Andy bashers take a holiday

"I am not looking ahead a lick," Eagles coach Andy Reid said after his team beat the Vikings to set up a second-round playoff date with the Giants. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

The Andy-bashers are giving the coach grudging credit for sticking with the run game against the Vikings even though it wasn't working. This is wrong. He didn't stick with it. They weren't getting anything out of it (but for one 27-yard run by Correll Buckhalter). The rest of the time,  Brian Westbrook was banging his head against a wall and he didn't look like he had the burst it would take to bounce outside. So Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg did what they almost always do in that situation -- they threw.

At the point where Westbrook caught the 71-yard screen pass for a touchdown, the Eagles has called about 68 percent passes and 32 percent runs. When they are losing, these are the kinds of numbers that get Reid barbecued. It is only a few play calls away from the sainted concept of balance, but people here insist that those play calls are the holy grail. Well, he wasn't balanced yesterday. So why aren't the Balance Police out in force?

Because it was never about the play-calling,  except in the most extreme cases. It is about the players. Most of all,this was about a defense that tightened up at halftime and smothered Minnesota. On the other side of the ball, it was about Eagles receivers holding on to the ball and, especially, it was about Donovan McNabb delivering the ball under pressure. He did turn it over twice, and that can get you beat against a better offensive team, but McNabb played a tough game and absorbed a lot of punishment and functioned well overall.

It is the players, not the play-calls.

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