Eagles 41, Cowboys 14

Sunday, September 3rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The hardest hits Duce Staley took were a flip over his own bench after a long run and a celebratory chest-bump with Donovan McNabb.

"Duce didn't get high enough," McNabb, the Philadelphia quarterback, said of the celebration after his 3-yard TD run in the fourth quarter of a 41-14 victory at Dallas.

The chest-bump knocked Staley to the ground, something the Cowboys had a hard time doing in the season opener Sunday.

Staley ran for 201 yards, becoming the Eagles' first 200-yard runner since Steve Van Buren set a team record with 205 in 1949. He was also the first person to run for that many yards against the Cowboys since 1984.

Philadelphia quickly set the tone with a game-opening onside kick, and went ahead to stay when McNabb threw a 1-yard touchdown to Jeff Thomason eight plays later.

Eagles coach Andy Reid said he decided to start his second season with an onside kick while watching film a month ago. When the Cowboys won the coin toss and chose to receive, Reid got his chance.

"Dallas has this image at Texas Stadium, but one advantage of Andy Reid is his aggressiveness. He's not afraid to try things," said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie.

"He's not holding anything back. He takes chances as a coach _ that's what you want as a player," Staley said.

Dallas never appeared to overcome the shock of the opening kickoff, and things only got worse when quarterback Troy Aikman was knocked out of the game with the ninth concussion of his 12-year NFL career.

Aikman, sacked just 19 times last season, was sacked three times on the opening possession. He suffered the concussion when he was sacked a fourth time early in the second quarter.

He was taken to a hospital, where tests showed no serious problems, but his status for next week's game at Arizona is uncertain.

Staley sat out several plays late in the first quarter after being run out of bounds and landing on his back when he flipped over the bench. On his first play back, Staley scored on a 1-yard run to put the Eagles ahead 14-0.

"This makes a big statement for us ... something we can feed off of," McNabb said.

Staley gained 38 percent of Philly's total yards the past two years, ranking second in the NFL only to Marshall Faulk's 40 percent for St. Louis.

Staley accounted for half of his team's 425 yards in the opener, with a team-high 61 receiving yards _ on four catches _ in addition to his 201 rushing yards.

Philadelphia had 306 rushing yards, the most allowed by the Cowboys, and won at Texas Stadium for only the third time in 11 years.

"It was a rude awakening," Dallas defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban said.

And it was an embarrassing debut for Dave Campo, the former defensive coordinator who replaced fired Chan Gailey. Campo is still winless after the Cowboys went through the preseason 0-5 while trying to protect their starters _ two of whom were injured Sunday.

In addition to Aikman, $42 million receiver Joey Galloway was injured. Galloway was carted off the field with a sprained knee in the final minutes. An MRI is scheduled Monday.

Randall Cunningham replaced Aikman and wasn't any better against the Philadelphia rush. His first two completions _ which took five pressure-filled attempts _ went a total of 2 yards and he threw an interception before getting a first down. He finished 13-of-26 for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Aikman finished 0-for-5 with an interception, only the second time in his 155 career starts that he didn't have a completion. Jeremiah Trotter returned the interception 27 yards for a touchdown to put the Eagles ahead 21-0.

McNabb was 16-of-28 passing for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Staley's last run was his longest: a 60-yarder that set up Brian Mitchell's 6-yard TD, which put the Eagles ahead 41-6. Galloway's TD catch with 6:45 left and a 2-point conversion pass to Raghib Ismail avoided the Cowboys' worst opening loss.

Notes:@ This was the second time in Aikman's 12-year career that he did not complete a pass. The other was in 1990. ... Dallas offensive lineman Erik Williams was ejected in the final minutes. ... This was the first time in Cunningham's career he played against the Eagles, his first team. He did not face them in three years with Minnesota. ... Both kickers were 2-for-2 on field goals. Akers made kicks of 33 and 37 yards and Dallas' teacher-turned-kicker Tim Seder hit from 34 and 38.

Philadelphia 14 10 3 14 -- 41
Dallas 0 6 0 8 -- 14
First Quarter

Phi--Thomason 1 pass from McNabb (Akers kick), 10:59.
Phi--Staley 1 run (Akers kick), :02.
Second Quarter

Phi--Trotter 27 interception return (Akers kick), 13:40.
Phi--FG Akers 33, 6:25.
Dal--FG Seder 35, 2:53.
Dal--FG Seder 38, :00.
Third Quarter

Phi--FG Akers 37, 7:06.
Fourth Quarter

Phi--McNabb 3 run (Akers kick), 14:56.
Phi--Mitchell 6 run (Akers kick), 13:16.
Dal--Galloway 4 pass from Cunningham (Ismail pass from Cunningham), 6:45.

Phi Dal
First downs 27 10
Rushes-yards 46-306 13-67
Passing 119 100
Punt Returns 4-20 1-2
Kickoff Returns 1-29 5-118
Interceptions Ret. 2-35 3-38
Comp-Att-Int 16-29-3 13-31-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-11 5-35
Punts 2-44.0 7-44.6
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 4-25 9-93
Time of Possession 39:30 20:30


RUSHING--Philadelphia, Staley 26-201, Mitchell 8-39, Pritchett 6-29, McNabb 5-29, C.Johnson 1-8, Dallas, Ismail 2-33, E.Smith 7-29, Cunningham 1-5, Warren 3-0.
PASSING--Philadelphia, McNabb 16-28-2-130, Detmer 0-1-1-0. Dallas, Cunningham 13-26-1-135, Aikman 0-5-1-0.
RECEIVING--Philadelphia, Staley 4-61, Pinkston 3-29,Broughton 2-12, Van Dyke 1-8, Lewis 1-6, C.Johnson 1-5, Mitchell 1-5, Martin 1-2, Small 1-1, Thomason 1-1. Dallas, Galloway 4-62, Ismail 3-36, Harris 2-3, McGarity 1-10, Wiley 1-10, McNight 1-9, Warren 1-5.