Birds Up 28-7; Actual Run Blocking Sighted

This has been a messy, off-kilter game, but maybe the Eagles have restored order with a two-play, 27-yard touchdown drive that gave them a 28-7 lead midway through the third. Brian Westbrook caught a 20-yard pass, after Asante Samuel's second interception of the day. Then, a real rarity -- a 7-yard Westbrook touchdown run off tackle, that was really well-blocked by the o-line. Not from the Wildcat, or with Leonard Weaver quarterbacking, or anything, just a plain old touchdown run.

Previously: Halftime has come, after a really strange Bucs drive that included a 15-yard ramble with a deflected pass by offensive tackle Donald Penn. The Birds were fortunate that the final play was an Asante Samuel pick of another deflection.

Had rookie Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris not taken the field goal attempt out of his playbook this week, the score could be 21-16 instead of 21-7. The Eagles have taken 8 penalties for 75 yards, which is really absurd and undisciplined.

On the positive side, Donovan McNabb, who has hardly been on the field, has made the most of his 11 pass attempts, completing 8 for 180 yards and 3 TDs. That's 16.4 yards per attempt. Jeremy Maclin has three catches for 108 yards and 2 of the TDs. Brian Westbrook has just three carries for 8 yards, but the Birds have run just 19 plays, in eight minutes and 53 seconds of possession time.

Dimitri Patterson seemed to blow out a quad on a punt cover, and Ellis Hobbs is getting x-rays for a wrist injury.

 

Previously:Well, just when the blowout skids seemed greased, Josh Johnson drove the Bucs 80 yards in five plays against a sleepwalking Eagles secondary, culminating in a 9-yard TD pass to tight end Kellen Winslow, against Macho Harris/ Harris had a hand on the ball and Winslow was moving it around as he danced out of the back of the end zone, but the TD held up under review.

As we were typing this, though, Donovan McNabb hit Jeremy Maclin from 40 yards for Maclin's second TD and a 21-7 Birds lead.

Previously: Eagles penalties fueled a really frustrating Tampa drive, but it ended in disaster for the winless Bucs -- quel surprise -- when QB Josh Johnson fumbled a fourth-and-1 snap at the Birds' 24. Akeem Jordan dug the ball out and ran it in for an Eagles TD, that was overturned on review. Ruling was that Johnson had pinned the ball against his leg briefly while the Birds were digging it out. No worries; it took Donovan McNabb six plays to make it 14-0, on a 20-yard TD pass to fullback Leonard Weaver.

Previously: We're so sorry, Uncle Elbert: Eagles' second play, Donovan McNabb throws a perfect strike over Tampa CB Elbert Mack -- good job keeping the ball away from Ronde Barber there, DMac -- 51 yards for a TD to rookie Jeremy Maclin. It's Maclin's first NFL TD. Probably not his last. BTW, Jeremiah Trotter started at middle linebacker.

Previously: Inactives are in and there are a few mild surprises --- the Eagles arefully activating three quarterbacks, meaning a special teams player is inactive who otherwise would play. In this case, that would be either Quintin Demps or Joe Mays, neither of whom will suit up against Tampa.

The other surprise is that defensive tackle Trevor Laws is inactive, in favor of preseason pickup Antonio Dixon. As expected, Kevin Curtis is inactive, replaced in the starting lineup by Jeremy Maclin.

Brandon Gibson, Mike McGlynn, Todd Herremans and Jason Babin also will not play. Stay tuned.

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Earlier:  The Eagles are back in action after te bye, facing the winless Tampa Bay Bucs at the Linc ...

Stay with Eagletarian all day for posts before and after the game from the stadium, but we kick off Week 5 with our staff predictions and key matchups:

STAFF PREDICTIONS

Les Bowen: Eagles, 27-10 (More on Les' selection here)

Ed Barkowitz: Eagles, 31-10

Paul Domowitch: Eagles, 38-10

Marcus Hayes: Eagles, 28-17

John Smallwood: Eagles, 30-10

Vegas Vic: Eagles, 31-10 (Here is Vic's take on Week 5)

DOMO'S KEY MATCHUPS

1. Eagles SS Quintin Mikell vs. Bucs TE Kellen Winslow: Mikell was one of the keys to the Eagles' second-half improvement vs. opposing TEs last season. Advantage: Eagles

2. Eagles MLBs Omar Gaither/Jeremiah Trotter vs. Bucs RBs Cadillac Williams/Derrick Ward: Williams is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. He rushed for 97 yards on 13 carries in Week 1 vs. Dallas. Advantage: Even

3. Eagles WR DeSean Jackson vs. Bucs CB Aqib Talib: Talib, who had three interceptions last week vs. Redskins, is one of the league's better young cover corners. Jackson is averaging 21.6 yards per catch and has two TDs. Advantage: Eagles

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