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This McNabb benching good for Philly

This McNabb benching good for Philly

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 3:48 pm

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Donovan McNabb is getting used to watching the end of games on the sideline.
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 straight 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 at home against Dallas — and need Atlanta or Tampa Bay to lose once to secure a playoff berth.
Benched for the first time in his career at halftime of a loss at Baltimore on Nov. 23, McNabb is playing like a guy who never wants to sit again — unless the outcome is already decided. He came out early against Arizona during a 48-20 win on Thanksgiving and gave way to Kevin Kolb with 10 minutes left in this one.
“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 have to prove anything. In my 10-year career, my body of work speaks for itself.”
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 their 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.
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.
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.
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 second and ran it back 98 yards to the Eagles 7.
McDonald was chased by Brian Westbrook and finally caught from behind by Hank Baskett, the intended receiver on the play.
Cleveland’s Ken Dorsey, making his second straight start for the injured Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, was intercepted twice.
McNabb 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.
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 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.”
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.


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