Up next: Westbrook out for Philly vs. 49ers?

Running back Brian Westbrook returned to the Philadelphia lineup Sunday after missing the Chicago game with an ankle injury. But it didn't take him long to suffer another injury. Westbrook suffered broken ribs in the first quarter of the Eagles' 23-17 loss to the Washington Redskins, shortly after giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead with a nine-yard touchdown run.

He missed the next series and went into the locker room for a pain-killing injection, but was never the same. Westbrook had gained 22 yards on four carries and also had a 17-yard catch-and-run on a screen on the Eagles' first drive.

In the final three quarters, he was held to just 11 yards on eight carries and got tackled for a three-yard loss on a critical third-and-one play at the Washington 2-yard line in the fourth quarter. The Eagles settled for a field goal and never got the ball back as the Redskins controlled it for the final seven-plus minutes.

"I try to fight through everything, every pain that I have I try to fight through," Westbrook said. "My ankle, my rib, whatever. Of course, when you're not 100 percent, you're limited in some way. But I continue to try to fight through it and try to make the most of it."

Westbrook's injury was initially diagnosed as a chest contusion but test results showed his ribs were broken. Westbrook was extremely sore Monday and his status for Sunday's game against the 49ers in San Francisco remains uncertain. If he can't play, running back Correll Buckhalter would start in his place.

Westbrook is off to a very unWestbrook-like start as the Eagles, like the 49ers, have started 2-3.

A year ago, he led the league in yards from scrimmage. In four starts this season, he's averaging just 3.6 yards per carry and 6.9 yards per reception. The one positive at this point is his six touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving).

Under coach Andy Reid, the Eagles always have been and always will be a pass-first team. But they've always run the ball efficiently. Just twice in Reid's nine previous seasons in Philadelphia have they averaged less than 4.3 yards per carry -- in '99 and '05. Interestingly, those are the Eagles' only two losing seasons under Reid.

So far this season, they are averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. Westbrook's health has been one of the reasons. So has a back injury to Pro Bowl right guard Shawn Andrews, who has missed the last 2 1/2 games.

"As a team, we are not executing well," Westbrook said. "It's not one person. It's me. It's Donovan (McNabb, the Eagles' quarterback). It's the offense. It's everybody. It's not one person that's just doing something wrong every single play. It's a collection of guys, all of us, are doing something wrong on different plays throughout the game."

The Eagles jumped to a 14-0 lead Sunday against the Redskins, then produced little in the way of offense after that. In their last four games, they've scored 68 points in the first half and just 21 in the second.

Reid says he's to blame.

"I have to put them into the right position to make plays," he said, echoing a line he has used after every Eagles defeat the last 10 years. "It's my responsibility that we play better."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I was embarrassed these last two weeks. I mean to two teams we shouldn't have lost to. When you make mistakes and you don't capitalize on opportunities, things like this happen. There is no way that you can look at this game and say that, and not taking anything anyway from them, but there is no way that this team is better than us." -- QB Donovan McNabb, after falling short against Washington Sunday, one week after losing to Chicago.

BY THE NUMBERS: McNabb has shown little interest in running with the football. He has just 10 rushing attempts (for 16 yards) in the first five games. That matches the lowest five-game total of his career. He also had 10 rushing attempts through five games in 2005. But he was playing with a sports hernia that season.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES
-- QB Donovan McNabb failed to throw a TD pass for the first time this season in the loss to Washington.
-- Rookie WR DeSean Jackson had a 68-yard punt return for a score in the first quarter.
--- PK David Akers missed a 50-yard field goal. He's just 1-for-4 beyond 40 yards this year and 3-for-14 the last two seasons.
--- WR Reggie Brown averaged 21.0 yards on four catches against Washington.


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