Andy Reid used to be a good coach. Really, he did. Sure he had a lot of talent and relied entirely too much on passing and his illustrious defensive coordinator (Jim Johnson, one of the best coaches in the league) to win, but ultimately it was he who put the whole thing together and steered the Eagles to their 4 straight NFC Championship Games. He was never able to get over the hump and win the big one, but conventional wisdom seemed to point towards him growing into better in-game decisions and making the leap. Conventional wisdom was dead wrong.
In the past two years, Reid’s in-game decision making has gotten even worse and last night really pinpointed exactly what is wrong with the Eagles right now. The defense is good, but horribly streaky and can be exploited, which means the offense needs to play its part in winning, but the offense also happens to be one of the streakiest in the league. There has never been a commitment to the run in the Reid regime and it hurt them against the Bears (when they couldn’t get it in the end zone from inside the 5) and it hurt them again last night (when they couldn’t manage 3 yards in two plays with the game on the line).
More than just the lack of commitment to the run is the blunt stubborness to go to it despite the fact that it hasn’t worked in short situations all year. Moving the ball nicely down the field passing the ball, the Eagles went into conservative mode on 3rd and 3 and decided to run the ball. Why not keep the Giants on their heels and keep pushing the ball down the field? Plus, the run hasn’t worked in short situations all year, so why would it work with the game on the line against one of the top defenses in the league? At least run a swing pass or screen pass or even a draw play. I normally wouldn’t mind losing to a superior team (well I’d mind, but it’s way worse when you have chances to win and blow them), but to go out and have the game end so feebly despite moving the ball fairly well in the final drive up until that point just drives me crazy.
This is to say nothing of Reid’s wacky clock management style (challenging dumb plays, leaving the Eagles with fewer timeouts down the stretch, letting the Giants regroup at the two minute warning when they had 10 seconds to keep the Giants on their heels) which just makes life harder for the Eagles. In fact, that seems to be the M.O. of Reid's in-game decisions: they make life harder for the Eagles.