Combined Record of teams in Eagles’ Wins: 57-63
Combined Record of Teams in Eagles’ Losses: 55-34
Combined Record of Teams in Eagles’ Ties: 3-11-1
Analysis: Well, for the most part, the Eagles win the games they are supposed to. With the exception, of course, of the horrid tie against the Bengals. Because that was sickening. And they have three marquee victories against the Giants, Steelers and Falcons. But the two losses against the Redskins, their loss against the Bears, and the tie against the Bengals, games that playoff teams would have won, will likely cost them. The combined record of the Redskins, Bears and Bengals? 19-24-1. If the Eagles beat the Bengals and win at least one against the Redskins or Bears, they are 10-5 right now, and would at least control their own playoff destiny.
Average Margin of Victory: 18
Average Margin of Defeat: 9.1
Analysis: The average margin of defeat shrinks to 6.5 if you eliminate the Baltimore game, when Donovan McNabb was benched with the Eagles trailing by a whopping three points. Put simply, in games decided by a touchdown or less, the Eagles are 1-5-1. You could say that the Falcons game actually was closer than the 13 point difference, but you would then have to concede that the Giants victory was not as close as the six point differential. We couldn’t win the close ones, plain and simple. We couldn’t get that one yard; we didn’t manage the clock properly; we didn’t take advantage of opportunities earlier in the game. 1-5-1 in games decided by a touchdown or less! The brass will probably spin this at the end of the year, citing how close this team is to turning it around. Losers will spin – winners just win.
Average Time of Possession in Games Won: 34:34
Average Time of Possession in Games Lost: 26:43
Time of Possession in Game Tied: 33:16 (as opposed to 41:44 for the Bengals, including the overtime)
Average Rushing Yards in Games Won: 124.9
Average Rushing Yards in Games Lost: 82.2
Rushing Yards in Game Tied: 68 (in 75 friggin’ minutes!)
Percentage of Running Plays in Games Won: 45.1%
Percentage of Running Plays in Games Lost: 33.6 %
Percentage of Running Plays in Game Tied: 23.1%
Analysis: I mean, this speaks for itself, doesn’t it? Let’s analyze the Eagles this year against teams with winning records. In those games, the Eagles are 4-6. In those four wins, running plays accounted for 48.2% of the offense, and their average time of possession was 34:53. In their six losses against teams with winning records, running plays accounted for 33.6% of the offense, and their average time of possession was 26:59. Moral of the story? Go ahead, be pass-happy against mediocre competition. But if you want to win against the big boys, you better control the clock. And the way to do that? Hmmm…by running the EFFING FOOTBALL!
A Few More Fun Tidbits: In the week five loss to the Redskins, the Eagles ran 47 plays. And the Redskins ran 75! In the week 10 loss to the Giants, the Eagles time of possession was absurd – only 20:50. Against the Bengals, in five quarters, the Eagles ran the ball 18 times. The only time in a regular four-quarter game the Eagles ran less was the 16 times they ran the ball this week against the Redskins. In our week eight victory over the Falcons, the Eagles ran for 192 yards. In the week 13 victory over the Cardinals, the Eagles ran for 185 yards, had literal balance in the play calling (40 runs, 40 passes), and held the ball for 39:33. In the week 14 win over the Giants, the Eagles ran the ball 42 times and passed 30, with a 34:54 time of possession. That’s right, folks, they actually ran more than they threw. 12 more times, even. And they won! (Sigh)
Final Analysis: I mean, it’s obvious, right? Clearly, Andy Reid’s pass-happy approach simply isn’t cutting it any longer. Let’s list the top ten rushing teams this season: Giants, Ravens, Vikings, Panthers, Falcons, Titans, Patriots, Redskins, Jets, Raiders. Combined Record: 96-54. Now let’s list the top ten passing teams this season: Saints, Cardinals, Broncos, Texans, Colts, Eagles, Cowboys, Chargers, Patriots, Dolphins. Combined Record: 86-63-1. And take away the lowly Raiders off of that list, and the top nine rushing teams are 92-43. That’s pretty damn good.
Now, of course, a lot more goes into play – defense, special teams, an adequate passing attack, etc. But eight of the top nine teams in rushing all have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. That says something to me.
Does it say anything to you, Mr. Reid? Probably not. You would probably answer that, in the immoral words of Ben Folds, “And that’s why my philosophy / It keeps me walking when I’m falling down.”
Well, you’re falling, Andy. And getting close to failing, too. Sure, I get it – we all go back to what we know. And if it keeps you walking when you’re falling down, well, just know that it may walk you right out of town.
And all you had to do was run…