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  • Brian Baldinger


Brian Baldinger - On the Eagles

In literature the denouement is the moment in the plot where all the facts come together to reveal the ending.

It is the same in an NFL game. For an offensive lineman we know when the tide turns and we can take control of the game.

In Week 4 the Eagles traveled to Green Bay on a short week and after a disastrous defeat at home to the Detroit Lions the Eagles rebounded.

Late in the first half, after a great kickoff return by Miles Sanders, the Eagles started at the

Packers 17 yard line up 14-13. After four straight inside runs from Jordan Howard the Birds went up 21-13 and went into the locker room at famed Lambeau Field with the lead and control of the game.

It turned out to be their signature win through the first six games of the 2019 season.

They had a moment last week at US Bank Stadium to take control of that game as well. With score 24-17 the Birds started at their 45-yard line when Carson hit a streaking Alshon Jeffrey for a 26-yard strike over the out stretched arms of left corner back, Trey Wayans.

He struggled to stay in bounds after the catch, for if had been able to he could have tied the score on one catch and run.

No worries! on the next two plays DougP called 2 inside runs to Jordan Howard that gained 8 yards. The Eagles were faced with third and two at the Vikings 21-yard line.

Rather than run Howard a third straight time like he did two weeks prior in Green Bay, the Eagles opted to throw to Alshon (Jeffery) on a hitch screen out of a wide bunch formation." --- Brian Baldinger on a crucial decision by Doug Pederson early in the third quarter that did not work. This game-film photo shows the play Baldy is talking about. Baldy says Pederson should have trusted his new running game at his moment.

This was the denouement. Rather than run Howard a third straight time like he did two weeks prior in Green Bay, the Eagles opted to throw to Alshon on a hitch screen out of a wide bunch formation.

A couple of things to think about. I don't think there was any question that if they ran Howard a third straight time and he didn't make the first down that DougP would have gone for it on fourth down.

It was clearly four-down territory for the gambling Coach P.. Even though the Birds are only 4 for 12 on fourth downs this year, that low percentage wouldn't have deterred the Eagles.

But when the hitch to Alshon yielded a minus-one after the unblocked Kendricks made the tackle, Doug settled for an Elliott field goal to cut the Vikings lead to 24-20.

That call didn't lose the game, but had they gotten a first down and a fresh set of downs they would have had more opportunities to tie the score up, rest the defense more and assert their will on the vikings front. They lost all of that on a call that backfired.

I mention all of this as the 3-3 Eagles head to Dallas on Sunday night to face the reeling Cowboys who have lost three straight for the first time in two years. The Cowboys in many ways mirror the Eagles. 

They both do many things well and have many good strengths. But in both cases they don't detail their business very well which in another way means that they beat themselves more than their opponents.

Both teams enter this game at a crossroads coming off terrible defeats on the road. 

The winner temporarily gains control of the division. But more importantly both teams need to determine what their identity needs to be. The strength of this Eagles team is in their offensive line regardless if Jason Peters or Andre Dillard is at left tackle. 

It's time they play to their strengths and become a run dominant team using the skill sets of Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders and Carson Wentz. But to do that Doug needs to feed them the run game like he did in Green Bay when they ran for a season high 173 yards even though they got off to a 10-0 deficit. 

The by product of taking control of the line of scrimmage and becoming a run dominant team is that you are going to take control of time of possession and keep the defensive liabilities at cornerback on the bench.

I believe they could become a true thunder and lightning combination the way many of us from another generation remember Ricky Waters and Charlie Garner. Jordan Howard for tough inside runs moving the pile and Miles Sanders for outside explosive type runs. 

And I would not shy away from Carson short yardage and goal line situation from running QB sneaks and read option type plays. After six weeks of watching this team flounder, it's time to cement their identity and take control of this division which is clearly up for grabs. It isn't hard to see. 

The strength of this team is the offensive line and the two backs and Carson's ability to run and create. Even when DeSean Jackson returns this is how they can win this division and make a run in the playoffs

Nothing could be sweeter for all Eagle fans than to act on this premise NOW, in Arlington, TX in front of a massive NBC Sunday night national audience. *

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