- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 27, 2008

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Brian Westbrook caught two touchdown passes and ran for another score to help the Eagles take a 24-7 lead over the Arizona Cardinals through the first half of Thursday night’s game.

Westbrook scored on a 5-yard shovel pass from Donovan McNabb on the opening drive of the game and caught a 2-yard touchdown pass on a swing route in the second quarter as Philadelphia looked impressive on offense for the first time in weeks.

Arizona got on the board with just under three minutes left in the first half on touchdown pass from Kurt Warner to Larry Fitzgerald set up by consecutive 20-plus-yard completions by Warner.

After a 26-yard pass to Tim Hightower, Arizona got a 25-yard catch by Leonard Pope that gave the Cardinals a first-and-goal at the 10. The catch withstood a coach’s challenge and a defensive holding penalty on third-and-goal kept the Cardinals drive alive before Warner found Fitzgerald on a slant for the score.

McNabb, back in the lineup after being benched at halftime last week, looked sharp to start the game. He was 5-for-5 for 38 yards on the opening drive and capped it with the touchdown pass to Westbrook.

McNabb was 15-for-19 for 112 yards passing in the first half. Westbrook had 83 total yards, including 76 rushing, at the half. Warner was 8-for-14 for 90 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

The Eagles, who have leaned heavily on their passing attack all season, mixed the run and pass well to start the game and even converted on a third-and-1 on the ground _ an achievement that drew a standing ovation from the crowd.

Philadelphia had thrown incomplete passes on their past four third-and-1 plays over the past two games and coach Andy Reid’s reluctance to run the ball had been a source of much frustration among the Philly faithful.

The first of Warner’s two interceptions set up a 1-yard TD run by Westbrook with 3:30 left in the first quarter.

Linebacker Stewart Bradley tipped a pass from Warner that was intended for Fitzgerald, and Joselio Hanson, starting in place of the injured Asante Samuel, reeled it in for his first career interception.

The Eagles needed just four runs by Westbrook on the next drive to reach the end zone. He ripped off runs of 16 and 17 yards and scored on a 1-yard run up the middle.

Hank Baskett had a diving catch down the sideline for a 20-yard gain to help set up McNabb’s TD pass to Westbrook in the second quarter.

Eagles guard Max Jean-Gilles was taken off the field on a cart with a right leg injury on Philadelphia’s last drive of the half. David Akers hit a 42-yard field goal with 1 second left to give the Eagles a 24-7 lead.

McNabb was benched during halftime of last week’s 36-7 loss to Baltimore. The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback was 8-for-18 for 59 yards with two interceptions and a fumble against the Ravens before being pulled in favor of second-year backup Kevin Kolb.

Arizona (7-4) was attempting to clinch its first division title in 33 years. The Eagles (5-5-1), meanwhile, desperately needed a victory to keep their rapidly fading playoff hopes alive.

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