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Eagles stamp selves as East's beast

Associated Press
Published December 8, 2003

PHILADELPHIA - Donovan McNabb backed up a bold statement with another stellar performance.

McNabb threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns, helping the Eagles clinch a playoff spot with their eighth straight victory, 36-10 against the Cowboys.

The Eagles, who have the best record in the NFC, can clinch their third straight division title with two wins or one and a Dallas loss.

All along, McNabb has insisted the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East. Maybe they're the team to beat in the conference.

"We stayed confident, we stayed together and that's important," McNabb said.

Correll Buckhalter ran for 115 yards, including a 64-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

After an 0-2 start, McNabb said the road to the NFC East title goes through Philadelphia. He didn't back off his comments after the Eagles fell to 2-3 with the loss to the Cowboys.

"Even though things were shaky, it was no time for panicking," McNabb said. "What you saw today was a team that wanted to defend its territory and move on."

The worst-rated passer in the league through six games, McNabb has returned to Pro Bowl form. He has thrown for 1,513 yards, nine TDs and one interception in the past six games.

The Cowboys stayed close early and the score was tied at 10 at halftime. But Quincy Carter threw a costly interception on the third play of the third quarter and the Eagles turned it into a touchdown. Sheldon Brown stepped in front of a pass to Terry Glenn and returned it 10 yards to the Dallas 27. Six plays later, Duce Staley scored on a 5-yard shovel pass for a 17-10 lead.

Dallas coach Bill Parcells, whose team has lost three of four, clearly was upset with his team's effort.

"I'm concerned about a lot of things right now," he said. "It's pretty hard to have a full-blown crisis in your first year with a program. I don't know what I'm expecting. I expected more maybe."

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