Owens' Acquisition Paying Large Dividends

Four games into this young season, the only thing that wide receiver Terrell Owens has done is provide a much-needed spark to the offense. Much more inside.

(PHILADELPHIA) -- When the Eagles acquired Terrell Owens last March, many skeptics felt the four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver would be more trouble than he was worth.

They felt he would be a negative influence in the locker room and a selfish throw-me-the-ball disruption in an offense that has relied on a spread-the-ball-around philosophy to get to three straight NFC Championship Games.

Four games into this young season, the only thing that Owens has done is provide a much-needed spark to the offense.

In the Eagles' 4-0 start, he already has caught 26 passes for 364 yards and six touchdowns. All three of those numbers put him on pace to set club records. The six touchdowns are one more than the Eagles' entire wide receiving corps had all of last season.

Through four games, the Eagles are averaging 387.3 yards per game. That's 73 more than they averaged last season. They are averaging 276.0 passing yards per game, which is 87.2 more than a year ago. Their third-down percentage, 36.3 a year ago, has jumped to 42.6.

And quarterback Donovan McNabb's completion percentage has gone through the roof now that he's got Owens to throw to. He heads into the bye week with a 68.1 completion rate after never getting higher than 58.4 in his previous five NFL seasons.

"I'm not going to throw it all in his lap," offensive coordinator Brad Childress said. "I just think that offensively, they're playing at a high level and that's in all areas. I think the guys are doing a good job of executing plays that come in the game. There's really no magic to that. T.O.'s involved in some of them and not in others."

Owens has gone over the 100-yard receiving mark in each of the Eagles' last two games. It's the first time an Eagle receiver has notched back-to-back 100-yard receiving game since Irving Fryar in 1997.

The main reason Owens wanted to play for the Eagles rather than the Baltimore Ravens, who initially traded for him, was because he wanted to player with McNabb.

"I've always envisioned myself with a quarterback like Donovan," he said. "Jeff (Garcia) was limited in some of the things he could do. Donovan, I'm just thrilled and blessed to have him. When we go out on that field, we're making each other better."

The Eagles are off this week before their Oct. 17 rematch with the Carolina Panthers, who upset the Eagles in last January's NFC Championship Game, 14-3. Reid gave his players the entire week off. They aren't due back at the club's Novacare complex until Monday morning.

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