The story in the morning papers, the threads on message boards, the ranting calls to sports radio will inevitably be about the same thing. The play of Donovan McNabb. While I don't want to discount that, because I think that clearly he needs to shoulder a good portion of the blame for the atrocious play of the Eagles offense tonight... I think it's important to note that McNabb is not the only story.
There is a whole lot of blame to go around for this one. Once again, it must start with the coach. The playcalling in this game was simply shocking. We all saw how McNabb looked. He was off target, he was unsure of himself, he was getting pressured fairly well by the Redskins. Brian Westbrook on the other hand was carving the Skins to pieces and the Eagles offensive line was dominant in run blocking. So seeing those two things, let's check out the stat line.
Brian Westbrook - 17 carries for 96 yards. A total of 5.6 yards per rush.
Donovan McNabb - FORTY SIX pass attempts for 5.2 yards per. If you add in the 2 plays where McNabb scrambled and the 3 he was sacked, that makes FIFTY ONE called passing plays.
So not only with a QB that clearly does not look fully healthy & who is woefully inaccurate, but also with receivers that aren't able to get open and when they do dropping easy passes... the Eagles(Reid and Morningwheg) decide they throw the ball 51 times. It literally boggles the mind. Just look at Brian Westbrook's stat line. The Redskins had absolutely no answer for him and yet the Eagles elected to run him only 17 times.
The worst part is that it's not as if the score forced them to abandon the run. Until Washington scored with 12 minutes left, the Eagles were no more than a TD behind. In fact, they even led in the second quarter. While the Redskins continually pounded the Eagles D(who I thought played valiantly) and gave their defense a breather, the Eagles continually threw with no success and went 3 and out. I'd be remiss if I didn't give the Eagles D some credit, they did hold the Redskins tandem of backs under a 100 yards. The interior of the defensive line was fantastic and I thought the linebackers held their own quite well.
So blame McNabb if you'd like. He didn't play well, there's no denying that. However, don't let the other culprits off the hook. The receivers were awful, several times ESPN showed in replays how they just got no separation whatsoever. When they did get open and McNabb actually hit them, they'd drop balls. I haven't been able to find The worst example of this being the Eagles final offensive play in which McNabb hits Curtis for a first down and he can't hold onto the ball after a solid, but not spectacular hit from a safety. A better receiver holds onto the ball right there. This was an awful offensive effort on absolutely all levels, but it has to start with the coach.
51 passing plays, 18 running plays with an injured QB who was off target from the start.