Giants vs. Eagles: Philly Overcomes a Lot to Win, but Can Andy Reid Be Trusted?

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistOctober 1, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30: Head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles argues a call during the second half of the Eagles game against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

On the surface, it would appear the Philadelphia Eagles did quite a lot to improve on bad habits Sunday night in a 19-17 victory over the New York Giants.

In beating one of the league's hottest teams, the Eagles—who had turned it over a dozen times in their previous three games—coughed it up on zero occasions. Michael Vick appeared to take fewer hits, and they actually ran more than they passed, which is unheard of in Andy Reid's world.

What matters more than anything else is that Philadelphia won the game. Yeah, they've been outscored by 17 points in their four games thus far, but the Eagles are 3-1 despite that and lead the NFC East a quarter of the way into the season. 

The fact that they beat the Giants, despite losing Nnamdi Asomugha for a large chunk of the game and despite getting very little from the injured Jeremy Maclin, indicates this team has the talent to overcome quite a few obstacles this season.

A closer examination of their performance Sunday night, however, reveals that there's still a lot to be concerned about in Philadelphia. Chiefly, I don't believe the players or the fans are in a position to trust Reid, who continues to make baffling calls in a disturbingly consistent manner.

Sunday night, there was that useless challenge on an 11-yard reception in the first half. Reid won that, but it wasn't worth using a challenge on and didn't result in points anyway. 

Then there was the fact that Reid again failed to utilize LeSean McCoy properly. I mentioned above that the pass-run ratio was balanced for once, but that was only the case because of a halftime adjustment. In the first half, Philly ran it just eight times for one yard. 

Reid and the staff also failed to use McCoy in key situations. It's as if they panic at times like these, and when that happens, they automatically default to Vick roll-outs. On a fourth-quarter drive with a three-point lead, McCoy had run three times for 29 yards, but once they hit the red zone, they went away from their superstar running back on three straight plays and settled for a field goal. 

Vick was sacked just twice on the night, but both took place on third-and-short inside the red zone. That indicates Reid is again overthinking things. 

Earlier in the second half, they did give the ball to McCoy in the red zone, but it was an insult to the Giants defense that McCoy was given six consecutive handoffs to close out a drive that again resulted in a field goal. It was borderline arrogant that they ran the exact same stretch play right twice in a row on the one-yard line before simply running the same play in the opposite direction on third down. 

At the end of the game, there was, of course, Reid's decision to ice Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes on a last-second field-goal attempt for the win. Luckily for Reid, Tynes missed the mulligan, but attempting to freeze a kicker on a 54-yarder—where the kicker's actually in somewhat of a "nothing to lose" situation—defies logic. 

Let's keep in mind that the Giants had injuries, too. The Eagles were supposed to win this game, especially being at home. I don't know if our expectations for this team have been softened by what's gone down of late, but simply keeping their heads above water in prime-time home games isn't something to be fired up about. 

I knew the turnover issue would likely be alleviated, and I figured this patchwork offensive line would begin to develop some cohesion, just as they did last year after taking so much criticism in 2010. But I've been questioning Reid's ability to manage games for at least a decade, and I know I'm not alone on this soapbox. 

At what point do we conclude that the man won't change? If he hasn't learned to govern the team more smoothly in key situations by now, it's probably safe to conclude that'll be the case for the remainder of his coaching career. 

The question is whether the Eagles are good enough to overcome not only the standard issues at play—injuries, offensive line woes, etc.—but also to compensate for the bone-headed decisions that continue to be made by their head coach.