Dissecting the Battle of the Birds

The theme this season: a yard short.

Some Eagles fans came to the game Thanksgiving night to feast on a few turkeys (that's a nicer version of what they have been calling Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb lately).

But Donovan relaxed and went back to playing the football he can play. Andy gave the running game a chance and stuck with it. The Eagles had 40 rushes, the most in 2 years.

It gave Donovan and the offense a chance to get in a rhythm, and they left with their 3rd most points in the Reid era.

Another great development: Brian Westbrook is feeling healthier and it showed. Interviewing Donovan's teammates after the game, they said the Donovan they were playing with the last 2 games was not the Donovan they know. Donovan doesn’t turn the ball over and doesn’t throw interceptions, so 7 turnovers in 7 quarters was so uncharacteristic of number 5.

His teammates felt Donovan was taking all of the blame publicly, especially after being singled out and benched. "We wanted to show him we have his back" was a common phrase used by the Eagles offensive players. The receivers and offensive line felt they have been letting their quarterback down and wanted to show him he didn’t deserve to be taking all of the blame.

This has brought the team closer together, and the younger players said watching how Donovan handled all of the controversy inspired them, as did Brian Dawkins' leadership going into the game.

The frustrating part about watching last night's performance is knowing they had it in them all along, and it may be too late. The Eagles have to win all 4 of their remaining games to have a chance at the playoffs. They did the same thing 2 years ago, but that was with Jeff Garcia and the divisional games they have coming up are tougher.

And they have lost already to the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys--  0-3 in the division. That will come back to haunt them.

And the Bears game where they couldn’t get one yard for a touchdown.

That's the theme to this season: a yard short.

Will that mean the end for Donovan McNabb after the season? We will see. If he's not back, it could be a rebuilding project for Andy Reid, just like the one he had when he first got here 10 years ago.  

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