Sunday, November 29, 2009
As always, the Eagles kept this one interesting from the start. Andy Reid, probably thinking he was pretty clever, had the Birds try an onside kick on the opening kickoff, a move that basically gave the Redskins a free 7 points after it failed. From that point forward, it was obvious the Eagles were going to be stuck in a dogfight (poor choice of words?) with the Skins.
The Eagles quickly fought back in the game with an offensive attack that was, for once, a solid mixture of run and pass. The Birds, taking advantage of a Redskins defense playing without Albert Haynesworth, ran the ball effectively all game, something we haven't seen much of this year. Both LeSean McCoy (4.5 yards per carry) and Leonard Weaver (7.3 yards per carry) gashed the Skins for big runs, proving that the Eagles don't need Brian Westbrook to have a productive ground game.
With an offense that was actually balanced for once, Donovan McNabb, with the exception of the third quarter, was effective through the air, finishing with 260 yards. He spread the ball around to six different receivers and overcame three drops by the usually reliable Brent Celek to keep the Eagles in the game. Most importantly, when it came down to crunchtime, with the Eagles trailing by 8 points in the 4th quarter, McNabb had the offense moving at will, picking up huge chunks of yards through the air to Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin.
Defensively, the Eagles were once again not at their best on third downs as the Skins converted 8 of 17 in the game. There is something about this Birds defense that they can't make stops unless the game is on the line. That will likely come back to haunt them at some point this season.
On the injury front, DeSean Jackson left the game in the second half and the early word is that he had a concussion. We all know too well about the lingering effects that concussions can have, we will have to wait and see if Action Jackson will be out for the next game.
So, once again, it wasn't pretty but the Eagles won an important game. A loss to the Redskins would have pushed the Eagles back towards the pack of NFC Wild Card contenders; a win keeps them a game ahead of the Giants and only a game behind the Cowboys. With games looming against the Giants and Cowboys in the coming weeks, the NFC playoff picture is still pretty murky but the Eagles find themselves right in the middle of everything.
Nice win, Birds, but let's try winning a game by a touchdown or two next time. You are going to give everyone in Philadelphia a heart attack at this rate.