Eagles coach Andy Reid should thank his lucky stars the Redskins' playcalling trio went conservative at the worst possible time Sunday. The Redskins outplayed a flat Eagles team for much of the afternoon, but they left the door cracked just long enough for Philly to escape with an important win.
With the win, the Eagles improved to 7-4 and remained only one game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East race. But with a 21-16 lead, the Redskins had the chance to knock out the Eagles when cornerback Justin Tryon intercepted Donovan McNabb late in the third quarter. The Skins had a first-and-goal situation at the Eagles' 10-yard line -- and then they went totally conservative.
Quarterback Jason Campbell had thrown two interceptions inside his own territory in the first half, so it basically looked like Jim Zorn and the other playcalling gurus lost faith in their quarterback. It's a shame, too, since he made some outstanding throws in the game. On third-and-goal, Campbell could've extended the play with his feet but he instead threw the ball out of the end zone. The Eagles settled for a short field goal to make it 24-16 and the Eagles' offense suddenly caught fire.
With wide receiver DeSean Jackson sidelined with an injury, McNabb started dialing up Jason Avant. The wide receiver had back-t0-back catches of 46 and 22 yards. He was brilliant against the Chargers two weeks ago -- and he came up big again in a huge spot. David Akers connected on a short field goal and the Eagles escaped with a 27-24 win.
The Eagles started the game with a botched onside kick attempt. Joe Mays ran into David Akers' kick and then Redskins running back Quinton Ganther picked it up and raced the other direction. The Redskins scored quickly on a Campbell touchdown to make it 7-0. The Redskins should've had the lead at halftime, but Campbell threw his second interception of the half to Asante Samuel, setting up a field goal by the Eagles.
The Eagles once again struggled in the red zone. They moved the ball well with LeSean McCoy in the running game, but playcaller Marty Mornhinweg refused to stick with McCoy. Sometimes you win games you don't deserve. That's the case for the Eagles this afternoon. But if they make the playoffs, this win will count just the same.
It's another gut-wrenching loss for the Redskins. But I'm tired of hearing everyone take up for Zorn. He's a big boy -- and he cost his team today by going conservative when he didn't need to. And yes, I think he still has more decision-making power than Sherm Lewis.