Eagles Defeat Buccaneers 31-9
Saturday, January 12th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The Philadelphia Eagles are headed for Chicago and the second round of the playoffs, and Bill Parcells might be headed for Tampa Bay to replace Tony Dungy as the Buccaneers' coach.
Donovan McNabb threw for two touchdowns and 194 yards Saturday and ran for 57 more as the Eagles beat Tampa Bay 31-9 Saturday, the second straight season they've beaten the Bucs in the first round of the playoffs.
The Eagles' win was overshadowed by speculation that this would be Dungy's last game after six seasons as the only winning coach in Bucs' history. He could be replaced by Parcells, who led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories, took New England to the Super Bowl and the New York Jets to the AFC title game.
The loss was typical of Tampa Bay's offensive failures _ the Bucs have had three starting quarterbacks and three offensive coordinators in the last three seasons and just don't score enough touchdowns. This was the third straight playoff game they didn't score a TD, and Brad Johnson compounded the problems by throwing four interceptions.
In the first half, the Bucs matched Philadelphia drive for drive, but went to the locker room trailing 17-9 because they managed just three field goals while the Eagles scored two TDs to go with David Akers' field goal.
The Bucs' cold-weather jinx wasn't a factor _ the team entered the game 0-20 in games begun in temperatures under 40 degrees. It was a balmy 46 as the late-afternoon game began Saturday, but it made no difference.
The Eagles (12-5) will face the Bears (13-3) in Chicago next Saturday. The Bucs (9-8) go home _ wondering whether their future is under Dungy, Parcells or perhaps Steve Spurrier if the notoriously fickle Parcells decides not to take the job. Reports out of Tampa Bay say he already has agreed to a 5-year contract.
The Bucs took a 3-0 lead on their first possession after Dexter Jackson intercepted a pass from McNabb at the Philadelphia 39. McNabb's 39-yard scramble on the next series set up a 26-yard field goal by Akers that tied it.
From then on, Philadelphia dominated, with McNabb accounting for 161 of the Eagles' 190 first-half yards.
McNabb had both of his TD passes in the second quarter _ 15 yards to Chad Lewis and 23 yards on a swing pass to Duce Staley. The first TD was set up by a 40-yard pass to Todd Pinkston on which McNabb scrambled away from the Bucs' rush and found Pinkston all alone.
The Tampa Bay offense couldn't match that.
After Philadelphia's first score, the Bucs drove from their own 36 to the Eagles 10. But a third-down swing pass from Johnson to Warrick Dunn _ a typical Tampa play _ lost 4 yards, and Tampa Bay had to settle for Martin Gramatica's 32-yard field goal.
The TD pass to Staley came with 35 seconds left in the half and made it 17-6.
The Bucs threatened again _ Brad Johnson finding Keyshawn Johnson for 46 yards to the Philadelphia 12 with 11 seconds left. But once again, the Bucs tried a swing pass that got little, and once again Gramatica settled for a field goal.
Philadelphia clinched it when Correll Buckhalter went 25 yards up the middle to make it 24-9 midway through the third quarter. McNabb even had a role in that _ his fake on a reverse helped open a huge hole in the middle of the Tampa defense.
The final TD came on Damon Moore's 59-yard interception return with 2:08 left. Moore had two interceptions, part of a defense that totally shut down Tampa Bay after halftime.