Defense stands tall in 4th quarter

Some observations from the Eagles' win over the San Francisco 49ers, heading into the bye ...

* The fourth-quarter gut check: Eagles entered the fourth quarter down by nine points and their season on the brink of collapse. Then Jim Johnson’s defense forced three turnovers in a 6-minute span, the offense scored on three consecutive possessions and the Eagles head into the bye week 3-3 rather than 2-4.  After posting just 19 takeaways in 2007, the Eagles have notched 12 through six games.

* The ongoing special-teams struggles: David Akers converted 4 of 5 field-goal attempts, but one of them was a too-close-for-comfort 38-yarder that may or may not have been good. And his 54-yarder at the end of the first half not only was blocked, but returned for a touchdown. And did I mention that they gave up a 45-yard punt return to Allen Rossum?

* Another tight end has a picnic at the Eagles’ expense: The Niners’ Vernon Davis, who had just five receptions in the first five games, had six catches for 75 yards against the Eagles, including a 57-yarder. If you’re counting, that’s 36 catches for 493 yards and two touchdowns by opposing tight ends in six games.

* Buckhalter comes up big: Without Brian Westbrook, the Eagles needed a big effort from his backup, Correll Buckhalter. They got it. He notched 178 rushing and receiving yards against the 49ers. Buckhalter averaged 5.2 yards per carry, but showed he can be a contributor in the passing game, catching seven passes for 85 yards.

* Another terrific game from the rookie: DeSean Jackson, who got the cold shoulder from Donovan McNabb last week, catching just one pass for 8 yards, had six receptions for 98 yards against the 49ers. He also had a 19-yard punt return.

* Time off: Andy Reid will address the media today in his weekly news conference and then has given the players off for thebe until next Monday, when they will begin preparing for the surprising Atlanta Falcons and Penn Charter product Matt Ryan.

* Donovan and Andy: Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid won their 76th game together, surpassing Bill Walsh and Joe Montana as the winningest head-coach/quarterback tandem who started their careers together … Reid won the 99th game (including playoffs) of his career today. He needs one more victory to become the 37th head coach in NFL history and seventh active coach (Mike Holmgren, Mike Shanahan, Bill Belichick, Tony Dungy, Jeff Fisher, and Tom Coughlin are the others) to reach 100. He would also become the just the 22nd coach to win 100 games with one franchise.

* Up the ladder: With 278 yards passing and 2 touchdowns on 36 attempts, Donovan McNabb moved past Ron Jaworski to become the franchise leader in both attempts and yards. He now leads the Eagles in attempts (3,943), completions (2,324), yards (26,978), and touchdowns (179), joining Colts QB Peyton Manning as the only two quarterbacks in the NFL to lead their current team in all four categories.