NFC East Roundup: Kirk Cousins Perfect In Win

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

Photo courtesy: USA Today Sports Images

After 10 weeks, the NFC East is no closer to being solved than when the season began. First place is separated from third place by a meager half-game difference.

Here’s a recap of what you may have missed, or what you might still have trouble believing, from the division that never sleeps.

In front of former Washington greats, Kirk Cousins delivered the best game of his career. More from the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg.

If Sunday was a flawless day for the Washington Redskins, how much more perfect was it for their starting quarterback?

Kirk Cousins played perhaps the best game of his career in a 47-14 thrashing of the Saints. His offense — aided by, shall we say, a cooperative Saints defense — kept statisticians busy, prompting one “most since” or “best since” announcement after another. (“Most first-half yards since the 1988 Super Bowl” was a personal favorite.)

His few mistakes were erased by Saints miscues, his receivers seemed untouchable as they zoomed around defenders, and he became the first Washington quarterback to throw at least 20 passes and finish with a perfect passer rating since at least 1950.

Washington is back in contention in the weak NFC East. Next, they have to prove they can win a road game, writes ESPN’s John Keim.

There’s still a long way to go and until the Redskins win a road game it’s hard to believe they’ll stay in contention. Also, every team they’ve beaten at home is under .500 (three of their victims are 4-5 while New Orleans is 4-6).

But the Redskins have been doing what they’re supposed to at home. They’re 4-1 and have outscored the opposition by 44 points – of course, it was only plus-11 before Sunday. On the road they have a minus-48 point differential with three of the four games being decided by 11 points or more.

However: The combined record of their home opponents is 20-26; their road opponents are 25-12. Up next on the road: 9-0 Carolina.

The Giants had the Patriots backed into a corner, says the New York Times’ Bill Pennington, before they made a litany of late-game mistakes and watched a win slip away.

What if the rookie Landon Collins had held on to the interception he appeared to have grabbed, at least initially, on the first play of the Patriots’ game-winning drive?

What if the late reception in the end zone by Odell Beckham Jr. — ruled a touchdown on the field — had remained a score that put the Giants up by 5 points with roughly two minutes left to play?

What if the Giants had run the football near the goal line in the closing minutes, taking more time off the game clock and limiting the Patriots’ flexibility during their final drive?

Victor Cruz announced Monday that he will undergo season-ending calf surgery after not appearing in a single game this season, writes ESPN’s Dan Graziano.

“This hurts, mainly because I worked so hard to come back from my patellar tendon surgery,” Cruz said in an UNINTERRUPTED video. “There are certain things that happen to your body that you just can’t explain.”

Cruz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in Week 6 of 2014 and missed the remainder of that season after surgery. His rehab was going well until he tore a muscle in his left calf in a training camp practice in mid-August, and he hasn’t practiced since or played in a game this season. He was hoping to recover in time to play in Week 12 against Washington, but the latest check-up on the calf determined that surgery was the best option.

With a wild finish and a loss on Sunday, the Cowboys’ season took one more step towards the absurd, and Dallas reached a new low, per ESPN’s Todd Archer.

If it had not reached that point already — with six straight losses without Tony Romo — the Dallas Cowboys’ season officially became absurd Sunday. The seventh straight loss was ridiculously painful and self-inflicted.

Jeff Heath‘s holding penalty negated Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston‘s fumble at the goal line with 59 seconds to play, and Winston was able to score on the next play.

Bucs 10, Cowboys 6.

Playoffs? It’s time for the Cowboys to admit it, writes the Dallas Morning-News’s David Moore. After six straight losses, the season is over.

The inspirational response owner Jerry Jones envisioned when Romo went down with a distal clavicle fracture 57 days ago has drowned out under a steady drumbeat of late-game failures. Sunday’s 10-6 loss to young and not-so-good Tampa Bay was simply the latest.

A Cowboys team that was undefeated in Romo’s two starts now finds itself at 2-7 and tied for the third longest losing streak in franchise history. Even Jones and his legendary optimism couldn’t find a silver lining coming off the field at Raymond James Stadium.

“Nothing positive that you can say about where we are,” Jones said.

“We had an opportunity today, and we’ve had opportunities to win without Romo, and didn’t take advantage of them. That’s a flaw.”