NFC East Roundup: Division Still A Toss-Up
Here’s our weekly look at what’s going on around the NFC East after an interesting Week 3.
Cowboys backup quarterback Brandon Weeden was efficient, but he wasn’t good enough to win, writes ESPN’s Todd Archer.
Weeden’s final numbers: 22-of-26 passing, 232 yards, no touchdowns, one interception. He actually set a team record by completing his first nine passes, giving him a streak of 21 straight completions dating back to last season. Tony Romo, whom Weeden replaced, held the record with 17 straight completions.
“Overall, I thought I was efficient,” Weeden said.
He was efficient, but it wasn’t good enough to win. He threw two passes down the field. His first pass attempt of the game was a long throw to Terrance Williams that was negated by a penalty. His second was a seam route to Jason Witten in the third quarter.
The Dallas Morning News’s Rick Gosselin was not impressed with the Cowboys’ defense against the Falcons on Sunday.
Yes, the Cowboys got smacked in the face Sunday.
That’s what happens when the Dallas defense gets overexposed — the Atlanta Falcons did the overexposing on this day, slapping the Cowboys around for five touchdowns and 438 yards in a 39-28 triumph.
The Cowboys entered the game with the NFL’s second-ranked defense. But let’s not kid ourselves. A unit playing without its two best pass rushers (Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory), its best run defender (Rolando McClain) and its best cover cornerback (Orlando Scandrick) was not the second-best defense in all of football.
An even-keeled Tom Coughlin helped the Giants climb out of an 0-2 start, says the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz.
Something good finally happened to the Giants. Their 32-21 victory over the Redskins earned no style points and generated no seismic waves coursing through the league yet it did allow all involved to get though a rare weekend off without having to zig and zag while avoiding the inevitable bombardment of negative vibes. The idle Giants gained ground on the Cowboys (2-1) and remained even with the Eagles (1-2).
There is no doubt the Giants, after consecutive crushing losses, needed someone to lead them and the way Coughlin set the course and pulled hard on the rudder helped calm a desperate situation.
Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz announced he’ll be back for the team’s Week 4 game against Buffalo, according to Justin Tasch of the New York Daily News.
Indications had been that Cruz would finally return to practice this week, setting himself up for his season debut on Sunday against the Bills. Cruz posted an online video Sunday to announce that he definitely will play next weekend, despite the fact that he hasn’t practiced since Aug. 17.
“I’m extremely excited to start my next game, to play my first game in this young 2015 season,” Cruz said in the video. “I’m excited to team up with Odell (Beckham,) man. It’s gonna be fun.”
Cruz was working his way back from a torn patellar tendon suffered in a game at Philadelphia in 2014, which ended his season.
Much to the chagrin of head coach Jay Gruden, Washington hasn’t been generating big plays, writes Mike Jones of the Washington Post.
The absence of game-changing plays in any of the three phases (offense, defense and special teams) proved costly, and also served as the most frustrating element of the matchup for coach Jay Gruden.
“What bothers me the most is, we did nothing to recover. We gave ourselves no momentum shift,” Gruden said. “They just kept piling up. Defensively we didn’t do anything to create a turnover to get some momentum back. Special teams we got a kick return with about three minutes to go in the game but it was too late. Offensively obviously we tried to get some things going but never really could.”
It’s not just the Eagles: drops are plaguing other teams in the NFC East as well, including Washington, says ESPN’s John Keim.
The Washington Redskins could soon have a decision to make at slot receiver, especially if Andre Roberts continues his poor start. Then again, should it be all that difficult?
In 19 games with Washington, Roberts has been targeted 79 times and caught 41 passes. That is, by far, the worst percentage among the Redskins’ receivers. He’s been targeted eight times this season with five catches and two big drops. More is needed.
“We expect more out of Andre but he has done some good things, especially in the running game. He’s headed up on people, safeties blocking for our backs, which is a very important part,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.