Scroll down the list of the leading receivers in the NFL and it takes a little while to find one who wears an Eagles uniform.

Look, there's one, rookie DeSean Jackson, tied with two others at No. 30 with 58 catches, right there along with a noisy fellow named Terrell Owens. Keep scrolling and you will find no other Eagles among the top 50.

Then scroll down the list of Eagles who caught passes in Monday night's breezy 30-10 win over Cleveland. That, too, takes a little while. Nine Eagles were on the receiving end of Donovan McNabb's 26 completions.

The five wide receivers - Jackson, Jason Avant, Kevin Curtis, Hank Baskett and Greg Lewis - combined for 18 catches for 248 yards and two touchdowns.

The point is that even though the Eagles may not have a dominant receiver who commands double coverage and has the blessing of critics, they have plenty of decent receivers to go to. They are the only team in the NFL to have six players with 30 or more catches, and have 10 with at least one touchdown grab. Only the New Orleans Saints, with 11, have more.

With three straight wins that have them one-half game behind Dallas, Atlanta and Tampa Bay in the race for the second NFC wild-card spot, the Eagles are in a holiday rush to make the playoffs largely because McNabb has done little wrong since he was benched at halftime of last month's loss to Baltimore.

He's at his best when he's spreading the ball around, which is made possible when the Eagles are running the ball effectively. In the first half against the Browns, McNabb hit seven receivers with 15 completions.

"You know, when teams are focusing on [Brian] Westbrook like they have, it makes it a lot easier for us," Avant said after hauling in five passes for a career high of 101 yards, a 20.2-yard average. "You've got to be able to run the ball to pass the ball effectively. We're thankful for Westbrook."

Of course, it helps when the receivers are catching the ball, and the Eagles' wide receivers have transformed themselves from a group that was all thumbs much of the season to one that has become sure-handed.

Unofficially, the Eagles have dropped only three passes in the last three games. In the first 11 games, they dropped 25, which coach Andy Reid said yesterday were the most in the league.

"They seem to be playing well," Reid said of his wide receivers. "They've all got one or two redeeming qualities, and Don's using those."

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg "is doing a great job of setting those up in the offense, and the guys are catching the football," Reid added.

There's no easy explanation for why the receivers have shed their Edward Scissorhands reputation in the last three games. Avant offered a hint, suggesting that the benching of McNabb snapped everyone else to attention.

Said Avant: "To see a guy get benched for things that we'd done as an offense - it was one of those things that we wanted to pick up our play for him because he was taking the brunt of the punch when all of us should have been taking it. It helped us out."

The precision that has developed between McNabb and his receivers in the last three games may also have something to do with streamlining. In a move designed to shake McNabb out of a three-game funk that led to his benching, the Eagles began activating five wide receivers instead of six and reduced the in-and-out shuffling among them. At the time, Reid said the move was made to sharpen the timing between them and the quarterback.

The odd man out has been Reggie Brown, whose role was reduced even before he was deactivated for the last two games.

In the meantime, Avant has emerged as a sure-handed target, especially on third down. He has 30 catches, 15 of them on third down.

"He has great change of direction," Reid said. "And he has phenomenal hands, very strong to the football. And Donovan has a lot of trust in him, that he's going to be there when he needs him."

On Monday night, Avant "was going against a lot of man coverage, and I thought he did very well shaking the coverage," Reid said.

Since the benching, McNabb has been at his best. During the three-game winning streak, he has completed 69.2 percent of his passes, with seven touchdowns and one interception, for a passer rating of 107.9. The Eagles are 39-2 when he has a passer rating of more than 100.

Asked whether the benching fueled McNabb's surge in production, Reid said: "It tells you about the kid, what a great person he is, what a great football player he is. I think he's playing right now as well as he's ever played. I think the city of Philadelphia is very fortunate to have him. I know we are as an organization."

Contact staff writer Ray Parrillo
at 215-854-2743 or rparrillo@phillynews.com.