Sports Outside the Beltway

Westbrook off the Right End

In all the hubbub over the Eagles’ win over the Giants, one will hear many different reasons why the Giants lost: Coughlin stinks, Manning blew it, Andy Reid is a genius, etc. All of those are probably true to varying degrees, especially when one looks at the last two months and how the Giants went from 6-2 to 8-9, while the Eagles lost their MVP and didn’t flinch.

But the simplest answer lies in the Gamebook from today’s game. For much of the game, the Eagles kept running Brian Westbrook – and his backup, while he was out battling stomach cramps – up the middle, off the right guard or right tackle, or somewhere to the left side. They simply didn’t get far, though: Westbrook had 6 carries to the left for 10 yards, Buckhalter had 1 carry for no yards. That’s a net of 1.4 yards a carry to the left. They weren’t much better going up the middle or off right tackle, with Westbrook carrying 7 times for 15 yards, while Buckhalter earned a respectable 19 yards on 5 carries – combining for just under 3 yards a carry.

But the Eagles ran Brian Westbrook off right end seven times during the game, and here’s how each one went.

2nd quarter:

  • 2-1-NYG 49(14:22) 36-B.Westbrook right end for 49 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
  • 1-10-NYG 37(12:33) 36-B.Westbrook right end to NYG 15 for 22 yards (47-W.Demps).

3rd quarter:

1-10-PHI 26 (14:53) 36-B.Westbrook right end to PHI 37 for 11 yards. FUMBLES, ball out of bounds at PHI 37. R11

4th quarter:

  • 2-5-PHI 34(14:08) 36-B.Westbrook right end to PHI 37 for 3 yards (33-J.Bell).
  • 1-10-PHI 34(4:57) 36-B.Westbrook right end to PHI 45 for 11 yards (47-W.Demps).
  • 2-4-NYG 49(3:19) 36-B.Westbrook right end to NYG 44 for 5 yards (96-B.Cofield).
  • 1-10-NYG 32(2:00) 36-B.Westbrook right end to NYG 19 for 13 yards (54-B.Short).

The grand total: Seven rushes off right end for a grand total of 104 yards and a touchdown, an average of 14.9 yards per carry. The first one went for a spectacular touchdown; the second one was the very first play the next time the Eagles had the ball – 22 yards. The third was on the first play of the second half, and netted an extra five with the facemask. The last three were possibly the most important, all coming on the game-winning drive.

The Eagles must have seen something early on. They kept pounding to the left or up the middle, willing to net only 44 yards on 19 carries from their running backs… and then exploding to the right, especially when it mattered most. The Giants never caught on… and they’re heading home.

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