AFC North: MNF15 Eagles

Eagles keep pushing for playoffs

December, 16, 2008
 Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
 Donovan McNabb and the Eagles have won three straight.

Posted by's James Walker

PHILADELPHIA -- Tease or contender?

Playoff bound or delaying the inevitable?

These questions still remain unanswered following the Philadelphia Eagles' easy 30-10 romp over the Cleveland Browns on "Monday Night Football." The Eagles (8-5-1) are playing their best football of the season, outscoring their last three opponents 98-44, but they remain on the outside of the NFC playoff race.

Over the past four years, the postseason has begun in December for the Eagles. This has been both a blessing and a curse during the Andy Reid-Donovan McNabb era in Philadelphia.

For whatever reason, the Eagles in recent seasons have slumped at midseason but found a way to finish strong. Sometimes it leads to a postseason berth. Other times, such as last season, the team falls short.

Philadelphia is trying desperately to avoid back-to-back non-playoff seasons for the first time under Reid. In addition to Monday's win over Cleveland, the Eagles will need to sweep a pair of NFC East rivals -- the Washington Redskins (7-7) and Dallas Cowboys (9-5) -- to have a chance.

"The players understand what's at stake," Reid said of the final two weeks. "You saw that by their effort tonight. They played a very aggressive game on both sides of the ball and special teams."

But don't read too much into Monday's victory.

Cleveland, losers of four straight, was the perfect prey for the surging Eagles. The Browns (4-10) have a coach in the hot seat, two injured quarterbacks, and they haven't scored an offensive touchdown since Nov. 17.

The Eagles were sloppy at times with three turnovers. But Philadelphia took care of business by jumping out to a 17-3 lead and never looked back. The 20-point win could have been more lopsided had the Eagles not thrown two interceptions in the end zone and pulled their starters early in the fourth quarter.

"Our guys tried," Browns head coach Romeo Crennel said. "But I don't think we have enough ammunition to match up with them."

The Eagles have been among the most schizophrenic teams in the NFL this season. The same team that blew out the Arizona Cardinals by four touchdowns on Thanksgiving lost to the Baltimore Ravens by 29 points and benched McNabb five days prior.

Now McNabb is back. He looks far removed from the lowest point of his career and put up another stellar game Monday, completing 26 of 35 passes for 290 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 105.7 passer rating.

"He's playing like he does," Reid said. "This is what Donovan McNabb is all about."

McNabb and the Eagles need to maintain this level of play. McNabb is once again playing confident football and the vintage smile is back on the face of the veteran quarterback.

"I'm always happy. I'm happy to be out here just playing football and that's the most important thing," McNabb said. "That's something I told myself no matter what situation I'm in, I'm going to have a ball out here and the people around me are going to enjoy it, too."

The Eagles will need to upend two teams that beat them earlier in the year in Washington and Dallas. Philadelphia believes it's a different team now, but a pair of wins still could leave the team sitting at home.

The Eagles also need help in the form of a loss by either the Atlanta Falcons (9-5) or Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5) in the final two weeks.

But this is usually the type of situation that brings the best out of the Eagles. Whether it works this year or it's too late remains to be seen.

Rapid Reaction: Eagles 30, Browns 10

December, 15, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

PHILADELPHIA -- If the players are still fighting for Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, it's very difficult to tell.

The Browns put together their fourth consecutive listless performance during a 30-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on "Monday Night Football." A nationwide audience got to see the train wreck Cleveland (4-10) has become since its head coach and many others within the organization have come under fire.

Cleveland had no chance against the surging Eagles (8-5-1) with a porous defense and a third-string quarterback in Ken Dorsey (156 yards, two interceptions). The Browns have gone four consecutive weeks without an offensive touchdown, as cornerback Brandon McDonald recorded a "pick six" in the fourth quarter.

The loss broke Cleveland's two-game winning streak on "Monday Night Football." The Browns will finish their season against two division rivals in the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Another good night for McNabb

December, 15, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb is having another solid outing.

The longtime Eagle is looking sharp in tonight's 30-3 rout over the Cleveland Browns. McNabb so far has thrown for 290 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Jason Avant has been the target of choice with five catches for 101 receiving yards so far.

At this point, the Browns are simply trying to get out of Philadelphia with no more injuries or embarrassment.

Update [11:08]: With under 10 minutes remaining in the game, McNabb has come out and backup quarterback Kevin Kolb has come in.

Browns' Heiden out for game

December, 15, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

PHILADELPHIA -- The Cleveland Browns likely suffered another serious injury Monday as starting tight end Steve Hieden hurt his right knee and ankle.

Heiden, who recently replaced the injured Kellen Winslow Jr., went down in the third quarter and needed to be carted off the field. With just two games remaining, his prospects for the rest of the season look grim.

Backup tight ends Darnell Dinkins and Martin Rucker will replace Heiden for the rest of the game. The Eagles are cruising 23-3.

Browns' Dorsey struggling again

December, 15, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

PHILADELPHIA -- The rout is on at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Philadelphia Eagles have been dominant, marching up and down the field and taking a 17-3 lead in the second quarter.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Ken Dorsey is being battered for the second straight week. He gave up a "pick six" to Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel, has been sacked once, and hit several more times.

You wonder if the Browns are due for a quarterback change in the second half? The team signed Bruce Gradkowski recently and hasn't scored an offensive touchdown since Nov. 17.

Eagles strike at Browns early

December, 15, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles, as heavy favorites, are doing exactly what they should against the struggling Cleveland Browns on "Monday Night Football."

Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb connected for a 14-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Curtis to complete an eight-play, 64-yard drive to take an early 7-0 lead.

With playoff hopes on the line, the Eagles do not want to let the Browns hang around for a potential upset. It will be interesting to see if Philadelphia puts Cleveland away early.

Browns-Eagles inactives

December, 15, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

PHILADELPHIA -- Here are the inactives for Monday night's game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns.


QB A.J. Feeley

RB Lorenzo Booker

LB Joe Mays

DE Bryan Smith

OT Chris Patrick

OG/T Shawn Andrews

WR Reggie Brown

TE Matt Schobel


CB Travis Daniels

RB Jerome Harrison

S Hamza Abdullah

LB Kris Griffin

LB Beau Bell

OL Scott Young

TE Kellen Winslow Jr.

DL Santonio Thomas

Schottenheimer: Browns job not likely

December, 8, 2008

Posted by's James Walker

 George Rose/Getty Images
  Former Cleveland coach Marty Schottenheimer says he won't be returning to coach the Browns.

The Cleveland Browns are interested in Marty Schottenheimer, but the former longtime NFL coach says the feeling is not mutual.

Schottenheimer, in an interview with Adam Schein of Sirius NFL radio Monday, responded to the Browns' interest in him to become their next head coach. He was an assistant and head coach in Cleveland from 1980-88.

"I don't see that as being likely at all. I really don't," Schottenheimer, 65, said of returning to the Browns more than 20 years later. "I've made a major change in my life and, again, the only thing I always say, Adam, as a caveat, I don't ever make a decision if I don't have to and thus I haven't made one."

Schottenheimer went on to say the Browns have not contacted him about the job. But some league insiders believe the Browns are clearly interested and started leaking feelers behind-the-scenes to the media to gauge the interest and monitor Schottenheimer's response. It's a practice that happens in the NFL, especially when a current coach (in this case Romeo Crennel) is still on board.

Schottenheimer reiterated his unwillingness to get back into coaching next year but did jokingly bring up an asking price that's out of everyone's range.

"If they want to pay me $30 million a year, I'll have to talk about it," Schottenheimer said. "But actually you couldn't even take the $30 million because we need it for the government so we can get out of this financial crisis we're in. I have not spoken to anybody from there and the likelihood is, if indeed I were to, I don't see it [as being] likely."