Eagles Flew It, Andy Blew It
Yong Kim, Phila Daily News
"Three points. The Patriots and three points. It's killing me." Andy Reid
Tell me about it.
Were you screaming in joyous disbelief at the Eagles-Patriots game most of last night?
Jumping, pumping, high-fiving. Yelling, YES! Cheering the passing, the blocking, the defense, the tricks, the kicks, the sacks, the TD's. By. The. Eagles.
The Heart and Soul and Spirit of our team was in full view last night. The Eagles were galvanized as we haven't seen them, really seen them, since they pounded the stuffing out of Dallas last year at the Linc.
Did you groan in agonized disbelief at the end of the first half as Andy Reid let Jabar Gaffney's touchdown catch stand without a fight?
Madden and Michaels were stunned. Replay after replay showed Gaffney clearly out-of-bounds. Yet Andy Reid never challenged the call. Why not? What did he have to lose?
After all, that was the Eagles game plan: play like you've got nothing to lose. The strategy was winning. So why didn't Reid take it all the way?
I'll give you one reason: Andy Reid is timeout-challenged. He burns them, he blows them, he squanders them. And when he can actually afford to use one, he pulls his punches.
Yes, the Pats are a great team. Yes, AJ threw three too many interceptions. But he also threw three touchdown passes. The Eagles might have won anyway. They were playing like a great team. And AJ Feeley was playing like a real quarterback.
The 11-0 Pats have beaten every other team by more than 24 points -- the point spread on the Eagles. Yet in the end, the Eagles held the mighty Patriots to a measly three point win. Deja vu all over again.
A bogus Patriot touchdown might have made the difference. Would Donovan McNabb have made another difference? No. Not today's McNabb. A younger, stronger McNabb didn't make a difference in Super Bowl XXXIX.
I've made it clear I'm not a McNabb fan. Yes, he's got some of the most impressive stats in NFL ... on paper. Yes, he's an elite franchise QB with moves and skill to spare ... when he's on his game. Yes, he's taken the Eagles to Division titles, playoffs and to one Super Bowl.
But not all the way. Never all the way. "Almost" doesn't count.
Donovan McNabb is not a closer. Put pressure on him and he caves. Physically. Mentally. As a player and a leader. Plus, he's fragile. If you drop him, he breaks.
Stats and skills and leadership don't matter if the quarterback's not on the field. Or is playing hurt. Or has lost his wind and his will. Or is getting too old.
AJ Feeley's come in from back-up and won in the past. Will he get a chance to do it again? Coach Reid says McNabb won't practice but will play next week. The fans aren't sure that's wise.
Last night's Eagles-Patriots game was a flashback. Let's hope it's not back to the future.
Update: Well, it seems sometimes I actually make sense during my sports rants.
Playback Philadelphia Inquirer 11/27/2007
Why no review?
Referee Gene Steratore's crew got the call right when Jabar Gaffney scored just before halftime on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Brady, but the play was close enough that it should have at least been reviewed. There was no way the officials could be 100 percent certain of their call without seeing it on replay.
Two other mysteries on that play: Why did Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown stop running with Gaffney and why did back judge Tony Steratore throw a penalty flag?
- Bob Brookover