For the first two weeks of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles overcame mistakes to win with late-game touchdown drives. On Sunday, against the Arizona Cardinals, they weren’t able to climb out of the hole they dug themselves.
Three fumbles, 5 sacks and 13 QB hits contributed to the Eagles 27-6 loss at the hands of the Cardinals, but perhaps the biggest downfall was the team’s lack of dedication – or, rather, their ignorance – of the running game. It was understandable that the team’s offensive focus in the second half was pass-heavy, thanks to a 24-0 first-half deficit.
But in the first half, before the game got out of hand, the Eagles seemed disinterested in handing the ball to running back LeSean McCoy. For the game, McCoy averaged 5.4 yards per carry but was handed the ball just 13 times. Even backup RB Bryce Brown averaged 7.0 yards per carry but got just 4 carries.
It’s no secret that head coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg love to throw the football, and for the most part, their philosophy has done well for them. At what point, though, will they realize that the Eagles can’t continue to win without a dedication to the running game?
It’s not as if they don’t have a reliable running back to hand the ball off to. McCoy has proven to be one of the better backs in the league. So what’s the problem? A dynamic running game could set up a vaunted play-action passing game that would see the Eagles complete game-changing passes each game, with WRs DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin (when healthy) taking full advantage.
Instead, the Eagles’ coaches insist on not handing the ball off, and seeing QB Michael Vick take hit after hit, sack after sack, as defenses key in on the passing game. Let’s hope that changes next Sunday night against the New York Giants.
The Philadelphia Phillies enter the last full week of the regular season needing a miracle to make the playoffs. They’ve put forth a valiant effort lately, going 40-26 after the All-Star break to get themselves back into the postseason discussion. Thanks to two straight losses to the Atlanta Braves this weekend, though, the Phils are 5 games out of a Wild Card spot with 9 games remaining and 4 teams ahead of them in the standings.
The Phillies have 6 games remaining against the Washington Nationals, 3 in the team’s last home series starting tomorrow and 3 in Washington to end the season. In the middle is a three-game set against the Marlins in Miami.
While it would be hard to imagine that the Phillies would be able to successfully climb the ladder enough to make the playoffs, fans should expect the team’s best effort from here on out. A disappointing end to the season is the most likely scenario for the Phils, but there are still 9 games to enjoy watching the team play. Who knows what can happen, right?
The projected pitching matchups for the Nationals series are Cole Hamels vs. John Lannan tomorrow night, Tyler Cloyd vs. Ross Detwiler on Wednesday, and Kyle Kendrick vs. Edwin Jackson on Thursday.