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Easy win not a true gauge for Birds

After the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants on Sunday night, most Eagles fans hit the fast-forward button on their lives and jumped ahead two weeks.

After the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants on Sunday night, most Eagles fans hit the fast-forward button on their lives and jumped ahead two weeks.

If both teams keep winning, the Birds and 'Boys could be playing on Dec. 28 in the classic "losers walk" game.

Oh, darn. That nasty little item called reality jumped up and pointed out that the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins are on the schedule before the Cowboys come to town.

Just a couple of blowouts, right?


EAGLES: Donovan McNabb started fast, hitting all four of his attempts in a 64-yard, eight-play drive that included a 20-yard pass to Jason Avant. The march never faltered, and the Birds scored on their first possession as if it was something they do every week, with McNabb hitting Kevin Curtis for a 14-yard TD.

Drive: 4 minutes, 15 seconds, 8 plays, 64 yards. 14-yard touchdown pass.

Eagles, 7-0

BROWNS: Despite having Ken Dorsey in as quarterback, the Browns took to the air immediately. Not possessing a gun, Dorsey hit modest-range passes, but the drive petered out when tight end Darnell Dinkins dropped one inside the 5. Phil Dawson kicked his franchise-record 30th field goal of the season, this one a 27-yarder.

Drive: 3:57, 9 plays, 63 yards. 27-yard field goal.

Eagles, 7-3

EAGLES: Again the Birds marched steadily downfield, with McNabb hitting four of five attempts, including an 11-yarder to L.J. Smith which, unfortunately, set up the dreaded "first and goal" that has been the Eagles' nemesis this season. Brian Westbrook ran for 3 yards, but a deflected pass and an incompletion killed the drive. David Akers came on to boot a 24-yard field goal.

Drive: 5:59, 12 plays, 51 yards. 24-yard field goal.

Eagles, 10-3


BROWNS: A brief possession that began in the first quarter ended in the second with a punt.

Drive: 2:28, 5 plays, 14 yards. Punt.

EAGLES: Another efficient drive by McNabb crested with a 25-yard completion to DeSean Jackson that took the ball to the Browns' 8. Uh-oh. First and goal. Westbrook gained 1 yard, a pass was deflected, and then a Jackson pass from the shotgun was intercepted in the end zone by Sean Jones.

Drive: 6:24, 12 plays, 77 yards. Interception.

BROWNS: Another brief drive ended in disaster for Cleveland. From his own 47-yard line, Dorsey passed downfield for Donté Stallworth, but Asante Samuel jumped in front and grabbed the ball with no one in front of him. Oops. Samuel managed to lose the ball on the 1-yard line but picked it up in the end zone. It was a 50-yard return for a score, and the Eagles were coasting.

Drive: 2:12, 6 plays, 27 yards. Interception returned for Eagles touchdown.

Eagles, 17-3

BROWNS: Three-and-out.

Drive: 1:41, 3 plays, minus-4 yards. Punt.

EAGLES: The Birds' bizarre problems inside the red zone resulted in an entertaining play, but no points for the Browns. Or the Eagles, for that matter.

On second and 3 from Cleveland's 10, McNabb hit tight end Brent Celek for 8 yards down to the 2, which brought up Armageddon, er, first and goal.

Westbrook plunged up the middle to the one-inch line, his helmet resting on the goal line.

The Eagles called their final time-out, which resulted in a short McNabb pass intended for Hank Baskett in the end zone, where it was intercepted by Brandon McDonald 5 yards deep. He returned the ball 98 yards, to the Eagles' 7, which ended the half.

It was the longest return that did not result in a touchdown in regular-season history.

Drive: 3:04, 8 plays, 65 yards. Interception to end the half.

HALFTIME MUSINGS: The Eagles had a chance to finish off the visitors in the half's final drive but once again gagged in a first-and-goal situation. Despite what looks like an outright refusal to score from inside the 10-yard line - note that Andy Reid called a time-out to set up an interception - the Birds were in complete command.

Oh, and how many long returns off mistakes (interceptions, blocked field goals) can one team survive in a season? Guess we'll find out.


BROWNS: Cleveland moved 45 yards before punting.

Drive: 3:36, 9 plays, 45 yards. Punt.

EAGLES: Yet another red-zone meltdown - this time it was a sack of McNabb from the shotgun on third down - resulted in a 34-yard field goal by Akers.

Drive: 7:50, 14 plays, 64 yards. 34-yard field goal.

Eagles, 20-3

BROWNS: Three-and-out.

Drive: 52 seconds, 3 plays, minus-6 yards. Punt.

EAGLES: A 24-yard pass to Avant jump-started a drive that began in the third quarter and ended in the fourth.


EAGLES: McNabb misfired on a third-and-4 situation at Cleveland's 16, so Akers came on to boot a 34-yard field goal.

Drive: 2:39, 7 plays, 29 yards. 34-yard field goal.

Eagles, 23-3

BROWNS: A briefly effective drive ended when Stewart Bradley intercepted a Dorsey pass at the Eagles' 46 and ran it back 17 yards to Cleveland's 37.

Drive: 2:57, 6 plays, 31 yards. Interception.

EAGLES: McNabb finally was able to ignore the red zone and deliver the kill shot. Correll Buckhalter gained 27 yards on first down to set up a first-and-goal at the 10. McNabb hit Greg Lewis in the end zone on the next play.

Drive: 41 seconds, 2 plays, 37 yards. 10-yard touchdown pass.

Eagles, 30-3

BROWNS: Three-and-out.

Drive: 1:09, 3 plays, 1 yard. Punt.

EAGLES: The future stared the fans in the face once more as Kevin Kolb replaced McNabb - and immediately threw an interception.

On second down, Kolb fired a short pass to the left intended for Lewis, but McDonald stepped in at the Eagles' 24 and returned it for a touchdown, somersaulting into the end zone.

Drive: 42 seconds, 2 plays, 5 yards. Interception.

Eagles, 30-10

EAGLES: Three-and-out.

Drive: 1:49, 3 plays, 5 yards. Punt.

BROWNS: The Browns clearly were playing out the string, on the game and on the season.

Drive: 2:04, 4 plays, 5 yards. Punt.

EAGLES: Kyle Eckel carried six straight times before Sav Rocca punted.

Drive: 3:33, 6 plays, 18 yards. Punt.

BROWNS: Play it out, guys.

Drive: 58 seconds, 5 plays, 5 yards. End of game.

FINALLY. There's very little to conclude from so easy a win over so outclassed an opponent, especially when the opponent is looking forward so ardently to Dec. 28.

Whether Washington can provide any more opposition next week is hard to say.

Is that a good thing?