Monday, December 13, 2010

Running Out the Clock

From LeSean McCoy And The Offensive Line Ran Out The Clock On The Cowboys

I’ve got to give Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and the Birds offensive line a big pat on the back for the job they did last night with about four minutes to go in the game. The Birds were leading by only three points after the Cowboys had put together a long drive and scored quickly on a pass play from Jon Kitna to Jason Witten.

I didn’t think the Eagles defense was in any position to be stopping the Cowboys from at least getting in position to tie the game. If the Birds offense had been forced into a three and out, I thought it was almost a sure thing that Dallas would at least tie the game if they got the ball back.

I also wouldn’t have been surprised if Dallas had come back and won the game because they had the momentum. The Birds secondary was starting to get that dazed look in their eyes which we saw previously in the Houston and Chicago games.

But, the Birds didn’t allow them to get the ball back because they ran the ball down the Cowboys throats. They did it with the Cowboys expecting the Eagles to run the football. They weren’t misdirections, reverses or scrambles by Michael Vick. No, they were handoffs to McCoy right up the middle and into the guts of the Dallas front seven.

McCoy and the offensive line delivered a punishing knockout blow to the Cowboys.

I thought the interior of the Birds offensive line did a great job of using precision blocking against Dallas. Eagles center Mike McGlynn used his size and strength to overpower Cowboys Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff. Numerous times, he got into Ratliff and blocked him effectively one-on-one, which allowed the Eagles guards to get to the second level and block the Dallas linebackers. Yes, the nose tackle did make some plays, but he didn’t do anything during the last drive with the game on the line.

Left guard Todd Herremans did a nice job of blocking down on Ratliff as well. He also was effective in pulling the other way and leading McCoy into the hole. Herremans smothered Ratliff a few times when he blocked down on him, which is no easy job because Ratliff does a great job versus down blocks. He also caught the second touchdown pass of his career, which occurred on a third down at the goalline.

Right guard Max Jean-Gilles played some of their best football last night. Jean-Gilles is a good run blocker, especially when he can fire out and block the guy in front of him.

Tight ends Brent Celek and rookie Clay Harbor did a great job of pulling and knocking both DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer out, in order to open up holes for McCoy. It was a great strategy because Ware and Spencer get upfield on their pass rushes which opens a hole for the inside run.

Left tackle Jason Peters continued his improved play since he returned from his knee surgery. He and right tackle King Dunlap did a solid job of blocking Ware and Spencer. Peters and Dunlap got help part of the night, but they were also left in one-on-one situations from time to time and they did the job.

On the final drive, Peters and Dunlap came off and blocked well with the game still in doubt.

McCoy ran for 149 yards on only 16 carries which is remarkable. He was exploding through gaps in the interior of the Dallas defensive front and getting to the second and third level on nearly each attempt.

McCoy has great vision inside, so he’s able to find seams to run through inside. The Cowboys have a good run defense but they didn’t even slow the former Pitt Panther down as he ran out the clock, last night

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