Run to win? The myth lives!
Everyone is talking about this game, again, as if Andy Reid did something different from say the Bengals and Ravens games and "ran the ball", etc. He didn't. The Eagles executed, and in the end of the 3rd quarter and start of the 4th quarter, it was clear the Giants offense was going to do nothing, so Andy Reid ran the clock out with Westbrook.
This game plan was very similar to both Giants game in 2006 and 2007, with a heavy emphasis on Westbrook running up the middle (Buckhalter game 1 07), LJ Smith passes (Celek passes game 1 07) and passes to one wideout (Curtis this time until he got hurt, Stallworth in game 1 06, Brown in game 2 and 3 of 06 and Games 1 and 2 of 07). It had near flawless offensive execution though, unlike some of those other games - no turnovers, near perfection on 3rd down, and near perfect defense (still no turnovers and no sacks) giving up zero points. Reid clearly has seen something that allows him to take advantage of Fred Robbins in the run that other teams have not been able to replicate for the most part. And when you convert most of your 3rd downs, you get to keep driving and attempting to score. And without Plaxico, there was clearly little to worry about on offense by the Giants. This allowed us to run out the clock AFTER WE WERE ALREADY WINNING.
Here are the keys to the game.
Eagles 3rd down conversions 12 of 18, with 3 field goal attempts on the 6 that were stopped. Essentially, the Giants only stopped the Eagles 3 times all day, given 18 chances.
Giants 3rd/4th down conversions 3 of 14 with 1 field goal attempt. The Giants only didn't get stopped 4 times on the day.
2nd quarter and 1st drive of 3rd quarter rushing by Eagles - 13 rushes, 73 yards and 1 TD.
Called Passes and Rushes by drive:
Drive 1 - 2 pass, 1 run (-5 yards) - punt
Drive 2 - 3 pass, 2 run (4 yards, -2 yards end around) - punt
Drive 3 - 2 pass, 3 run (5 yards, -1 yard, -7 yards end around) - 51 yard FG
Drive 4 - 1 pass, 2 run (3 yards, -2 yards) - punt
Drive 5 - 6 pass, 4 run (3 yards, 2 yards, 9 yards, 30 yards TD) - TD run
Drive 6 - 3 pass, 2 spike, 2 run (11 yards, 5 yards) - blocked FG TD return
Drive 7 - 9 pass, 5 run (2 yard, 4 yard ,1 yard QB sneak, 2 yard, 3 yard) - blocked FG
To this point play calls were - 26 pass, 2 spike, 19 run (2 end around). That's a 58-42 ratio excluding the spikes. Again, differences were 3rd down conversions, no interceptions, and offensive running success in the 2nd quarter and start of the 3rd quarter. And its WAAAY different to start getting 5+ yard runs in the 2nd and 3rd quarter while still biasing the pass, vs. getting -2 to 2 yard runs like against the Ravens and Bengals in those quarters.
Drive 8 - 3 pass, 7 run (7 yards, 3 yards, 3 yards, 6 yards, 2 yards, 0 yards, 3 yards) - TD pass
Drive 9 - 2 pass, 11 run (13 yards, 5 yards, 0 yards, 3 yards, 2 yards, 1 yard, 4 yards, 6 yards, 2 yards, -3 yards, 1 yard) - FG
Drive 10 - 1 kneel down
Play calls to end the game by running out the clock - 5 pass, 18 run, 1 kneel down.
Win to run, not run to win!