The Packers drove to midfield with 8 seconds left when Favre, playing with a broken right thumb, fumbled for the third time, sealing Green Bay's third home loss of the season.

The Packers fumbled six times, losing two. The Eagles didn't put the ball on the ground once.

''The balls were very, very slick,'' Sherman said. ''It seemed to affect us more than it did them, however, which concerns me.''

Green rushed for a team-record 192 yards and scored on a 45-yard run and a 24-yard screen pass. But he fumbled two more times, giving him an NFL-leading seven.

Pinkston caught his first touchdown pass of the season when he beat cornerback Bhawoh Jue off the line and got free in the left side of the end zone.

Jue had replaced starter Al Harris, who was bothered by cramps.

Jue also was victimized for the winning score in the Packers' overtime loss to Kansas City in their last home game, on Oct. 12.

McNabb said he wasn't picking on Jue but just reading the defense: ''It was a great route by Todd.''

''We just came together at the end,'' McNabb said.

''What we showed tonight is why we're a winning team. Never count us out. It's an exciting season right now.''

The Eagles have won four straight games in which they trailed entering the fourth quarter.

''I have a feeling that's the way it's going to be,'' Reid said. ''This team, they're fighters. I'll take them any way I can get them.''

So will McNabb, but he'd appreciate a breather for a change.

''We just have to find ways to make it a little easier,'' McNabb said. ''I don't know how many times other people can watch it. It makes it exciting that we just continue to fight.''

Philadelphia started the winning drive at its 35 with 2:42 remaining and McNabb completed passes of 11 yards to Duce Staley and 20 yards to Chad Lewis.

Green's 45-yard TD on fourth-and-1 with seven minutes left gave Green Bay a 14-10 lead. It came after the Eagles had taken their first lead at 10-7 on McNabb's 1-yard run with 9:32 left in the fourth quarter.

McNabb set up his first rushing touchdown of the season with a 51-yard pass to James Thrash when defensive back Mike McKenzie slipped on the soaked grass.

McNabb completed 15 of 31 passes for 198 yards.

Favre said last week he's having so much fun running Green Bay's turbocharged offense that he's leaning toward returning next season rather than retiring. But he had a miserable Monday night.

He was 14-of-22 for 109 yards with one TD, one interception and three fumbles, two of which he lost, including the final one, which was recovered by defensive tackle Darwin Walker.

''It was a combination of both'' his thumb and the rain, Favre said. ''My hand felt numb, but it was slick out there.''



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