The Philadelphia Eagles keep their playoff hopes alive with a 30-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns at Lincoln Financial Field.
Donavan McNabb was benched again! This time it was because he amassed a large enough lead to earn a rest. McNabb was 26 for 35, throwing for 290 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Brian Westbook did not have a productive day. He touched the ball 19 times, gaining only 67 yards, 53 on the ground and 14 reception yards.
The veteran quarterback connected with Kevin Curtis for a touchdown on the first drive of the game and the Eagles never looked back.
Cleveland responded with a 27-yard field from Phil Dawson to make the score 7-3, but McNabb and the Eagles piled on five straight scores to put the game out of reach.
With a 27-point lead, backup quarterback Kevin Kolb got some playing time. He was 0 for 2 with one of his pass attempts intercepted and taken back for six. But that proved to be too little, too late.
Sophomore linebacker Stewart Bradley was everywhere. Stewart’s six tackles led all Eagles. Each of his tackles were solo efforts. The young backer also played a large roll in shutting down Ken Dorsey’s short passing game.
Cleveland’s third quarterback was held to 156 passing yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions. Bradley nabbed one of them.
Third year wide receiver Jason Avant led the Eagles with 101 receiving yards on five catches.
Jim Johnson’s blitz-happy defense held the Browns to 57 rushing yards and zero touchdowns.
After the game, Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young asked Donavan how the benching has affected him.
“I don’t go back the benching,” McNabb said, “because I, personally, don’t agree with it.”
He may not look back at his first ever experience on the pine, but it is on his mind.
“I kind of look at it and the situation like, ‘Why use me as the scapegoat?'” He went on to say, “there’s other ways of going about it.”
The resentment for the move could be what is fueling Birds’ turnaround. McNabb and Westbrook have greatly increased their production in the past three games. This must continue if they plan on making it to the post-season.
In order for Philly to make the Wild Card slot they will have to win their remaining games, at Washington and at home against Dallas, AND get a loss from the Atlanta Falcons OR the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Atlanta has games against Minnesota and St. Louis, while the Bucs host the Chargers and the Raiders in their sights.
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