Yesterday’s NFC Championship game against the Cardinals may have been Donovan’s last shot at winning a Super Bowl. Yet, while the Eagles couldn’t hold court against the Cardinals, there are five key reasons why McNabb cannot and should not be blamed for losing the team’s fourth NFC title game.
- Philly’s defense looked tired and old. Did you see Brian Dawkins try and tackle Larry Fitzgerald at the goal line in the first half? He didn’t wrap up and Fitzgerald easily broke the tackle. Both Boldin and Fitzgerald are notorious for their yards after catch, and Philly never could catch up.
- Brian Westbrook was a no-show. What happened to Brian Westbrook? He has been a virtual no-show for Philly’s entire playoff run. If we exclude his 71 yard touchdown catch off of a screen pass, Philly’s offense has looked...Average. McNabb has basically kept this team going for last quarter of the season as Westbrook continues to nurse his numerous injuries.
- Cardinals controlled both lines of scrimmage. It’s 4th-and-inches and the game is on the line. Tim Hightower takes the Warner handoff; swings right and strolls along for an Arizona first down. Ballgame. Philly had no chance after that. The Cardinals had their way with the Eagles line during that key drive as it seems the Philadelphia defense had no life left.
- Larry Fitzgerald. He is balling out of his mind right now. Remember how during the week everyone kept saying that Jim Johnson would have a game plan to stop Fitzgerald? Yea, how did that work out for the Eagles' secondary? The Cardinals must have run 100 drag routes to Fitzgerald all game and the Eagles had no defense for it. Simply put, Larry Fitzgerald is a full grown man.
- Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. Love how Westbrook averaged 3.8 yards a carry and Buckhalter touched the ball only four times. Way to throw ‘em off track guys. See how the Cardinals threw that flea flicker to Fitzgerald going away? See how great it worked out for them to give Fitzgerald favorable match-up’s? What about using one of your most dangerous weapons, DeSean Jackson, in a few gadget plays and maybe using him out of the backfield.
While McNabb did throw behind a few of his receivers, having Darnell Dockett and the Cardinals defensive line in your face doesn’t help with accuracy. McNabb had all day to throw at times, but when the Cardinals came, they brought the heat. If the Eagles have any shot at making it this far again, there has to be some type of offensive continuity next season. Reid and Mornhinweg have to want to commit to the run and the Eagles need to pick-up a bruising back for third down situations.
I feel for veterans like McNabb and Dawkins because you can tell that they left it all out on the field. But this year did not differ in terms of results for the Eagles. Make it to the NFL Championship game, but they usually flame out in the end. We all thought that this year would be different for the boys in green, but the Cardinals thought differently.