The opening drives were very similar, the difference being that the Eagles got a pretty 14-yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb to Kevin Curtis at the end of theirs, and the Browns got a third-down drop from Darnell Dinkins and a 27-yard Phil Dawson field goal. The Eagles drove 64 yards in eight plays, the Browns 63 yards in nine.
The Eagles' next drive went 51 yards on 12 plays; the Browns snapped a streak of four successive Eagles third down conversions when they got pressure on McNabb on third and goal from the 6, and he couldn't hit L.J. Smith in the back of the end zone, McNabb throwing across his body while rolling away. David Akers' 24-yard field goal made it 10-3 Eagles with 49 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Updating: The Eagles' third drive should have yielded points, but Andy Reid's love of trickery intruded. On third and goal from the Browns' 7, the Birds lined up in their wildcat formation. Now, it's unlikely DeSean Jackson is going to try to run it in from the 7. So Cleveland did not look shocked when Jackson tried to pass it softly (softly!) across the middle. Sean Jones intercepted.
But it was all good six plays later, when Chris Clemons pressured Ken Dorsey, and Dorsey threw the ball to Asante Samuel. Samuel ran the pick 50 yards for a touchdown and a 17-3 lead. Actually, he seemed to continue an Eagles Monday Night Football tradition, started by Jackson at Dallas, of inexplicably flipping the ball just short of the goal line, but at least he flipped it ahead, unlike Jackson, and then he ran over to it and grabbed it. Here at Eagletarian rulebook central, opinions are divided on whether that was kosher.