In a game filled with errors common to exhibition openers, Philadelphia quarterback Don McPherson and wide receiver Gizmo Williams came up with a picture-perfect play that helped the Eagles beat the Cleveland Browns, 17-13, in the fourth annual American Bowl played Sunday in front of 73,677 at Wembley Stadium.
An interception by safety Tom Gerhart four plays after McPherson failed to scored on a fourth-and-goal play gave the Eagles the ball at their 48 and set up a 34-yard McPherson-to-Williams touchdown pass play that gave Philadelphia a 17-6 lead with 10:31 left.
The loss spoiled the coaching debut of Cleveland's Bud Carson, former Ram defensive coordinator.
McPherson, a second-year pro from Syracuse, replaced Eagle starter Randall Cunningham at the beginning of the second quarter with the Eagles leading, 7-0.
After his missed opportunity at the goal line, McPherson made the most of the second chance that Gerhart's interception gave him. McPherson passed nine yards to Robert Drummond for a first down. Then after Cleveland was called for holding, negating a sack, McPherson looped the ball into the right corner of the end zone.
Williams, who signed with the Eagles in the off-season from the Canadian Football League, dove for the ball and made a fingertip catch, ending the play with a forward roll. He tossed the ball to an official, then did a forward flip in the air--a move that cost the Eagles five yards on the ensuing kickoff for showboating.
"He's got to learn to play NFL football. He can get away with that in Canada," Eagle Coach Buddy Ryan said. "The jury is still out on Gizmo Williams."