Too Much T.O. Hampering Eagles?

While Terrell Owens' receiving numbers head for the ionosphere, the Eagles' offense has started to sputter. Coach Andy Reid's spread-the-ball-around philosophy appears to have been put in dry dock as quarterback Donovan McNabb has been more and more focused on getting the ball to Owens.

Is too much of Terrell Owens becoming a bad thing for the Eagles' offense?

Owens is putting up All-Pro numbers in his first season with the Birds. He already has 49 catches for 750 yards and 9 touchdowns. That's a 98-catch, 1,500-yard, 18-touchdown pace. The yards and TDs would be career highs for him. The 98 receptions would be just two short of his career high.

But while Owens' receiving numbers head for the ionosphere, the Eagles' offense has started to sputter. Coach Andy Reid's spread-the-ball-around philosophy appears to have been put in dry dock as quarterback Donovan McNabb has been more and more focused on getting the ball to Owens.

In their last two games, against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the Eagles have scored a total of 18 points. Of McNabb's 33 completions in those two games, 15 went to Owens. In Sunday's 27-3 loss to the Steelers, McNabb completed passes to a season-low five receivers.

The Eagles' other three wideouts -- Todd Pinkston, Freddie Mitchell and Greg Lewis -- have combined for two catches for 26 yards in the last two games. Tight end L.J. Smith, who had 10 catches in the Eagles' first three games, has had just five since.

"That just wasn't our offense out there Sunday," said McNabb, who had a season-low 109 passing yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the second time in the last four games.

Said Reid: "I don't think either side (of the ball) played very well. It was a true team loss. We're all in the boat together, and we all need to take responsibility.

"It was Pittsburgh's day and they got the best of it. If you're willing to take a little bit of the accountability upon yourself and learn from your mistakes, it can help you. We're looking forward to getting through this thing, learning from it and moving on."

McNabb, who started off on fire this season, has cooled off significantly. In his last 18 quarters, he's completed just 57 percent of his passes, has averaged just 6.80 yards per attempt and has thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions in 142 attempts. And those numbers include a 376-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Browns three weeks ago.

"Too many miscommunications, which led to mistakes all around," McNabb said after the loss to the Steelers. "We didn't get into a rhythm."

The Eagles continued to struggle on third down Sunday, failing to convert any of their eight third-down opportunities. In their last five games, the Eagles have converted just 12 of 55 third-down chances, or 21.8 percent. And yet they still are 7-1.

"We have to be able to seal the deal (on third down) and stay on the field," McNabb said.

What McNabb has to do is get back to spreading the ball around and using his other receivers, such as slot receiver Freddie Mitchell, who has caught just two passes in the last four games, and Smith, who has just five receptions in the last five games.

The Eagles also need to better utilize running back Brian Westbrook. In the Eagles' first four games, Westbrook played like an MVP candidate, averaging 5.48 yards per touch. In his last three starts, he has averaged just 4.07.

Westbrook missed the Baltimore game with a cracked rib. He returned last week against the Steelers but was ineffective. He rushed for 17 yards on six carries and caught three passes for 4 yards.

"They did a great job of sealing off the outside on us," Westbrook said. "A lot of teams know we're going to run outside. As a team we have to do a better job of blocking up front and reading (the holes) as a (runner)."

SERIES HISTORY: 90th meeting. Cowboys lead the series 51-38. Eagles have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Cowboys. The lone loss the last four seasons came last October when the Cowboys upset the Eagles in Dallas, 23-21, on a 28-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff with less than a minute left.


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