Eagles throw away runs

The Baltimore Sun

The riddle of why the Eagles would throw 58 passes and run only 18 times on the oh-so-limp run defense of the Bengals last week is an ongoing enigma in Philadelphia.

But if coach Andy Reid didn't want to run the ball on the 25th-ranked run defense in the NFL, he certainly won't want to test the No. 3 run defense in Baltimore today against the Ravens. Will he? And if he doesn't have rugged RB Brian Westbrook, who didn't practice all week because of knee and ankle injuries, will he run at all?

In Reid's tenure, the Eagles have shown great disdain for the run. The Philadelphia Daily News wrote this week that the Eagles have the second-biggest pass-run disparity in the league, with 152 more pass attempts (391) than rushing attempts (239). Only the Colts (156 more passes) are more one-dimensional.

The fact that QB Donovan McNabb has struggled in the past four games (53.8 completion percentage with seven turnovers) makes the imbalance even more puzzling. These are numbers - and tendencies - the Ravens hope hold up today.

Around the league

One of the best - only? - feel-good stories out of Kansas City this season concerns the son of late Chiefs LB Derrick Thomas. Derrion Thomas, a senior defensive end for Blue Springs (Mo.) High, got four sacks in a state playoff win over Rockhurst High - wearing his father's shoulder pads. Earlier in the day, while speaking to students at the Derrick Thomas Academy (a school named after his father), Derrion was offered the use of the shoulder pads his father wore for his last game Jan. 2, 2000, by the Chiefs' equipment manager. "They were a perfect fit," Derrion said.

With 3,251 yards through 10 games, Saints QB Drew Brees is on pace to topple Dan Marino's single-season passing yardage record of 5,084, set in 1984. Brees is on pace for 5,202 going into tomorrow night's game against the Packers. He is averaging 325.1 yards and needs to throw for 305.7 in the final six games to pass Marino.

Remember when? In Week 12 last season, the Patriots improved to 11-0 and clinched a playoff berth. Today, they are essentially facing an elimination game at Miami. The teams are tied at 6-4, and because the Dolphins won their first matchup this year, the Patriots cannot afford to be swept because of tiebreaker implications. What's more, only one of the Dolphins' final five regular-season opponents has a winning record (the Jets). That makes this must-win territory for Bill Belichick.

Don't look now, but the Cardinals are about to clinch an NFC playoff berth. A win over the Giants, a loss by the 49ers (at Dallas) and a loss or tie for the Seahawks against the Redskins would produce the first division title for the franchise since the St. Louis Cardinals won the NFC East in 1975.

After a 4-0 start, the Bills and QB Trent Edwards have hit the wall. Edwards, a second-year player from Stanford, has thrown eight interceptions, lost two fumbles and given up a safety during Buffalo's four-game losing streak.

Compiled from Sun news services and NFL beat reporters.

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