Eagles-Browns: What we saw

Eagles' Stewart Bradley celebrates tackling Jamal Lewis for a loss.
Eagles' Stewart Bradley celebrates tackling Jamal Lewis for a loss.
Posted: December 16, 2008

Each week, Daily News football writer Paul Domowitch will tell you the things he will be keeping his eyes on during that week's game. Here's how those things panned out last night:

1. Protect the ball: The Browns haven't done a lot of things well this season, but forcing turnovers has been one of them. Coming into the game, their 26 takeaways were the second most in the league. Against the Eagles, the Browns had three interceptions - picking off passes by Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb and DeSean Jackson - and ran back one for a touchdown.

2. Neutralizing Cribbs: The Eagles knew they couldn't afford to let Josh Cribbs become a factor. Listed as a wide receiver, the former Kent State quarterback is a multidimensional weapon, who runs, throws and returns kickoffs. Last night, he had five carries for 25 yards, threw one incomplete pass, and returned three kickoffs for 63 yards.

3. Run, Brian, run: The Eagles knew the Browns are not very good at stopping the run, which is why they rushed 33 times for 134 yards (a 4.1 average). Brian Westbrook led the way with 16 carries for 53 yards.

4. (Don't) block that kick: David Akers has had three field-goal attempts blocked this season, including two that were returned for touchdowns. Both of the blocks that resulted in TDs, including the one last week vs. the Giants, came up the middle. That was a concern against the Browns because that's where nose tackle Shaun Rogers lines up. Rogers leads all active NFL players with 12 blocked kicks. But neither he, nor his teammates, got a hand on any of Akers' three field goals last night.

5. Defending the run: With the Browns down to their third quarterback, weak-armed Ken Dorsey, they had to be able to run the ball to have any hope of pulling off an upset. In their four wins this season, they averaged 4.4 yards per carry. In their nine losses, 3.7. Last night, they ran the ball just 20 times for 57 yards, averaging a pitiful 2.9 yards per carry.

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