LANDOVER, MD. -- Dimitri Patterson is beginning to like this whole starting thing.
Last week, in the first start of his five-year career, Patterson impressed by holding Reggie Wayne to 7.5 yards per catch. Turns out that was just an appetizer for what Patterson had in store on Monday Night Football.
Patterson twice intercepted Donovan McNabb in front of a national television audience and, on the latter of the two picks, scored the first touchdown of his career.
In the third quarter, Patterson jumped an Anthony Armstrong hitch route and picked off McNabb at the Washington 40-yard-line, then ran untouched into the end zone to give the Eagles an astounding 59-21 lead.
"I had seen that look on film, Patterson said. "I (identified) it, saw (Armstrong) sit down in his hips pretty early, saw Donovan looking over there and I just jumped the route.
It was a measure of revenge for Patterson, who was beaten deep by Armstrong for a 76-yard gain in the second quarter.
"I didn't want to give up anything, especially something that large," Patterson said. "But hey, I bounced back and I'm a fighter. I got a little dog in me. He got that big play but that put a fire underneath me to come out here and make a play."
It was another impressive day for Patterson, who has clearly taken advantage of the opportunity afforded to him when Ellis Hobbs was sidelined with a hip injury.
"I've been to two other places besides Philly, but there wasn't one day in my career where I didn't think I could make those types of plays that I made tonight," Patterson said. "I knew I had the ability, I knew I had the talent, it was just a matter of opportunity."
Patterson's play hasn't gone unnotived by his teammates in the secondary. Asante Samuel singled out Patterson for doing "a hell of a job" and Quintin Mikell echoed that sentiment.
"He's shown that he's ready," Mikell said of Patterson. "We've been saying all year that he's a baller and he had two picks today, one to the house, and I love seeing that."
With three interceptions on the season and extremely steady play, Patterson is making the case that he should remain the starter at right cornerback, no matter what happens with Hobbs' health. But after all he's been through in the league, Patterson won't take anything for granted.
"You can never be complacent," he said. "I'm not a complacent guy. I'm a free agent in this league and that's the bottom line. I'm going to continue to fight and just earn my respect every single Sunday, as long as they're willing to give me an opportunity to do so."
Chances are, Patterson will have another starting gig next week. What will he do for an encore?
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 2:30 a.m., November 16