Eagles Win, Land In Playoffs

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb fires a pass over Browns lineman Marcus Spriggs.
Andy Reid has lifted his ban of the "P" word. Now that they're in, his Philadelphia Eagles are free to say playoffs as often as they'd like.

Donovan McNabb passed for a career-high 390 yards and four touchdowns Sunday as the Eagles clinched an NFC postseason berth for the first time since 1996 with a 35-24 win over the revived Cleveland Browns.

"We can say it now," said Reid, taking the Eagles to the postseason in just his second year as coach. "We had goals, the playoffs were one of them."

With the win, the Eagles (10-5) continued their startling turnaround under Reid from a 5-11 season in 1999. McNabb is the main reason for the Eagles' resurgence and it could be argued that he's been his team's and the league's MVP this year.

"He gets my MVP vote," said tight end Chad Lewis, who was McNabb's favorite target early and caught five passes for 100 yards. "It's like he feels no pressure and is having fun. And we're having fun with him."

Related Links

Game Summary

  • NFL Stats
  • Transactions
  • Standing outside his team's locker room, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie gushed with praise for his second-year coach and QB.

    "We had to make two gigantic selections head coach and quarterback and we got it right in both cases," Lurie said. "It's great to be going in (the playoffs) with a team that's only going to get better and better."

    McNabb has been called a running quarterback, but it was his pinpoint passing that did in the Browns, who used three quarterbacks two of them wide receivers but couldn't keep up with McNabb.

    "Maybe I answered some questions today, maybe not," McNabb said. "We have 10 wins and that's all that's on my mind. It (playoffs) has definitely not sunk in yet."

    McNabb, who spent most of his rookie season watching from the sideline, looked like a 10-year while dissecting Clevelnd's defense. Instead of running at the first hint of trouble, McNabb sat back in the pocket and picked the Browns apart.

    He threw two TD passes to Torrance Small in the first half and added two more scoring tosses to Charles Johnson in the third quarter when the Eagles opened a 35-14 lead.

    "He was in a zone," Johnson said. "He made great reads. One time I had to change my route and I was to go inside. I looked outside, and there was the ball, right on the money. You've got to respect that."

    McNabb had accounted for 74 percent of Philadelphia's total net yardage coming in and he raised that figure by getting 402 yards of total offense. He went 23-for-36 and also led the Eagles on a pair of 98-yard scoring drives.

    "He was right on from the beginning," Reid said. "There has been a lot of talk about him being MVP, and today I would have a hard time believing anybody's better. When the pressure is on, he's even that much better."

    The Browns (3-12) dropped their fourth straight, but for the first time in three weeks they didn't get embarrassed. Cleveland did commit four turnovers, but the Browns kept their fans interested most of the afternoon and actually outgained the Eagles.

    Rookie Travis Prentice had a pair of 1-yard TD runs for Cleveland, which had been outscored 116-17 in its last three games and 92-7 the past two weeks.

    Amid speculation that his job might be in jeopardy, Cleveland coach Chris Palmer decided it was time to open up the offense. He used wide receivers Kevin Johnson and Dennis Northcutt at quarterback along with starter Doug Pederson.

    "We thought we could surprise them with some things we did," Palmer said. "I'm proud of how hard we played."

    Pederson, who started nine games for the Eagles last season and was McNabb's mentor before being waived at the end of training camp, went 29-for-40 for 309 yards.

    "We can try it (three QBs) again," Pederson said. "It keeps a defense on its heels."

    Several Browns dismissed reports that Palmer had lost the confidence of his players.

    "He hasn't lost the team," linebacker Jamir Miller said. "I don't know who made that implication about Chris losing the team, but they are completely wrong."


  • This is the Eagles' first 10-win season since '96.
  • Lewis is the first Eagles TE to get 100 receiving yards in a game since Keith Jackson in 1989.
  • McNabb went over 3,000 passing yards. Prentice's seven rushing TDs are tied for second most in a season for a Browns rookie. Jim Brown scored nine TDs rushing in 1957.
  • Philly's 6-2 road record is its best since '91.

    ©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed