Eagles erase 13-3 hole in first-round preview

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay
Buccaneers will get to see who wins when it really matters.

The first-round playoff opponents closed the regular season
against each other Sunday night, with the Eagles coming from behind
to win 17-13 as both teams rested most of their starters.

Third-stringer A.J. Feeley threw two touchdown passes to Dameane
Douglas in a 26-second span of the fourth quarter to bring
Philadelphia back from a 13-3 deficit.

The Eagles (11-5) and Bucs (9-7) will meet again next Saturday
in a rematch of the NFC wild-card game that the Eagles won 21-3 in
Philadelphia last season.

"We have something to prove to ourselves," Buccaneers Pro Bowl
cornerback Ronde Barber said. "We went up there and got
embarrassed last year. That's the bottom line. We didn't get it

Feeley threw a 2-yard TD pass to Douglas with 2:12 remaining,
and Rashard Cook recovered Karl Williams' fumble at the Tampa Bay
24 on the ensuing kickoff.

Two plays later, Douglas scored again on a 24-yard play.

"Everybody was talking about this being a meaningless game, but
it wasn't meaningless for the guys who played," Eagles safety
Brian Dawkins said. "They practice every day. ... It was great to
let them have a chance to show what they can do."

Tampa Bay marched into Philadelphia territory in the final 1:46,
but Shaun King's desperation pass fell incomplete short of the end
zone as time expired.

"When you're a winner, it doesn't matter what you're doing. You
could be playing marbles, Nintendo, whatever -- you want to win,"
Bucs defensive end Steve White said.

"I don't care if people call this a meaningless game. I was out
there at the end of the game trying to make sure they didn't score.
It means something when you're a winner."

Aaron Stecker scored on a 4-yard run and Doug Brien kicked field
goals of 42 and 23 yards for the Bucs, who won five of their
previous six to grab the final NFC wild-card spot.

With playoff seedings and next week's NFC matchups already
determined, neither team had anything to gain by playing their
starters in the nationally televised game.

The Eagles clinched their first NFC East title since 1988 last
week and approached the finale the way teams normally treat the
preseason. Donovan McNabb appeared for two plays, and Feeley was on
the field by the end.

Seven Philadelphia regulars -- running back Duce Staley,
defensive end Hugh Douglas, cornerback Troy Vincent, left tackle
Tra Thomas, receiver James Thrash, tight end Chad Lewis and safety
Brian Dawkins -- were declared inactive.

Five others, including offensive linemen John Welbourn, Hank
Fraley and Jermaine Mayberry, didn't start.

Tampa Bay played without receiver Keyshawn Johnson, running back
Warrick Dunn, defensive end Marcus Jones and kicker Martin
Gramatica, who sat out for the second straight week with a strained

The Bucs, however, did begin the game with nine of 11 starters
on defense. Not that they got much of a feel for what to expect
from McNabb next week.

The Eagles quarterback trotted off after handing off twice to
Correll Buckhalter and was replaced by Koy Detmer, who was 5-of-14
for 51 yards and one interception.

Philadelphia threatened twice in the second quarter after having
the ball for just 2:40 of the opening quarter, gaining 5 yards
before Tampa Bay removed its first-team defense.

David Akers made a 47-yard field goal, trimming the Bucs' lead
to 10-3, after earlier missing a 34-yarder that hit the upright.

Brad Johnson started at quarterback for Tampa Bay and played one
series, directing a 62-yard drive that produced Brien's first field
goal. He was replaced by King, who used John Lynch's interception
to set up Stecker's touchdown run for a 10-0 lead on the first play
of the second quarter.

Brien's second field goal made it 13-3 at the half. It remained
that way until Feeley threw his first TD pass.

"I know it wasn't the No. 1 guys on their team, but I wanted to
go out and play well," Feeley said. "A lot of people said this
was like a preseason game, but it was nice to have an opportunity
to go out and play."

Game notes
Keyshawn Johnson's streak of 88 consecutive regular-season
starts ended. He hadn't missed a game since 1996 when he sat out
two after having arthroscopic knee surgery when he was a rookie
with the New York Jets ... Buchalter rushed for 89 yards on 20
carries ... Brad Johnson started all 16 games in a season for just
the second time in his 10-year career.