Asante Samuel seemed to continue an Eagles "Monday Night Football" tradition at the end of his 50-yard interception return last night.
The tradition, started by DeSean Jackson at Dallas, involves inexplicably flipping the ball just short of the goal line, but unlike Jackson, at least Samuel flipped the ball ahead, then ran over to it and grabbed it to give the Eagles a 17-3 second-quarter lead.
"I was kind of thinking about the celebration too much," Samuel said. "I don't even think I was paying attention, just being nonchalant, kind of let it go. Quick thinking, picked it up.
"DJack was like, 'You almost did a DJack, man.' "
Samuel, brought in for $57 million to be a playmaker, hadn't picked off a pass since the Atlanta game, back on Oct. 26. He has played well, but his lack of highlight-reel moments such as last night's might keep him off the NFC Pro Bowl roster when it is announced today.
"I was definitely overdue," Samuel said. "I've dropped a couple that I wish I would have caught. It was my turn to catch one."
His big play last night wiped out the bad taste from a silly squandering of points by the Eagles, when Jackson threw an interception in the end zone from the "Wildcat" formation, on third-and-goal from the 7. It was just six plays later that Samuel reeled in Ken Dorsey's pass and took off for the end zone.
Samuel's teams are now 20-1 in games in which he intercepts a pass.
"Asante had a nice pick," coach Andy Reid said. "But again, obviously you have to cross the goal line."
Brown sits again
Just like last week, wide receiver Reggie Brown was by far the most prominent healthy Eagle not in uniform last night.
Brown's steady decline has been one of the season's puzzles.
Brown has 13 catches this season, 10 of them in the Chicago and Washington games, on Sept. 28 and Oct. 5. He was active but did not catch a pass in the Baltimore and Arizona games.
Kyle Eckel was active again at running back. With Correll Buckhalter back from a knee injury, Lorenzo Booker sat. Booker had been active for the last two games.
The Eagles began the game converting their first four third-down conversions and finished 11-for-17 (65 percent). In their three consecutive wins, they are a combined 33-for-50 (66 percent).
"Manageable third downs, I think, are important," coach Andy Reid said. "Give yourself a third-and-9, however, and we had a couple of those tonight . . . But you want to make sure you don't put yourself in that position."
It wouldn't be a shock if the Eagles get shut out when the Pro Bowl rosters are announced today. Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb don't have the numbers. Brian Dawkins isn't super-elite anymore. Trent Cole probably deserves to go, but doesn't have the big sack total. Asante Samuel has played well, but doesn't have a lot of interceptions, even with last night's heroics. Mike Patterson also has played well, but isn't one of those plus-sized run-stuffing defensive tackles . . . Near the end of the third quarter, Ken Dorsey had completed six of 15 passes for 108 yards; four of the completions, for 88 yards, were to Braylon Edwards. The Browns had nothing else going . . . Stewart Bradley's fourth-quarter interception was the first for an Eagles linebacker this season, breaking a drought that had nettled defensive coordinator Jim Johnson . . . As Andy Reid mentioned afterward, the Eagles could have been better in the red zone. *