NFC East Coming Back to Life
The NFC East may not be the hotbed of action like the NFC West or AFC West, but after just three weeks into this season I can honestly say that it’s going to be a heck of a lot more interesting than anyone thought it would be. Sunday’s game between the Redskins and Eagles was awesome. Back and forth all game, the intensity was so high that there were at least three scuffles involving a couple dozen players and two were ejected for fighting. Now that’s the NFC East that we’ve all grown to love. The Eagles won the game 37-34 which kept Philadelphia undefeated at 3-0 and dropped Washington down to 1-2. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was knocked down and nearly out by a cheap shot that started one brawl. Even so, Foles continues to be one of the brightest young quarterbacks in the league. He passed for 325 yards and three more touchdowns. But the real QB story is on the other sideline. With RG3 out for awhile, Kirk Cousins is in charge and doing exactly what a lot of D.C. fans have been saying he would do if given the chance. He was 30-48 for 427 yards and three scores, Pierre Garçon caught 11 passes for 138 yards. On the other side, Jeremy Maclin had 8 receptions for 154 yards. It was the kind of game that a football fan, in any part of the country, would love to watch. It’s the kind of game that has been missing in the NFC East for much of the past 4-5 years.
The Cowboys did what only one team in Cowboys history has ever accomplished, fall behind by three touchdowns and come back and win. The only records the Cowboys have set lately have been how many yards and points and missed tackles they had on defense. Somehow, and I’m still not sure how yet, they’ve fixed a lot of those defensive issues. They were minutes away from going into the locker room at halftime, trailing 21-0 but instead managed to score 10 points in the final 2:07 and regain some momentum. We could look back at this quick 10 point surge as a watershed moment for this team. When Dez Bryant scored on a long Tony Romo pass early in the third quarter, the game was back on. For fans of other NFC East teams, there had to be a point where they sat with their collective mouths hanging open and thought “this isn’t the same Cowboys we’re used to seeing.” When Romo could have packed it in, he didn’t. When the defense could have quit with 10 minutes to play, Bruce Carter returned an interception for a touchdown that gave Dallas the cushion it needed. The 34-31 win pushed the Cowboys to 2-1 but more importantly sent a clear message to the Eagles that they weren’t going to walk away with the division.
The Giants got their first win, an impressive victory over a good Houston team 30-17. Eli Manning was efficient 21-28 for 234 and two touchdowns, but the real story was the running of Rashad Jennings, 34 carries for 176 yards. He and DeMarco Murray may battle it out for the NFL rushing title. So it’s a race in the NFC East, and a lot of people who didn’t think there would be much to watch in this division finally are being happily surprised – and the Cowboys are right in the thick of some classic rivalries finally coming back to life.