Was that really Andy Reid on the sideline last Sunday? The Eagles called 17 runs in the second half against the Giants, shocking pretty much everyone. And, as I pointed out on Monday, that new focus on the run game made Michael Vick into a much better quarterback. With the pressure off of his back, Vick completed eight of 11 attempts for 109 yards in the second half.
Let's dive into the All-22 coaches film on this one. The first thing to note is that the Eagles didn't just run the ball more -- they called different run plays. The staple of the Howard Mudd offensive line is the stretch to the outside (read more about that here). Those outside runs behind athletic linemen worked great last year, but the patchwork offensive line the Eagles trotted out last week couldn't execute the same way.
In the second half (except down by the goal line), the Eagles abandoned those run schemes in favor of more straight-up blocking, often with the I-Formation. It worked:
Linemen set the edge, McCoy follows his FB.
Even Dallas Reynolds got great push here.
Block down to get McCoy the edge.
The Eagles also used fullback Stanley Havili in an H-Back set up for a few plays, giving them some interesting flexibility. Here they fake the toss to Bryce Brown and hand off to Havili coming up the gut instead. He follows Todd Herremans into the hole:
Later, they came back to the same look and used it to get numbers on the right side instead:
Suddenly, with the run game working, Vick's job gets so much easier. The linebackers actually bought this run fake, leaving Brent Celek wide open over the middle:
And with the defense now trying to both stop the run and prevent the pass, remembering to contain and control Vick's scrambling becomes a greater problem. He ran three times for 30 yards in the second half: