In Andy Reid's press conference yesterday, he was asked five separate questions about the Eagles sticking with the running game against the Giants. Questions like, Why continue to beat your head into a wall, and should Eagle fans hope for wind in future contests.
He responded to these questions in typical Andy Reid fashion. Ambiguously. In his opening remarks Andy stated pretty clearly that the weather conditions were largely responsible for the number of rushing attempts - that it was important that the running game got going because it was tough to move the ball through the air. However, Rich Hoffman in a column yesterday and AndrewB (in a typically stat laden fanpost right here), both noted that the Eagles offensive philosophy were little changed until early in the 4th quarter against the Giants. Rich Hoffman put it rather succinctly:
Westbrook scored on the third play of the fourth quarter on that 40-yard pass play, giving the Eagles a 17-7 lead. At that point of the game, the ratio of called runs vs. called passes was 55 percent passes and 45 percent runs. The difference between yesterday at that point and a typical Eagles game this season was four play calls in three-plus quarters of football, four play calls out of 58 plays. With that, viva la revolucion.
What's truly important to note is that at this point the Eagles were in the driver seat. In response to Westbrook's TD, the Giants had a 4 minute long 9 play drive that ended with the Giants failing to convert a 4th and 1 at the Eagles 38.
So, with 9 and a half minutes left in a football game, a 10 point lead, and control of the ball, what would you call on first and 10? That's right - a running play. Andy and Marty borrowed from Bill Parcells, and managed a clock burning drive that leaned heavily on the run and converted third downs with short passes and a QB scramble.
Why then, can't Andy say it? Seriously, there has been no magical change in philosophy. The wind isn't even to blame. The Eagles had a significant lead and wanted to kept it that way by running the football. Next week the Eagles will throw the football and attempt to establish a lead in the first half and then assuming the Eagles are up a couple of scores in the second they will run the football. Hopefully, Westbrook will have the help of his battery mate Buck to keep his touches down to a more realistic 25 or so, but we'll see who practices on Thursday.