When Reid called those two runs at the end of the game I literally screamed. As badly as the Eagles were outplayed for most of the game and as horribly as their run defense was gashed by the Giants’ running game, they still had a chance to win at the end. McNabb had just led them to a score, the defense came up with a huge stop, and McNabb was marching them down again for the potential game winning touchdown . . . so what does Reid do? He takes the ball out of McNabb’s hands, just as he did against Chicago and Washington, and the results were exactly the same—a loss. How can you not give McNabb the chance to win the game???? Again????? And people wonder why he hasn’t had a 4th quarter comeback in so long.
Here is what I wrote after the Chicago game: “McNabb got the team down to first and goal with a chance to win the game but he wasn’t even given ONE opportunity to throw the ball. He’s your best player, put the ball in his hands!!!”
And here is what I wrote after the Washington game: “On top of that, pass-happy-Reid has suddenly become Mr. Smashmouth at the goal line, as the Eagles were once again stymied from in close on consecutive running plays. Has Reid lost all confidence in McNabb’s ability to make something happen?”
Sound familiar? Reid did the same thing again tonight, only this time it was on his own 43-yard line and he had no timeouts, which makes the run calls all the more mind boggling. I have to ask again, does he not trust McNabb to win the game for him? Or is he just incapable of learning from his mistakes? My vote is for the latter. Case in point: he once again made a frivolous challenge that cost his team a pivotal timeout. The second challenge was necessary, but the first one was just plain dumb.
His mismanagement of Westbrook throughout the game was a disgrace as well. I love Jackson as much as the next guy, but Westbrook is what makes this team go. Sometimes Reid gets too cute with Jackson (like with that ill-fated screen pass in the first half) and completely forgets about Westbrook. Reid should have been running lots of screens to Westbrook to counter the Giants’ pass rush, but the Eagles’ most dangerous weapon only had three receptions all game. He didn’t catch his first pass until the last drive of first half and had just one catch in the entire second half.
The broadcasters kept talking about the running game not working, but that’s just B.S. Of course the running game isn’t going to work when you NEVER try to run (except when the game’s on the line, of course). When the 4th quarter began, Westbrook had a grand total of NINE carries—in a game they were never out of. And the carries were so spread out that he never had the chance to get into any kind of rhythm.
Despite all of that, the Eagles still could have stolen this game at the end, but as I’ve said before, “woulda coulda shoulda” is the realm of mediocre teams, which the Eagles have proven themselves to be. Even with a 5-4 record, the odds are against them making the playoffs. Forget about the division, that’s over, but their wild card chances are looking pretty remote as well. The Eagles have the third toughest schedule for the remainder of the season, they have three teams in their own division ahead of them, and they have horrible division and conference records. They need to go at least 5-2 (maybe even 6-1) for the rest of the season to even have a shot, but the more likely scenario is that the Eagles will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years.
Reid is obviously not the only reason they lost tonight (the so-called 8th-ranked run defense played the biggest part), and he’s not the only reason they are sitting at the bottom of the NFC East, but his awful decisions add up over the course of a season (and a career), and those two running plays at the end were the last straw for me. He has driven me crazy over the years with his often baffling play calling, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt because his teams were always competitive and he reached four straight championship games and a Super Bowl. But it is painfully apparent that he has reached a plateau as a coach and he’s not going to get any better. He doesn’t learn from past mistakes and rarely adjusts to what’s happening during the game. He still has good qualities in a coach, but play calling and game management have never been among them, and he’s had ten years to improve. Unless he is willing to give up the play calling once and for all (which he won’t), I want him gone.