McNabb: 54 passes and almost zero success

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Jul 6, 2005

PHILADELPHIA – The Chargers defense knew what it was up against long before yesterday's game with the Eagles began.

"They were throwing it 72½ percent of the time coming in," coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I think that went up today."

That it did. The Eagles passed the ball yesterday, and they passed it some more, and then, just to be sure, they passed it some more. Fifty-four times in all, playing against the league's 27th-ranked pass defense.

But if it seemed like a mismatch on paper, it didn't turn out that way on the natural playing surface at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles completed a lot of their passes, but they didn't gain a lot of yards or, most importantly, score a lot of points.

"I'm extremely pleased with the defense," Schottenheimer said.

"I'm really happy with how our defense responded," linebacker Donnie Edwards said. "I think we really stepped up against the pass."

They had plenty of opportunities. Donovan McNabb's 54 pass attempts tied for the seventh-most ever against the Chargers (the record is 61), and his 35 completions tied for 11th (the record is 40). The latter also was an Eagles club record.

"We knew coming into the game that our rush defense would get them stopped (14 carries, 24 yards), so we (figured) they were going to throw the ball every down," cornerback Quentin Jammer said.

At one point, beginning about midway through the second quarter and continuing until late in the third, they did. McNabb attempted a pass on 25 straight plays.

"Twenty-five times in a row? Really?" Jammer said. "I've never seen that before. It didn't feel like that. We were out there moving around, getting after the receivers, having fun. It didn't feel like they were throwing the ball 25 times in a row."

During that stretch McNabb completed 20 of the first 21 attempts, with the only incompletion coming on an intentional spike to stop the clock. But in the end, McNabb passed for "only" 287 yards (barely more than 5 per attempt) and one touchdown. Only one completion went for more than 15 yards.

McNabb also was intercepted twice and the Eagles offense produced only 10 points. The other 10 came thanks to Philadelphia's defense (an interception put the ball in field goal range) and special teams (a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown).

"We knew they were going to come out and throw the ball," said safety Bhawoh Jue, who caused one of the interceptions (by Edwards) with a crushing hit on wide receiver Greg Lewis. "It was a matter of us holding up and we held up pretty good. The rush helped, coverage was good, we made some plays back there."

Jamar Fletcher also had an interception for the Chargers, who limited Terrell Owens to 53 yards – less than half his five-game average of 111 – on seven catches, none of which went for more than 12 yards. The Chargers had three sacks and Philadelphia finished with only 286 net yards, the lowest total against the Chargers this season. The Eagles gained only 77 yards after halftime.

The only downside? The final score.

"We don't feel good," Jammer said. "We did pretty good, but a loss is a loss."