As I sit here at the Cleveland airport with six hours to reflect since my last post, I have concluded that, yup, the running game is still broken. There was a point in yesterday's game where Boling and I looked at each other and said, "Why do they ever run? Just throw it every time."
I mentioned this on Saturday, but the question now becomes, why not become a pass-happy team? Matt Hasselbeck is making good decisions, for the most part, the O line, while dreadful in run blocking, is doing a good job of protecting Matt. They are getting back Deion Branch. They have back D.J. Hackett. Bobby Engram is playing lights out. Shaun sustained yet another injury. Pork Chop is not the answer along the front. Ray Willis has not played in five weeks and may not be ready next week anyway even if they do want to make a change. The receivers are the strength of their team. With the way things are going up front, I'm not sure LaDainian Tomlinson could gain yards. Even when they were passing on every down in the second half, anything other than a draw play was getting stuffed. So why not change philosophies?
They keep saying they have to be able to run to have success in the playoffs, but at this point they just need to get to the playoffs. The good news is that they have a stretch of games coming up against five straight teams with losing records, including against all their division opponents. Wins in those games could cement the division title. But they beat San Francisco the first time over the top. They beat St. Louis over the top. They almost beat Arizona over the top. As evidenced last night against the Cowboys, Philly is susceptible to getting beat in the air. They are not going to be able to run against Baltimore anyway. So why keep trying something over and over again that clearly is not working, even against the dregs of the league? At this point you kind of feel like, let Shaun get healthy, play Morris and Weaver for their pass blocking and receiving abilities and go from there. And if they are not good enough to win with their strengths, then they are not good enough. Sometimes that is the harsh reality.
I do not get back in time for Holmgren's afternoon press conference but Darrin Beene will be there in my stead. I'm sure he will post the highlights.