Friday, November 4, 2011
Final Word: NFC East
By Dan Graziano
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 9:
From the Dept. of Sore Subjects: The Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks have met twice since the famous 2006 playoff game that Tony Romo blew with a botched hold on a field goal, and I'm sure it comes as little comfort to Cowboys fans to know that Dallas has won both. Even if the Cowboys win and improve to 4-4, this will be the second straight season in which they made it through the first half with a non-winning record. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the last time that happened was 2001-02. They were 2-6 after eight games in 2001 and 3-5 in 2002. Last season, you might remember, they were 1-7.
Redskins QB John Beck needs better protection from his offensive line.
Timing John Beck: Is the Washington Redskins quarterback to blame for the 10 sacks he took last week? ESPN Stats & Information has a "next level" number that indicates the issues might lie up front with the offensive line. According to S&I, Beck takes an average of 2.57 seconds to release the ball after it is snapped, which is a league-average figure. Last week, six of the 10 sacks the Bills recorded against Beck and the Redskins happened before that 2.57-mark. So while it was nice of Beck to come out and take responsibility for some of the sacks, the overall problem is, I believe, that banged-up offensive line in front of him. The good news is that offensive lines tend to improve as they play together, so maybe it'll be better this week?
Manning protecting the ball:New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been interception-free in four of his past five games. He had only four games all of last season in which he didn't throw at least one interception. After throwing a league-leading 25 interceptions in 2010, Manning has just five so far this season through seven games. Additionally, according to ESPN Stats & Information, Manning in 2010 had 14.1 percent of his passes either picked off or tipped by a defensive player, which was the sixth highest such figure among qualifying quarterbacks. This season, he's had only 9.1 percent of his passes intercepted or tipped by a defender, which is the 33rd highest such figure among qualifying quarterbacks.
Shady finds the end zone:Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy has scored a touchdown in each of his team's first seven games this season. That's the sixth time since the merger that a running back has accomplished that feat. Four running backs -- Dallas' Emmitt Smith in 1999, Washington's George Rogers in 1986, Washington's John Riggins in 1983 and Buffalo's O.J. Simpson in 1975 -- have scored touchdowns in each of their team's first eight games. Also, incidentally, since rookie Danny Watkins took over at right guard for the Eagles in Week 5, Philadelphia is gaining 6.3 yards per carry as opposed to the 5.4 it was gaining with Kyle DeVan as the starter at that spot.
Rematch fun: The Giants-Patriots game is the ninth game this season that has been a rematch of a Super Bowl. The team that won the Super Bowl in question is 6-2 in those games, including the Giants' victory against the Bills in Week 6. The only two that have gone the way the Super Bowl didn't go were the Bills' victory last week against the Redskins and the Packers' Week 4 victory against the Broncos.