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Kolb sharp against Kansas City

Backup QB shines in Eagles win

Michael Vick (7) of the Eagles pitches the ball out to Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (29) despite being pressured by the Chiefs’ Tamba Hali (91) in Sunday’s NFL game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER

The New York Jets’ Jerricho Cotchery reacts after catching a touchdown pass during the fourth quarter of a game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. The Jets won 24-17.

AP PHOTO

Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel (7) is sacked by Eagles defenders (from left) Darren Howard, Trent Cole and Chris Clemons in Sunday’s NFL game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

PETE G. WILCOX/THE TIMES LEADER

PHILADELPHIA -- If this was the end of Kevin Kolb’s reign as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, then at least he gave the Eagles something to remember.

And it’s not just a scrapbook filled with interceptions anymore.

Kolb passed for 327 yards and two touchdowns Sunday and - surprise - he wasn’t picked off once as the Eagles quickly recovered from their decimation of a week ago by spearing the Kansas City Chiefs, 34-14, at Lincoln Financial Field.

“This was a good feeling,” Kolb said, “because I got the feel for what it would be like if I’m the starter over a period of time.”

His time will be up as soon as Eagles regular quarterback Donovan McNabb heals from the broken rib that’s kept him sidelined for the last two weeks. But in the meantime, Kolb showed he can be a pretty reliable security blanket.

“I think this has been great for him,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “It’s good for the team to see that he can play.”

The Eagles got a glimpse of Kolb’s potential last week, when he threw for 391 yards and his first two NFL touchdowns during his NFL starting debut while replacing Donovan McNabb - whose broken rib kept him out of that 48-22 thumping by New Orleans.

But Kolb, a second-round draft choice but Philadelphia’s first pick of 2007, also threw three interceptions to the Saints while adding to the doubts about his ability that plagued him ever since he replaced McNabb and was intercepted twice during the second half of a midseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens last year.

None of that frustration for him Sunday.

Instead, Kolb cooly fired a 64-yard, catch-and-run touchdown to wideout DeSean Jackson as the Eagles built a 21-7 lead in the second quarter, then threw a bullet of a 35-yard scoring strike to tight end Brent Celek for Philadelphia’s final points and a 34-7 lead in the fourth quarter.

“I think he did pretty good last week,” Celek said of Kolb, “but I think he stepped it up a level this week. He was calm in the huddle, commanding on the field. I think he played a great game.”

Kolb, who hit 24 of his 34 passes, may not get a chance to play a starring role in another this season.

The 2-1 Eagles have a bye this coming weekend, and McNabb may be recovered enough to take back the reigns of Philadelphia’s offense for the team’s ensuing Oct. 11 home date with Tampa Bay.

“Donovan’s the quarterback of the team,” said Reid, suggesting McNabb will resume his starting role when he’s healthy enough to play. Kolb understands that.

“My job was to come in for these two weeks,” Kolb said, “and that will be my job in the future. We don’t know what Donovan’s injury has entailed. He’s shown good progress so far.”

While McNabb was recovering, the Eagles put winless Kansas City through a day of more pain.

The Chiefs failed to convert any of their 11 third downs, were held to 99 rushing yards as a team, and managed just 116 passing yards - with 26 of those coming on wide receiver Mark Bradley’s completion off a fake punt.

“We have a lot of pride in this locker room, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” Eagles defensive end Darren Howard said. “We don’t like getting handled and beat up (like against New Orleans). And when things like that happen, we take it personally.”

So the Eagles took it out on the Chiefs.

“It was good to see the defense come out and play exceptionally well,” Reid said. “As a group, they swarmed the football.”

Kolb and the offense took care of the rest of the attack.

Kolb followed LeSean McCoy’s 5-yard touchdown run with a 1-yard scoring sneak of his own, giving the Eagles a 14-0 lead late in the opening quarter.

Then he zipped a quick hitter over the middle to Jackson, who took the dart in stride and sped the remaining 45 yards for a 64-yard scoring strike that answered Bradley’s 13-yard touchdown catch and lifted the Eagles into a 21-7 lead.

“Kolb put the ball on my back hip,” said Jackson, who grabbed six catches for 149 yards, “and I was able to spin out of it. And from there, I was just seeing daylight. I really don’t like to get caught from behind. I just put on the burners.”

The Eagles never stopped burning 0-3 Kansas City.

David Akers kicked field goals of 29 and 38 yards, one near the end of the first half and the other on Philadelphia’s opening drive of the second.

Then Kolb found Celek wandering free on a deep ball that turned into a 35-yard touchdown and a 34-7 Eagles lead.

“It was a big step for this football team, first of all, to get to 2-1,” said quarterback Michael Vick, the former Atlanta Falcon Pro Bowl quarterback who had rushed for seven yards in his Eagles debut as a part-time player after serving an 18-month jail term and NFL suspension for his role in running a dog fighting operation.

“We couldn’t afford to lose this game going into the bye week,” Jackson said. “We knew this was a big, important game for us. We came out and executed and made plays. That’s the biggest thing.”

INSIDE

■ Steelers fall in fourth quarter.

      Page 4B

■Boxscores, standings.

Page 4B

■ Panthers set for Cowboys.

Page 5B

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