Harder than Necessary

Update: Another clutch drive -- they're just a fourth-quarter team, these Birds. Sixty-six yards, 10 plays, a 32-yard David Akers field goal, and a 27-24 lead with 1:48 left. That's 16 in a row for the kicker.

Brodrick Bunkley (ankle) and DeSean Jackson (head and neck) are out for the Birds.

Fasten your seatbelts.

Earlier: The Redskins continue their clever plan of stumbling into third and long and then uncorking a huge gain. Or the Eagles' defense continues to trip over its own feet, you decide.

Redskins just took the lead again, 21-16, with another 80-yard touchdown drive; an offense that scored 6 points last week against the Cowboys is dazzling the Birds.

The Washington third down count is now 7 for 11 after Joe Mays left receiver Fred Davis to chase Jason Campbell, who easily flicked the ball to Davis for a TD on third and 7 from the Eagles' 10. The third and 7 before that, Victor Abaimiri should have sacked Campbell, but missed him, and Campbell hit Devin Thomas for a 35-yard gain.

The third down before that, third and 10 from the Redskins' 20, Campbell hit tight end Davis and he rambled 29 yards, eluding Macho Harris and Quintin Demps.

And now the Eagles are about to punt because they're 2 for 9 on third down. So far, the story of the game.

Earlier: The Birds got an Asante Samuel pick at the Redskins' 21 and did nothing with it, Donovan McNabb's third and goal pass from the 10 going to Jason Avant at the 6, with about umpteen zillion Redskins between Avant and the end zone. So, another David Akers field goal and a 14-13 deficit, with 52 seconds left in the half. Whoopie.

Wait a minute, Trent Cole just hit Campbell and Samuel intercepted again. Forty-one yard David Akers field goal, 16-14 lead. Significant? The Birds haven't won a game all season after trailing at the half.

Previously: Boy, you can really see this Eagles defense has a lot of limping key parts right now. The 'Skins are less than 1 point away from their season scoring average with 11:44 left in the second quarter, after driving 80 yards on 13 plays to take the lead, 14-10, a 4-yard Jason Campbell slant to Santana Moss. Key play, though, was third and 9 from  the Redskins' 49, on which the Birds got no pressure with their blitz and Quintin Demps gave Devin Thomas about a 15-yard cushion. The 12-yard third-down conversion looked effortless. Then Campbelll threw a lovely 27-yard completion down the right sideline, again under no pressure, to Malcom Kelly, and the Eagles were reeling.

Earlier: Thanks to DeSean Jackson, the Eagles are finally winning, 10-7. First, DJax set the Birds up on their 49 with an amazing, right to left to right 29-yard punt return. Then he hauled in a 35-yard Donovan McNabb TD pass -- Jackson's shortest of the season, oddly enough -- on third and 5.

Earlier: How do you dig an early hole against an offense that hardly ever scores? Why, you start the game with an onside kick that doesn't work, and you take a 5-yard penalty for an illegal touch, setting the other team up on your 19.

If this were a sitcom, the rest of the blurb would say, "hilarity ensues." In this case, four plays later it was 7-0, Washington, Jason Campbell rolling right and running in from the 1.

The Eagles came back with a snappy drive that ended with a 29-yard David Akers field goal, which should have been a touchdown. The Eagles were ripping through the interior of the Washington line, until they got to third and goal from the 1, which of course meant a well-covered roll to the right that Donovan McNabb ended up throwing away.

The Birds went for it on fourth down and scored, on a pass to DeSean Jackson, but Brent Celek's move was ruled a pick, and offensive pass interference, setting up the field goal.

So the score: Eagles 3, Andy Reid 14, for the onside kick and the stupid rollout play on third and goal.

Earlier:  The most notable news from the inactive list is that as expected, dominant Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth will sit for the second week in a row with an ankle injury. This means Washington is without the four players most people would consider their best -- running back Clinton Portis, tight end Chris Cooley, Haynesworth and left tackle Chris Samuels. The 'Skins also are missing corner DeAngelo Hall.. Washington did not activate guard Paul Fanaika, signed off the Eagles' practice squad this past week.

For the Eagles, it's another week of watching for guard Stacy Andrews. Corners Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown, and middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter are playing, as expected. The other inactives are CB Geoffrey Pope, signed this past week, running backs P.J. Hill and Brian Westbrook, offensive lineman Mike McGlynn, wideout Kevin Curtis and linebacker Akeem Jordan. Kevin Kolb is the third quarterback.

The Eagles are wearing their black jerseys today, for the first time this season. I've always thought the jerseys were a decent idea, but they needed to do something else to make the look work -- silver or black pants? Black helmet with green wings? The team can't sell a bunch of that stuff to the public, though, which is why they only bothered to mess with the jersey.

Looks like a lovely day for football. Stay tuned.