How long have Eagles fans and Philadelphia media been pleading with Head Coach Andy Reid to implement a power running game? How many pundits have criticized Reid for not developing a clock management game to emphasize the strength of this defense, which is protecting a lead? How many times have we witnessed the “bend-don’t-break” defense bend too far in the second half to turn potential wins into disappointing losses? Vick short passing (21-28, 279, 2 TD), McCoy’s 2 TD and 185 yards running and zero turnovers all contributed to a resounding 34-7 drubbing of the vaunted Dallas Cowboys. This victory was rewarding and especially resonant because it was a division rival but also because the 2-4 Eagles would have faced oblivion with another loss on the young season.
Andy Reid’s post-bye week record now stands at 13-0, which flies in the face of 13 straight seasons of Big Red fighting the conventional notion that power running and ball control lead to victory in the NFL. Reid has always embraced the passing game, offering a 70-30 pass-rush ratio usually relying upon a stalwart defense grabbing interceptions and imposing blitz-happy sacks to intimidate the opposition. This game featured seven different receivers taking part in the short-passing offense (279 yards), tempered with 38 collective rushes for 238 yards. Four sacks plus one INT (Nnamdi Asomugha) highlighted a defensive effort that offered 8 different Eagles with multiple tackles (35). 42:09 was the Eagles time of possession on offense compared to Dallas’ 17:%1 but the true game-defining stat was that the Cowboys didn’t score until the fourth quarter. Eagles had 31 first downs to Dallas meager 12. Eagles defense held Dallas to 267 total yards while Philadelphia ran up 495. 58% third down efficiency for Philadelphia’s offense 6.3 YPC (rushing) and 13.3 YPC (passing). The Eagles dominated on both sides of the ball and they did so without resorting to pedantic street ball or foolhardy goal line option plays.
What was most surprising? Was it LeSean McCoy’s ability to overcome the Rob Ryan defense focused on stopping Shady? Was it Michael Vick’s recognition at the line of scrimmage allowing the Eagles offense to adjust and audible? Was it the offensive line’s effort with the return of Jason Peters paired with Todd Herremans and the massive improvement from Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins? Howard Mudd being on the sidelines on crutches two weeks after having hip replacement surgery – and still trying to chest bump his players? Was it Andy Reid going 2 for 2 on coach’s challenges? All of the above especially taken as a collective effort.
Putting the complete and total beat down on a division rival by strategically dominating a physically superior team on defense, out-performing them on offense and implementing a solid game plan for four consecutive quarters – this is the performance we have been waiting to see. This game is an example of what the 2011 Eagles can do when they play together like a team of talented individuals, coached by some of the best strategists in the business and supported by the most vociferous fans in western civilization.
How ‘bout them Cowboys???? The Eagles are 3-4 and have a stay of execution for another week. Every week is still a must-win as a 9-7 or 10-6 record will be required to get into the postseason. Can the Eagles go 7-2? If they play ths way they definitely can but NFL defenses will be gunning for them every week.
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org