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Eagles win battle of birds

Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook (36) scores one of his four touchdowns on Thursday as he breaks away from Arizona Cardinals’ Karlos Dansby (58) during the first quarter.

AP PHOTO

PHILADELPHIA — Maybe Andy Reid knew what he was doing after all.

Four days after the Philadelphia Eagles coach benched starting quarterback Donovan McNabb in the second half of a lackluster loss to Baltimore, McNabb and the rest of the Eagles responded with an impressive performance against the Arizona Cardinals.

The five-time Pro Bowler threw for 260 yards and four touchdowns and Brian Westbrook scored four touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 48-20 win against the Arizona Cardinals on Thanksgiving night at Lincoln Financial Field.

McNabb finished the game 26-of-39 with no interceptions. Westbrook carried the ball 22 times for 110 yards and two scores. He also caught two touchdown passes, becoming the first NFL player to rush for more than 100 yards and score at least twice both rushing and receiving since Lydell Mitchell of Baltimore did it against Buffalo in 1975.

Westbrook also became the first Eagle to score four touchdowns in a game since receiver Irving Fryar accomplished the feat in 1996. The former Villanova star caught a pair of touchdown passes from McNabb and scored on two rushes. In addition to his touchdowns, Westbrook had 106 rushing yards on 20 carries through three quarters.

McNabb was nearly flawless in the first two quarters, completing 15-of-19 for 111 yards and a pair of touchdowns with no interceptions. He got off to a slow start early in the third quarter but rebounded to finish the quarter with a combined 22-of-31 for 223 yards.

The first possession of the game was a sign of things to come, with McNabb methodically moving the Eagles down the field in 12 plays, taking 7:04 off the clock. McNabb, who was 5-for-5 on the drive for 38 yards, capped the drive on a 5-yard pass to Westbrook.

The Philadelphia defense wasted little time in setting up the next score. Cornerback Joselio Hanson recorded his first career interception, picking off a Warner pass and returning it inside Arizona territory. Hanson was making the start instead of injured cornerback Asante Samuel.

Westbrook took over from there. He did all of the work, carrying the ball four times for 39 yards and scoring on a 1-yard run with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter to make it 14-0. The Eagles increased the lead to 21-0 on a 2-yard run by Westbrook with 8:24 left in the second quarter.

The Cardinals got on the board late in the first half on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Warner to Larry Fitzgerald with 2:28 remaining before halftime. The play capped an 11-play, 81-yard drive.

Other than that possession, the Eagles defense dominated the Cardinals in the first two quarters. Arizona had nine first downs in the first half, five coming on the scoring drive. The Cardinals were held to 104 yards of total offense in the first two quarters.

The Eagles weren’t satisfied going into the locker room at halftime with a two-touchdown lead. McNabb drove his team deep into Cardinals territory before Philadelphia settled with a 42-yard field goal by David Akers with one second left in the half to take a 24-7 lead.

Philadelphia made it 31-7 in the third quarter, putting together a 10-play, 68-yard drive with Westbrook scoring from 9 yards out with 6:17 remaining in the quarter.

The Eagles opened the door a bit a few minutes later when DeSean Jackson lost a fumble on an Arizona punt. Four plays later, Warner connected with receiver Steve Breaston on a 6-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-14.

Philadelphia made the score 34-14 on a 41-yard field goal by Akers in the closing seconds of the third quarter, but Warner and Fitzgerald connected again, this time from 7 yards out to cut the lead to 34-20.

The Eagles took advantage of a Cardinal lost fumble early in the second quarter, with McNabb finding Jackson in the end zone from 9 yards out to make it 41-20 with 10:27 remaining. McNabb closed out the scoring on an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jason Avant with 5:19 remaining. Free safety Brian Dawkins picked off a Warner pass late in the game, the third Eagles interception of the game.

NOTES

•Westbrook’s 2-yard touchdown reception from McNabb was the 27th of his career, breaking the team record for touchdown catches by a running back. Former Eagles standing Tim Brown held the previous mark with 26. Brown played for the Eagles from 1960-67.

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