DENVER (AP) – The rain was falling and another big Denver lead was swirling down the drain. In stepped little-known receiver Todd Devoe and better-known tailback Tatum Bell to help the Broncos turn a possible embarrassment back into a blowout.

Devoe caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from Jake Plummer and Bell ran for 67- and 6-yard touchdowns in the fourth quarter Sunday to help the Broncos hold off, then run away from the Philadelphia Eagles for a 49-21 victory.

The four-touchdown margin doesn’t begin to detail how scary this one got for the Broncos (6-2).

Plummer, who finished with a season-high 309 yards, threw three of his four touchdown passes over the first 23 minutes to give Denver a 28-0 lead, but the Broncos allowed Philly (4-3) within seven points and a mere 24 yards of the tying score early in the fourth.

Donovan McNabb had running back Lamar Gordon wide open on a third-and-5 from the Denver 24, but went to the end zone instead and was picked off by rookie Domonique Foxworth.

Five plays later, with the rain falling heavily, Devoe ran a short slant route to the inside, caught the pass from Plummer, then spun outside and had free sailing after cornerback Roderick Hood fell on the slick turf.

It was the first career touchdown for the young receiver, who worked his way up from ninth on the depth chart in training camp to surprisingly make the roster and has now replaced Darius Watts as the team’s fourth receiver.

A few minutes later, Bell got loose on the sideline for his 67-yard run, yet another in a long list of big plays he has made this year.

Bell, who added his second touchdown in the last minute, finished with 107 yards and Mike Anderson had 126 more, leaving them on pace to become only the fourth pair of running backs in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards each.

Before Devoe’s big catch, it looked like this might be a comeback for the ages for McNabb and receiver Terrell Owens.

Trailing 28-0 late in the second, the Philly quarterback drove the Eagles 80 yards for a quick touchdown.

He opened the third by hitting Owens on a short pass on the sideline and Owens juked Champ Bailey, then ran free for a 91-yard score – the longest of Owens’ career or McNabb’s.

Owens beat Bailey again later in the third quarter for a 43-yard gain to set up a 14-yard touchdown pass to Brian Westbrook to pull the Eagles within 28-21.

It was quite a familiar feeling for the Broncos.

The last three weeks, they led big against the Redskins, Patriots and Giants, only to let them all back into game. Last week, it finally bit them in a 24-23 loss at New York after they held a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter.

This time, though, Denver won in a runaway – missing the franchise scoring record by one point – and avoided turning a 5-1 start into a 5-3 record at the halfway point for the third straight year.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have been outscored 62-14 in the first quarter this year, and their first 15 minutes of this one were downright awful.

McNabb threw 11 incompletions and one interception over his first 12 attempts to compile a passer rating of 1.7. Owens, meanwhile, was a non-factor early, held without a catch in the first half and only one touch – a 2-yard run on a double reverse.

Owens finished with three catches for 154 yards and McNabb was 12-for-34 for 283 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

AP-ES-10-30-05 1955EST


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