Philadelphia Eagles News

Will Eagles Play Keep Away From Manning?

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg knows that there is an outstanding quarterback that will be running the opponent's offense later today in Indianapolis' Peyton Manning. Will that play a role in how Mornhinweg orchestrates the Eagles offense?

"You do whatever it takes to win the next game," Mornhinweg said. "There's some games where you're going to have to throw the football to win. It's that simple. There's other games where you may run it to win."

The Eagles could, quite simply, run the ball to eat up the clock and keep Manning off the field. LeSean McCoy is having a breakout season. The Eagles have the ninth-best rushing attack. The Colts have the 28th-ranked rushing defense.

Is the game plan really going to be that easy to put together? Highly doubt it. Looking back through the archives, the last time the Eagles could have looked to employ a "hot potato" philosophy on offense would have been in 2007 against the record-setting Patriots offense. That year, the Patriots set the NFL record for most points with 589 as quarterback Tom Brady tossed a record 50 touchdown passes.

The Eagles traveled to face New England in Week 12 of that season. The Eagles got the ball first and was able to set the tone. With backup A.J. Feeley getting the start for the Eagles, the first play of the game was a short pass to Brian Westbrook for 2 yards. After a Westbrook run of 5 yards, the Eagles had a manageable third-and-3. Feeley locked in on Westbrook and then-Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel picked off the pass and returned it for a touchdown.

Despite the early deficit, the Eagles came back and scored on each of their next two drives. The Eagles scored 21 first-half points which was the most scored by a Patriots opponent in the first half of a game up to that point. The Patriots received quite a scare from the Eagles that night. The Eagles led midway through the fourth quarter before falling 31-28.

The Eagles were close or ahead the entire game and Feeley attempted 42 passes, was sacked two times and scrambled for a gain on another. Westbrook had 17 carries as the Eagles finished with just 19 total rush attempts, including Feeley's scramble. Westbrook led the Eagles with seven receptions as the team used the screen game to keep the Patriots off-balance. Bottom line, the Eagles were not afraid to throw the ball that night.

It will be interesting to see what the game plan is today against Manning and the Colts, but the Eagles will continue to do what they think they need to do to win. When you have Michael Vick coming back along with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, why would you be afraid to throw the ball?

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:00 p.m., November 7

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