On NBC the other night, Tiki Barber's cohorts were lauding him because Barber apparently predicted in the studio that Andy Reid would call running plays on third-and-3 and fourth-and-1 near the end of the Eagles' loss to the Giants. You might have heard that the plays failed.
By definition, that makes them lousy play calls -- and that's on the coach, and that's fine. But when Barber said that Reid had become "predictable" in those situations, well, that isn't true. On fourth-and-1, everybody knew it was going to be a running play because virtually everybody in the NFL runs in that situation. There was no special clairvoyance required there, despite the back-patting occurring on television.
The issue was the third-and-3. Maybe the formation tipped Barber to something, but that isn't what he said. What he said was that Reid had become predictable. But there was nothing predictable about the play. It might have been a lousy play but it wasn't predictable. The Eagles had not run on third-and-3 all season, not once. How could this be predictable?
For what it's worth, here are the six previous third-and-3 plays this season.
Dallas, first quarter, incomplete to DeSean Jackson.
Pittsburgh, second quarter, 4-yard pass to Lorenzo Booker. (Who?)
Chicago, third quarter, incomplete to Reggie Brown.
San Francisco, second quarter, complete to Jackson for 2 yards.
Seattle, first quarter, incomplete to Kevin Curtis.
Seattle, second quarter, complete to Curtis for 26 yards.
That's it -- six plays, six passes, two successful conversions.
There was nothing predictable about a running play when the Eagles broke the huddle there. For Tiki Barber, it was a good guess.