So there I am in XFinity Live after the field goal goes wide. The Eagles fight song immediately blasts over the speakers, the crowd erupts in a frenzy of high-fives and fist pumps, and EatDatPussy445 is standing with both arms diagonally in the air like Rocky atop the Museum of Art. Pure ecstasy.
Then some of the cheers turn to low murmurs and suddenly we all see what’s happened: Big Red called timeout to freeze an already frozen kicker. Silence. I slump way the hell down into my booth seat because I can’t even watch us lose like this (plus I don’t want to get hit with anything when EDP goes on his inevitable rampage). But then only a few seconds later into my prayer and bubbling anger from losing this game — the moment of pure joy came again, only this time with the ball falling short. Who kicks a FG short anymore? LOL — cue the fight song. One to remember, for sure.
If the opposite would have happened and if that kick would have gone through, we’d be spending today pointing fingers. We all want to have someone to blame for when things don’t work out — sports or otherwise. And with the Eagles its usually been easy. It’s Andy’s fault. He never runs the ball. He doesn’t know the first thing about clock management. His gigantic frightening tribute Walrus stache is messing with his judgement. It’s Andy’s fault.
Well, it’s getting harder and harder to say that. During this game, Andy Reid ran the ball 3 straight times from the 1-yard line. I actually turned to EDP before the third down and said I would bet my first born that Andy Reid doesn’t run it a third time, and that because it’s Andy running the ball on third down would be so damned unlikely that it would actually amount to being a trick play. What does Andy then do? Run it a third straight time.
Sure, they didn’t score on that play. But his (and Marty’s) willingness to go against their own nature was a major contributing factor to them winning this game.
The truth is that Andy Reid does run the ball. Only he runs the ball the same way a baseball manager uses a closing pitcher — to end the game. While many in XFinity last night were yelling questions about why Bryce Brown was seeing so much first half action, I was taking notice to Big Red’s “closer” strategy. Keep Shady fresh for the fourth so he can close out a tired Giants defense and a D-line that doesn’t rotate as much as the Birds do. He did it all last year, and surely with much more confidence because of last year’s much stronger line. But the “closer” strategy seems to be one the coach sticks with.
Sure, this strategy is bullshit if the Eagles go down by any significant amount and need to pass. Sure, this strategy is bullshit if the rookie RB fumbles or fails to make a critical play that your starting back would’ve made. But it wasn’t bullshit last night. Andy stuck by his guns and made sure his All-Pro tailback was the one with the ball in his hands in crunchtime.
Intelligence has a weird way of looking dumb at times, doesn’t it?