PHILADELPHIA -- Maybe Brian Westbrook should skip practice
again this week.
Sitting out all but one practice last week with a knee injury,
Westbrook responded with more than 200 total yards and three
touchdowns in Philadelphia's 56-21 win against Detroit, showing
again why the versatile running back is the Eagles' most
Sometimes knocked for being too small or too fragile, the
5-foot-8 Westbrook is still making believers out of the opposition,
even after a 1,000-yard rushing season and a Pro Bowl berth.
"I've never seen anything like it," Lions wide receiver Roy Williams said after the game. "I wasn't a believer in him at
first. I'm a Brian Westbrook fan now."
The Eagles hope Westbrook will be around against the New York Giants so he can convert the few doubters left. Westbrook has an
abdominal strain and his availability for practice and Sunday's
game will be determined later this week. The Eagles will likely
keep him out of some practices again to play it safe, leaving
Westbrook more time to study game film.
"We'll know better in the next day or two," coach Andy Reid
said on Monday. "Right now he's pretty sore."
Westbrook left in the third quarter Sunday with an injury
originally listed as bruised ribs. Reid said Westbrook wasn't hurt
on a hit, but instead on a sharp move while running.
"It was kind of a freak thing," Reid said.
Westbrook had 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 14
carries. He also caught five passes for 111 yards and scored on a
43-yard screen pass.
"People do get their hands on him, but he tends to give that
extra effort," said Eagles running back Correll Buckhalter.
Buckhalter, Westbrook's seldom-used backup, took most of the
snaps with the first team in practice last week. He ran for 43
yards and a second-half touchdown against the Lions in the most
action he's seen this year.
Buckhalter, who sprained his left ankle, said on Monday he
expected Westbrook to play against the Giants.
"He's a tough little guy and he plays with a lot of heart,"
Tough? No doubt. The best running back in the league this year?
Buckhalter says absolutely.
"This year I'd put him as the best right now," he said. "When
the little guy gets the ball, he can do a lot for this team. A lot
of people don't give the guy the respect he deserves. I don't know
why. He deserves it."
Westbrook's 291 yards rushing are fifth in the NFL and he's 25th
in the league in receiving with 223 yards, making him the only
running back to crack the top 40 in receiving. If Westbrook is
bothered by the snubs he gets from his peers and critics,
Buckhalter said it never shows.
"He just keeps pressing forward," he said.
Westbrook wasn't the only offensive standout in the Eagles'
rout. Wide receiver Kevin Curtis set a career high for yards
receiving with 221 and finished with 11 catches and three
Curtis' 205 yards receiving in the first half were the most in a
single half since Buffalo's Lee Evans posted the same total last
year against Houston.
Curtis and Westbrook became the second pair of teammates in NFL
history to go past the 200-yard mark in total yards from scrimmage
in the same game.
It was the first game in Eagles history that had a 100-yard
rusher (Westbrook), a 200-yard receiver (Curtis), and a 300-yard
passer (Donovan McNabb, 381 yards) in the same game.