The Eagles were handed a gift yesterday. The San Diego Chargers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meaning all the Eagles needed to do to earn a playoff spot was win their final two games.
Yesterday’s game came against the Washington Redskins. While the Redskins defeated the Eagles earlier in the year, the two teams were headed in opposite directions. The Redskins had lost five of six games, including last week’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Meanwhile, after a low point where QB Donovan McNabb was benched, the Eagles had run off an impressive three game win streak. The team looked resurgent on offense because coach Andy Reid remembered that RB Brian Westbrook was their best player and actually ran the ball instead of passing 80% of the time.
The Eagles were missing two of their best wide receivers. On a cold, windy day against a good Redskins secondary, you might think that the Eagles would definitely continue to run the ball.
However, Andy Reid is an offensive genius. He has an offensive system which involves a lot of passing and only uses the running game as a slight change of pace or later in the game to run down the clock. When the passing game is working, the offense does look great, and they score a lot of points. Of course, when it doesn’t, the offense stagnates and they look horrible.
This happens EVERY season. And eventually, Reid relents and starts working in more runs – because remember, their running back is their best player – and amazingly, the offense starts looking good again. The problem is, Reid is convinced that his system is the way to go and can’t resist going back to the pass happy attack. And it usually ends up costing them in big games. For a good example, see the 2004 NFC Championship game against the Carolina Panthers.
Anyway, as he always does, Reid went back to the pass heavy attack yesterday. Remember that it was cold and windy, and that the Eagles were missing two of their best receivers. In the second half, the Eagles actually went 16 straight plays without running the ball. And this was when they were only down by one score. Never mind the fact that the receivers were having trouble catching the ball, and Donovan McNabb was not especially accurate.
Finally, down by one touchdown with less than two minutes remaining, and the Redskins playing an especially soft defense, the Eagles managed to drive the ball down the field. After wasting a timeout early in the half, the Eagles were on the 18 yard line with only 12 seconds left and no timeouts. McNabb threw a pass that was caught just in front of the goal line, but did not get in. It was close, but the game ended with them just short of the end zone.
While they’re still technically alive for the playoffs, a lot would have to happen for them to make it in. And honestly, after yesterday, they don’t deserve it. Their coach thinks its still 2003 and that McNabb is capable of winning games by himself, when he doesn’t have a star receiver. Those days are long gone. Instead, you get decent receivers like Reggie Brown who can’t make a game changing play. Or young receivers like DeSean Jackson who may one day be a star, but yesterday drops two long passes, including what would have been the tying score.
And yet, thanks to the three game winning streak, I’m sure Reid will be back next year. The past two seasons, he’s won just enough games to keep his job, but not enough to make the playoffs. The sad thing is, there’s playoff worthy talent on the team, but the coaching is holding them back.
In other news…
– Mrs. Cutter got me the 2008 World Series DVD as a gift. Watching that last night certainly made me feel a little better about the Eagles’ loss.
– Can they stop advertising the movie Marley and Me as a movie that men will enjoy? Yeah, guys liked Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers. And you can put football references in the commercials too. But that doesn’t make it a guys’ movie. And from what I’ve been told, it isn’t the fun, lighthearted comic romp that the commercials make it out to be. It’s supposed to be kind of depressing.
– Do people really buy cell phones as Christmas gifts? To get the good prices, don’t you have to activate a new plan? How does that work if the person isn’t there? Has anyone given a phone as a gift and can explain this?
– Also, do people really give cars as Christmas presents? How is that feasible?
– We saw the comedian Bert Kreischer on Saturday. We had seen him as part of the Jameson comedy tour before when he was so drunk, he could barely perform and fell off the stage. He was funny on the show Reality Bites Back, and since we had nothing else going on, we decided to go.
Before the show, Mrs. Cutter saw him and asked if he was going to be relatively sober this time, and he promised her that he would. Of course, he didn’t realize what kind of audience he would have. A lot of his act deals with interacting with the audience, and going from there. Being a Saturday night, there were some drunk people out there who kept interacting with him. For instance, one guy got on stage to demonstrate how he shaved his pubes. The girl sitting in front of us thought this was an excuse for her to keep talking and shouting things throughout. And she wasn’t even clear or coherent. At one point, Bert just stopped talking and let her drunkenly ramble for a couple of minutes.
Not only did audience members interact with him, they also kept buying him shots. Anyway, it was pretty funny overall, and because he didn’t live up to his promise of staying sober, Mrs. Cutter got a free copy of his CD. Not bad.
Today is my last day of work before we head up to Long Island to celebrate the American holiday of Christmas. Hope everyone’s holiday is grand.