OK, I'm officially taking the bait. After a couple weeks of knowing this team wasn't going anywhere they've finally showed on the field what we all thought (or hoped) they were capable of. Late in the fourth quarter of today's impressive 20-14 win at the Giants there was one thought I couldn't shake. This was the best game the Eagles have played since 2004
The final score was extremely deceptive. If not for 2 blocked field goals, the Eagles probably win this game 26-7. The only points the defense allowed came in garbage time when they were content to let the Giants catch the ball over the middle, as long as they didn't stop the clock. They stuffed one of the best running games in the league, they punished the Giants' run defense, and they showed a commitment to the run that I've never seen in an Andy Reid team.
Brian Westbrook ran the ball 33 times, that's usually 3 games worth of carries. His 6 catches brought his total touches up to 39. Unbelievable. They converted several third and one's, they dominated time of possession. They easily could've pitched a shutout against the Giants today without sacking Manning once, nor forcing a turnover. Man for man, they won their match-ups, pure and simple.
Usually, I'd say this type of workload for Westbrook was a typical case of Andy Reid coaching to save his job, but as things stand right now, the Eagles are very much alive in the playoff race. It would've been great if Reid had used the run a little more earlier in the season, but I guess it's better late than never.
I don't have a lot of time tonight, but I do want to point out what I think was the key drive of the game. In the third quarter, the Eagles got the ball on their own 14 yard-line with 4:39 left on the clock. The score was 10-7, and momentum was up for grabs. On their first drive of the third Akers had his second FG attempt of the game blocked.
Andy Reid called 6 consecutive run plays, 5 to Westbrook and 1 to Eckel. Those plays netted 21 yards and 2 first downs. The drive ate up the rest of the third quarter. Then, on the same drive, early in the fourth the Giants were forced to bring 9 men up to the line of scrimmage to combat the huge push the Eagles o-line was getting. Westbrook chipped a rusher and then leaked out across the middle of the field. McNabb hit him in stride and Westbrook took it 40 yards for a TD. The successful run game forced the Giants to over compensate, then the passing game hit a home run.
Just a great win for the Birds.Player of the Game:
Brian WestbrookTeam Record:
Cleveland on Monday Night