For 55 minutes and 26 seconds, the Giants blitzing slowed down the Eagles offense. New York came at Philadelphia with an inordinate amount of zero blitzes, leaving no safety deep and bringing more pass rushers than the Eagles could block. It knocked the Eagles timing off just a bit, leading to slight overthrows and underthrows by Michael Vick and a few dropped passes by receivers.
“Well we got some to get down there against the blitz and then, ah, we were just off, and that bothers me now, and I know it bothers our players,” said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. “So that was the first thing I heard from our players, ‘we’re going to get that thing taken care of.’”
After so much blitzing, with the game on the line, down 17-16 with 4:34 left and a 4th and 1 at the 50-yardline, the Eagles knew exactly what to expect. They also picked the perfect moment to get things taken care of, leading to a huge play.
“They had been [zero blitzing] throughout the game,” said Eagles head coach Andy Reid. “So we had that toss in and we thought we could hit it if they were going to come with a zero blitz.”
So the Eagles called the toss play, designed by offensive line coach Juan Castillo this week for short yardage situations. It was created to pick up the first down and give them the possibility of a home run play. As soon as the Birds came to the line of scrimmage, they saw exactly what they expected.
“They were packed in so hard, they’re obviously playing sneak and inside run,” said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
The 4th and 1 play didn’t start smoothly, but Michael Vick stayed poised even while bobbling the most important snap of the game.
“Luckily I had the glove on and I was able to get some grip and pitch it,” Vick said.
On the other end was LeSean McCoy, fighting the urge to hesitate as he saw his quarterback settling the ball.
“I was definitely scared when I seen him bobbling it,” McCoy said. “I was like ‘Oh, man!’ I didn’t want to stop and make sure he secured the ball, but I just tried to go on with the play. Being a great athlete like he is, I knew he would get me the ball and get it over to me.”
Vick made the toss just in the nick of time, as Osi Umenyiora’s outstretched hand was an inch, maybe two, away from deflecting the ball.
“I saw it all,” Mornhinweg said. “I had a pretty good view. He missed it by just that much. That’s the way this game is.”
At that point, things were running to perfection as Todd Herremans and Jason Peters pulled out to lead the way for McCoy. Brent Celek had control of the edge against linebacker Michael Boley and Jason Avant finished him off with a crack back block. Peters kicked out on safety Deon Grant, setting the stage for Herremans.
“As soon as I pulled around there it was just me and the safety and I was just hoping that Shady got through and was behind me,” Heremans said. “As soon as I was able to hit him, I saw [McCoy] take off running and I knew the rest.”
“I was on the ground,” said Vick. “I seen him running and it’s just gratifying when you see a guy trotting into the end zone.”
Oddly enough, Vick’s bobble that nearly cost the Eagles the chance to convert the play may have helped spring it for the game winning touchdown in a 27-17 victory.
“I think we had it without it,” Mornhinweg said. “I think, but I’m not sure.”
“It made the timing just perfect,” Mornhinweg added.
It was perfect timing all around. Perfect timing on the bobble, perfect timing on the pitch and perhaps most importantly, perfect timing on the play call.
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