Monday, November 13, 2006

The Five Keys to the Eagles Win

Rodman started a post about whether our (the Eagles) luck has turned after the Eagles game (which saw the Eagles benefit from a very close fumble call, and a VERY UNLIKELY touchdown by Correll Buckhalter on a separate fumble by Reggie Brown after a 20 yard catch.

But I will tell you all this: my top key to the Eagles victory was TEAM EFFORT....The offense made plays, the defense made plays, and finally, for once, the special teams chipped in. As much as the ugly loss to the Jaguars was a total team discombobulation, this one was a team effort. No one was taking plays off, neither side of the ball waited for the other to light the spark.

My other stars/keys to the game:
2) Brian Westbrook! He ran with vision and authority on a rainy, crappy day when the Eagles really needed it. Perhaps the most important play of the game for WB was a simple 4 yard run. Let me set the stage: Eagles took possession with 9:03 left in the game, leading 27-3. What do they need to be able to do on this rainy, windy day? RUN the Morhnigweg dials up Westbrook's number on first and second down....and the Eagles had 6 yards to show for it, setting up a 3rd and 4 well inside their own territory. Boom Westbrook off left tackle and he powers 4 yards and get the first by a half-a-ball's length. Why was this key? It validates the offensive coordinator's faith in the running game; which leads to my next point:

3) Coach Andy Reid revealed after the game that he relinquished play-calling duties and let Marty M. call the plays. First things first, I really suspected something was up the way the Eagles ran their offense this game, they actually came out running the ball, but it wasn't just the first series that gave it away (AR has teases us before) it was the way the offense STUCK with it. Andy Reid NEVER would have dialed up WB on 3rd and 4 in that situation. You know he would've sent in a pass. Now, I think AR realizes he doesn't have to do everything and maybe this will allow him to spend some time on the other parts of the team that need his attention (ST coverage comes to mind). Moreover, it shows he is not intransigent. It is the move of head coach who, while stubborn, is not blind and actually did as he says (he took a hard look at everything, including himself, and when he identified a problem, he took measures to try and correct it)....DID ANYONE ELSE NOTICE the Eagles did not have that embarrassing timeout with 5 turning to to the ref with that WTF-look on his face to signal a T.O. because the play clock ran down because the play was late coming in from the sidelines??

4) Donte Stallworth - FINALLY healthy and boy did he show up. You know, it wasn't the long TD that did it. More impressive for me were two plays that'll never make the highlights reel. One was the the 4th down conversion. the weather had turned crappy, but early in the 3rd qtr the offense was getting warmed up...and how many times have Eagles fans lamented the weirdo play-calling that seems to afflict our team on critical conversion attempts (to be fair its not just the play calling, it the execution). Well, today, the execution was there on two key conversion by Stallworth, first on the 4th down (a nice simple, easy pass and catch between 5 and 18). The second took advantage of the coverage as Stallworth took a quick hitch and blazed about 20 yards on a 3rd and short....I mean the Eagles so rarely seem to capitalize consistently on those simple mistakes/holes in the defensive coverage, but today, 18 was everywhere...

5) the D. Held on 3rd down!...This was developing into a serious pet peeve for me, but today, the Eagles D clamped down when they needed to. The Foreskins had multiple possessions inside Eagles territory in the first half with only a FG and another miss to show for it. Plus instead of waiting around, the D went out and made plays (especially in the backfield) to secure the victory. Perhaps the best was Dawkins' flying swat that denied the Redskins a TD pass to Wingback Chris Cooley.

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