McNabb Congratulates Carter

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb made sure he found Quincy Carter after Sunday's game. He had to say, "Nice job," of course, to the Cowboys' quarterback. Makes sense. Everybody in green was thinking it.

Carter threw for only 146 yards and got the Cowboys in the end zone only once. But for the fifth consecutive game, he didn't do anything anyone would classify as hazardous to his team's chances to win.

That is enough for the Cowboys, who ask Carter to do nothing out of the ordinary. Sunday, they also made sure they protected him against blitzes of all types, and he wound up outperforming his flashier friend McNabb in a 23-21 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles at Texas Stadium.

"Quincy is very comfortable in the offense," McNabb said. "He's comfortable with the receivers that he has. He feels that if he just puts the ball in position, those guys can make some plays. He made some great plays. He made some great throws. Some of them were dropped, some of them were caught. But you can just see his confidence level continue to rise."

It wasn't exactly a shootout.

McNabb threw for only 126 yards himself, and the two combined to complete only 25 of 51 passes. McNabb is accustomed to bigger numbers. The Cowboys are finding they do not need big numbers from Carter.

"He's playing poised football," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He did a nice job back there. He did some good things, although I'm sure there are some plays he'd like to have back."

The Cowboys knew to expect pressure from the Eagles, and they made a point of protecting Carter. They also did not ask him to save them in the first half, when field position scaled back the Cowboys' plans. The Cowboys began their first four possessions at their 8, 15, 5 and 14-yard lines.

The Eagles tried to force Carter into mistakes. He did not make them in that critical area of the field.

"They keep enough guys in there to block for him, even with our blitz packages," free safety Clinton Hart said. "It's hard to get to him when they keep six or seven guys in to block for him and they just send those two or three receivers out. It's difficult when you're a blitzing team to get to him and cause havoc.

"They kept enough guys in to block for him, kept him calm and give him the time he needed to read his keys."

McNabb worked under more pressure. He was sacked three times, and his last play was a fumble forced by linebacker Dexter Coakley.

"We ran a quarterback draw, where we thought we probably could get a gap and I could get through, get some yardage and set up a field goal," McNabb said.

Carter was sympathetic. He knows what rough times are like, and he knows McNabb is trying to play with a deep bruise in his right thumb, not to mention the weight of expectations exacerbated by a slow start and off-field controversy.

"Too big of a win to discuss Rush Limbaugh," Carter said. "Me and Donovan are good friends. Donovan's character speaks for itself."

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