You may have heard that I generally don't think this play-calling business, this Andy Reid penchant for throwing the ball, is that big a deal. Truth is, I like a pass-first offense. I think it's more productive. When Reid talks about "situational running," I don't laugh like a lot of people. I get it. I agree with it.
All of that said, I still cannot figure out what the hell he and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg were thinking when they called 16 straight passing plays between the middle of the third quarter and the last drive of the Eagles' 10-3 loss.
I'm not like most people around here. I don't think that play calling was the main reason the Eagles lost. Up until the middle of the third quarter, they ran it a representative number of times -- 61 percent passes, 39 percent runs -- for a reasonable-but-unspectacular number of yards (12 carries, 44 yards). But then the play-calling went completely off the rails.
Sixteen straight passes, most of which were thrown when the Eagles were trailing by seven points. It was too early just to give up on it, especially when you consider how much trouble they were having executing in the passing game. Between the dropped balls and the off-target throws, why not run? I have no particular confidence that it was going to work, but you had to give it a try.
Why give up on it?
Was it just the seemingly-genetic itch to throw that Reid and Mornhinweg seemingly have? Maybe it is as simple as that, but I don't know.
Was it the series of long fields the Eagles were facing and the concern that they would never see the ball again? That would seem overstated, given how well the defense has been playing.
Was it a worry that the offense, executing so badly, could not conceivably sustain a long, multi-play, ball-control kind of drive, and that it needed a big play? Reid did not say that but, again, it seems over-thought if that was the reason.
I don't get it. And while I think that both of DeSean Jackson's dropped passes, as well as Asante Samuel's dropped interception -- all in the fourth quarter -- were all bigger reasons for the defeat, the play-calling is on the list. It has to be. Even if, most weeks, it is more symbol than substance, the play-calling against the Redskins could not help but make you wonder.