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Cleveland at Philadelphia

Eagles dump Browns, stay close in NFC wild-card race

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

PHILADELPHIA -- Written off last month, the resurgent Philadelphia Eagles are making a strong playoff push.

Donovan McNabb threw for 290 yards and two touchdowns, Asante Samuel scored on an interception return and the Eagles beat the struggling Cleveland Browns 30-10 on Monday night for their third consecutive victory.

Philadelphia (8-5-1) remained a half-game behind three teams in the race for the two NFC wild-card spots. The Eagles have to win their final two games -- at Washington and home against Dallas -- and need Atlanta or Tampa Bay to lose once to secure a playoff berth.

"We put everything together and we're playing some pretty good ball right now," said safety Brian Dawkins, who set a team record by playing his 181st game with the Eagles. "We are a very, very confident group and we're looking forward to this next game."

The Browns (4-10) have lost four in a row. At least they finally scored a touchdown on Brandon McDonald's 24-yard interception return in the fourth quarter. The Browns, who didn't reach the end zone in the previous three games, could be looking for a new coach to replace Romeo Crennel after the season.

"Our guys tried but I don't think we have enough ammunition to match up with them," Crennel said. "We fought in there defensively. We gave up some yards and got some turnovers. We were ineffective running the ball."

Jason Avant had five receptions for 101 yards -- his first career 100-yard game. McNabb finished 26-of-35 before he was replaced by Kevin Kolb with more than 10 minutes remaining.

Just three weeks ago, the Eagles were in shambles. People were calling for coach Andy Reid to be fired and McNabb's days in Philadelphia seemed numbered after he was benched for the first time in his career at halftime of a 36-7 loss at Baltimore.

But the Eagles answered with impressive wins over the playoff-bound Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants. They easily handled the Browns, despite squandering several opportunities.

"I don't go back to the benching because I personally don't agree with the benching," McNabb said. "I tried not to let it affect me. I don't I have to prove anything. In my 10-year career, my body of work speaks for itself."

The Eagles reached the red zone on all seven possessions with McNabb under center, but managed just two touchdowns and three field goals. They had a 17-3 lead at halftime that likely would've been bigger if it weren't for two interceptions in the end zone.

Rookie wide receiver DeSean Jackson threw the first one after taking a direct snap at the 7. Sean Jones made a diving catch to pick off Jackson's underthrown pass early in the second quarter.

McDonald then intercepted McNabb's pass on the final play of the first half and ran it back 98 yards to the Eagles 7. McDonald was chased by Brian Westbrook and finally caught from behind by Hank Baskett, who was the intended receiver on the play.

Cleveland's Ken Dorsey, making his second consecutive start for the injured Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, was intercepted twice.

"I made two mistakes that cost us pretty good," Dorsey said. "I can't put the defense in that spot."

Since his benching, McNabb has played like the guy who went to five Pro Bowls and led the Eagles to four consecutive NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl. He has completed 72 of 104 passes for 741 yards, seven TDs and one interception in the last three games. His passer rating is 107.9 in those games.

"He's playing confident, he's being aggressive with the ball and he's managing the game very well," Reid said.

McNabb came out firing, completing all four of his passes on the opening possession, including a 14-yard strike to Kevin Curtis that gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead. A 20-yard completion to Avant on third-and-5 kept the drive going.

In the second quarter, Samuel stepped in front of Dorsey's pass intended for Donte' Stallworth and raced 50 yards for a touchdown to make it 17-3. It appeared Samuel tossed the ball aside at the 1 just like Jackson did against the Dallas Cowboys in a Monday night game in Week 2. But Samuel quickly picked the ball up in the end zone. The Browns didn't challenge, but it wouldn't have mattered.

It was the first touchdown this season for Samuel, who signed a $57.14 million, six-year free-agent contract in March.

"It was definitely overdue," Samuel said. "I dropped a couple. It was time to finally get one."

McNabb connected with Greg Lewis for a 10-yard TD pass that made it 30-3 in the fourth quarter.

Notes

  • Dawkins passed wide receiver Harold Carmichael on the team's career games list.
  • Philadelphia improved to 10-2 in December since 2006.
  • Cleveland's Phil Dawson kicked his 30th field goal, setting a single-season franchise record.
  • The Browns used three different starting QBs for their three Monday night games, going 2-1.
  • Cleveland has lost 10 or more games seven times since 1999.
  • TE Kellen Winslow (ankle) and RB Jerome Harrison (ribs) sat out for the Browns.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Donovan McNabb finishes 26-for-35 for 290 yards and two TDs along with one pick.
 
Donovan McNabb finishes 26-for-35 for 290 yards and two TDs along with one pick. (US Presswire)
 

 

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Related Links
 
Mon. Dec. 15Final
Cleveland
(4-10)
300710
10731030
CLE - Pass: K. Dorsey (11-28, 156), Rec: B. Edwards (5-102)
PHI - Pass: D. McNabb (26-35, 290), Rec: J. Avant (5-101)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDKevin Curtis, 14 Yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good), 10:45. Drive: 8 plays, 64 yards in 4:15.
FGPhil Dawson 27 Yd, 6:48. Drive: 9 plays, 63 yards in 3:57.
FGDavid Akers 24 Yd, 0:49. Drive: 12 plays, 51 yards in 5:59.
2ND QUARTER
TDAsante Samuel, 50 Yd interception return (David Akers kick is good), 4:45.
3RD QUARTER
FGDavid Akers 34 Yd, 3:34. Drive: 14 plays, 64 yards in 7:50.
4TH QUARTER
FGDavid Akers 34 Yd, 14:52. Drive: 7 plays, 29 yards in 2:39.
TDGreg Lewis, 10 Yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good), 11:14. Drive: 2 plays, 37 yards in 0:41.
TDBrandon McDonald, 24 Yd interception return (Phil Dawson kick is good), 9:11.
Players of the Game

D. McNabb
Att 35
Comp 26
Yds 290
TD 2

B. Edwards
Rec 5
Yds 102
Avg 20.4
TD 0
 
Cleveland
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
K. Dorsey11/2815602
J. Cribbs0/1000
RushingATTYDSTDLG
J. Lewis143207
J. Cribbs525011
K. Dorsey1000
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
B. Edwards5102028
L. Vickers121021
J. Lewis314010
D. Stallworth113013
D. Dinkins1606
Philadelphia
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
D. McNabb26/3529021
D. Jackson0/1001
K. Kolb0/2001
RushingATTYDSTDLG
C. Buckhalter655027
B. Westbrook1653010
K. Eckel92806
K. Kolb2-20-1
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. Avant5101025
D. Jackson577025
K. Curtis445116
H. Baskett315014
B. Westbrook31406
L. Smith213011
G. Lewis110110
B. Celek2908
D. Klecko1606
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
NYG 8 Final
DAL 20
NE 49 Final
OAK 26
MIN 35 Final
ARI 14
SEA 23 Final
STL 20
BUF 27 Final
NYJ 31
SF 9 Final
MIA 14
SD 22 Final
KC 21
GB 16 Final
JAC 20
DET 21 Final
IND 31
TEN 12 Final
HOU 13
WAS 13 Final
CIN 20
DEN 10 Final
CAR 30
PIT 13 Final
BAL 9
TB 10 Final
ATL 13
NO 24 Final
CHI 27