Go figure. The Eagles played another close game in the division. They fell to 0-3 in the division. The entire nation was able to see how terrible Andy Reid is with clock management and late play-calling. All of the Eagles losses have come by less than a touchdown. Sunday night's 36-31 defeat to the New York Giants was no different. Someone needs to finally step up and take accountability.
Let's face facts here. Andy isn't the worst coach in the world, but the magnitude of his mistakes continue to grow. Since the Super Bowl, the McNabb-Reid combination is right around .500. If Reid was only the head coach, he might get somewhat of a pass. As the head coach, he does do a very good job of keeping the team even-keel and doesn't let them put their heads down. The "tease" we get is what makes us frustrated. It seems like we're always on the losing end of the close game.
Andy's biggest problems are his stubbornness and predictability. He is one of those coaches that scripts his first 10-20 plays. He doesn't break away from that script, even if he needs to adapt to the defense. This is often why the Eagles seem to start a little slow. If Andy remains in Philly, the best thing for him to do would be to find a real offensive coordinator. In baseball, there is a stat for close and late situations. In baseball, it is largely based on luck. In football, it comes down to preparation, play-calling, and execution. In terms of clock management, Reid often fails. In terms of play-calling, Reid often fails. The plays he called last night were so predictable that Tiki Barber was able to call them from the NBC studio. If Tiki Barber knows what is coming...don't you think the Giants do to?
The defense was unable to stop the run all game, but they got the stop they needed the most with a little under 3 minutes left. They got the ball back to the offense down 5 and everything I just talked about was a failure.
Play-calling wasn't Andy Reid's only brain farts. The 4th quarter challenges cost the offense two time outs. One of those time outs could have been used so the Eagles could read the 3rd and 4th down defenses on those 2 short yardage plays. The first challenge was just awful. Whether it was Reid or whomever he talks to in the booth regarding replays, that person should no longer be allowed to call for the challenge ever again. It wasn't even close and it was the dumbest waste of a challenge that I've seen in a long time. For the gambles out there, it was comparable to when you're sitting on 21 in blackjack and you call for a hit. It was that dumb.
I can live with the second challenge because it was worth the risk and it was close enough where you want to gamble on it. The only reason this challenge looks so bad on paper was because Reid challenged the play immediately before. I'm tired of watching this team just waste time and time-outs. At times, it seems like they have no clue at all.
Though they faltered late, they were still able to put up 31 points and they cashed in twice for touchdowns on 2 Giants turnovers. For the second straight week McNabb started slow, but he did well with both his arms and legs as the game moved on. He completed 17 of 36 for 194 yards and threw 3 touchdowns to 1 interception, after starting 0-7. He was able to complete passes to 7 different receivers. However, he had clock management issues of his own when he was unable to run another play before the 2 minute warning. They literally sat there and watched 35 seconds come off the clock.
Our running game is shit. Westbrook carried the ball 13 times for 26 yards. The Eagles were unable to run the ball all game and they chose to run the all on 3rd and 4th and short at the end. Smart, huh? I'm not quite sure why Reid chose to take the ball out of McNabb's hands there. All year, every game, we pass a hell of a lot more than we run. Why change it now? If you rarely run in the game, you can't expect to establish a running game.
One bright spot was that they used the wildcat formation to spring DeSean Jackson in to the end zone. I would have liked to see that ran a few more times. Jackson is just so damn fast. Outside of the end-arounds, the Eagles have not been running many mis-directions. Every thing seems straight towards the whole and it is often why the defense has been able to shut the running game down. By keeping the running game simple, the defense can cheat a little and not worrying about staying completely true to their gaps. McNabb was the Eagles leading rusher with 35 yards on 3 scrambles.
Well, they could not stop the run or pass the tight end. Our defense allowed a whopping 216 yards rushing. What the hell? Is this college? The line was often beat off the snap allowing the Giants create easy holes. When the Eagles were in the gap, they did an awful job of wrapping up the Giants running backs. Stewart Bradley lead all players with 13 tackles.
The problem that has plagued the Eagles all season long is stopping the opponent's tight end. Last night, Kevin Boss lead all receivers with 6 catches for 69 yards. Every NFC East opponent has a good TE. Every single one has killed the Eagles.
The Giants are a good offense and we knew it'd be tough. The Eagles allowed them to obtain some easy 3rd down conversions (regardless of forward pass rules) and it cost them. You cannot expect to win if you're allowing the defense to convert 7 of 15 third down plays.
The defense was able to force 2 turnovers and force 2 more fumbles. We all know the one forced fumble that was just a tad too late and the other one forced the Giants to punt i our end.
The Eagles defense allowed 4.9 yards per rush on running plays. Our defense was on the field for 39 of 60 minutes of game time. The Giants ran 77 plays to the Eagles 57. If the Eagles could run more, they'd be able to control possession better. Oh yeah, the Eagles need to be able to stop the run as well.
Though Demps fumbles his first return, he did a good job of giving the Eagles a short field to work with. His only returns for less than 30 yards were when he was tackled by the helmet/facemask (no-call) and when he fumbled.
The kick-off coverage team was much better than it has been. They allowed less than 20 yards per return. Akers did have some short kicks, and they helped improve the Giants field position somewhat.
The Eagles lost another game inside the division that they could have easily won. They're now 0-3 in the division with 2 of 3 division games left on the road. The schedule doesn't bode well for an Eagles playoff run. Anything can happen. The Eagles are still healthy and talented enough to get the job done. The thinking heads need to do a better job now. I'm tired of seeing this team out-coached in close games with even-matched talent. The Birds currently sit 8th in the NFC conference.
NL East Notes: Nola, Braves, Nationals
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