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Eagles Notes: Lost chances: Even defense dropped passes

LANDOVER, Md. - The Eagles' offense will get the brunt of the blame for a day when the receivers and tight end had a terminal case of the drops.

LANDOVER, Md. - The Eagles' offense will get the brunt of the blame for a day when the receivers and tight end had a terminal case of the drops.

Asante Samuel knows, however, that he could have made a difference yesterday.

A drop by the Eagles cornerback could have given the struggling offense much-needed momentum and field position.

With 11 minutes, 29 seconds remaining, Washington quarterback Jason Campbell threw a ball up for grabs along the Redskins' sideline.

Samuel was the only person who had any chance at catching the football, and if he did, he might have returned it into Redskins territory or possibly even into the end zone.

Instead, he did what the Eagles' offensive players did seven times during the team's damaging 10-3 loss at FedEx Field - he dropped it.

"They brought me here to make those plays, and I didn't make it," Samuel said. "I just dropped it. It's real frustrating. We were trying to chop at the wood and make the playoffs, and we needed this today. It hurts."

Samuel was not the only Eagles defensive player to drop a pass.

Late in the first half, safety Quintin Mikell could have prevented a field goal if he had come down with a third-down pass by Campbell in the end zone.

"We dropped balls on defense, too," Mikell said. "I dropped one, Asante dropped a pick. You can talk about the could haves and would haves, but we didn't get the job done."

Death by punting. Eagles coach Andy Reid singled out the performance of Redskins punter Ryan Plackemeier after the game, and with good reason. Plackemeier placed five punts inside the 20-yard line and four inside the 10 as the Eagles struggled the entire second half to get decent field position.

"Field position was a huge factor," Reid said. "Their punter did a great job."

Reid did, of course, point out that his offense did an abysmal job of getting out of that terrible field position. The Eagles went three-and-out on their first four possessions of the final quarter, picking up just 20 yards.

A wasted timeout. The Eagles burned a time-out before a third-down play on their first possession of the second half. It was a time-out they desperately needed at the end of the game.

"I screwed up a call," Reid said when asked about the time-out.

Injury report. Guard Todd Herremans played despite a sprained ankle he suffered Thursday in practice, but wide receiver Kevin Curtis did not dress after straining a calf muscle in the Eagles' win over Cleveland. It was the seventh game Curtis has missed this season. He also sat out the first six games while recovering from surgery to repair a sports hernia.

With Curtis and Hank Baskett (sprained knee ligament) out, Reggie Brown dressed for the first time since a Nov. 27 game against Arizona and started for the first time since the Eagles' home game against the Redskins on Oct. 5. Brown finished with four catches for 47 yards.

Reid did not report any other injuries after the game.

Extra points. The Eagles' game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday will remain a 1 p.m. start. . . . David Akers' third-quarter field goal was his 30th of the season, tying a team record he had already shared with Paul McFadden. . . . Quarterback Donovan McNabb completed 26 of 46 passes for 230 yards. He has a team-record 333 completions this season. McNabb completed 330 passes in 2000.

Safety Brian Dawkins and some of his Eagles teammates are taking part in a coat drive today benefiting the United Way of Camden County and the Salvation Army. The drive is being held at the Ravitz Family ShopRite at Routes 70 and 73 in Marlton. In an effort to collect as many new and lightly worn coats as possible, Dawkins and his teammates will be on hand from 4 to 8 p.m. to sign autographs in exchange for every donation. Akers, Mikell, linebacker Chris Gocong, offensive tackle Tra Thomas, defensive lineman Victor Abiamiri, tight end Brent Celek and former Eagles receiver and current announcer Mike Quick also are scheduled to be on hand. Call 856-983-7370 for information.