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As Expected, Eagles Roll Over Tampa Bay

In the end -- and in the beginning and in the middle -- there wasn't much mystery to the Eagles-Tampa Bay game on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. A much better team, the Eagles came in rested and ready to dominate and they did just that in a 33-14 win to improve their record to 3-1.

Donovan McNabb, back in the lineup after missing two games with a fractured rib, tossed three touchdown passes. Rookie Jeremy Maclin, starting in place of the injured Kevin Curtis, caught two of those touchdown passes, one for 51 yards and one for 40 yards, and may never relinquish that role. Fullback Leonard Weaver, who many have wanted to get more touches, made the most of the one he had, with a catch and run for 20 yards and a touchdown.

And Brian Westbrook celebrated his return to the lineup after missing the Kansas City game with a sprained ankle by scoring on a perfect 7-yard run. The Eagles did what they wanted with Tampa Bay's defense, spreading the field, throwing the ball to everyone except DeSean Jackson, who commanded bracket coverage and premium attention everywhere he went on the field.

It was also a sloppy effort by the Eagles, who missed too many tackles on defense, and who committed double-digit totals in penalties. For their first game back from the bye week, the Eagles showed plenty of promising things and won a game they should have won.

Having Maclin up to speed now with Jackson gives the Eagles a great double threat in the passing game down the field. It bodes well for the present and the future.

As the game winds down and I write this -- more coming after the game -- the Eagles still have plenty of things to work on. The running game isn't there yet, although Westbrook had some moments on his few (5 carries, 16 yards; 2 catches 17 yards) touches. The offensive line played well. McNabb looked good completing 16 of his first 21 passes for 264 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The defense flew to the football when a better-than-I-thought Josh Johnson threw the ball under pressure. Asante Samuel had two interceptions and Sheldon Brown had one. The blitz was there all day.

It was a yawner at times. It went as the script was written. And now the season is back on and the Eagles are 3-1 with a trip to Oakland and a chance to really get on a roll.

For everything that happened, the coming-out party for Maclin was most encouraging. He caught six passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns and did it all -- going down the field on the team's second play from scrimmage and leaping to secure McNabb's pass for a 51-yard score -- and catching passes in the middle of the field. Maclin's 41-yard touchdown catch came when he adjusted on an underthrown pass against double coverage in the end zone. Beautiful.

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