NFC East: 2010 Week 10 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Eagles 59, Redskins 28

November, 15, 2010
LANDOVER, Md. -- Here are some thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' 59-28 beatdown of the Washington Redskins on Monday:

What it means: If Michael Vick's not the best quarterback in the league right now, he's at least in the top three. He threw for 333 yards and four touchdowns. And he ran for two more scores. On a day when the Redskins gave Donovan McNabb a five-year extension worth $78 million, Vick was easily the best quarterback on the field. If McNabb's worth $40 million guaranteed, what could Vick bring on the open market? He's almost four years younger than McNabb and he's an elite quarterback in this league. The Skins are apparently basing their McNabb contract on hope that he will regain the form he showed for many years with the Eagles. But right now, it looks like the Eagles traded McNabb at the right time. McNabb had three interceptions in Monday's loss.

Play that broke it open: I don't think anyone at FedEx Field thought the Redskins would punch back when Vick connected on an 88-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson on the first play from scrimmage. Jackson used one of his patented double moves to get free for the deep ball. Redskins safety LaRon Landry was beaten so badly that he tried to interfere with Jackson at the last moment. Vick toyed with Skins defenders throughout the game. And when they covered his receivers, he simply tucked the ball and raced for big chunks of yardage.

Catch of the game: Jeremy Maclin made it 35-0 early in the second quarter when he made an acrobatic catch for a touchdown. He used his body to shield a defender as he somehow hauled in the pass. At that point, Vick knew that pretty much anything he put in the air was going to be caught. Jackson, Maclin and Jason Avant are the best trio of receivers in the NFL right now.

Skins' season over? I don't think we'll hear from the Skins again this season. They fell to 4-5 and they may be surpassed at some point by the new-look Dallas Cowboys. McNabb was horrible in this game. But honestly, the Redskins were outmanned from the start. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had an extra week to prepare for the Eagles -- and this is what he came up with?

What's next for the Eagles? This sets up an NFC East showdown between the Eagles and Giants in Philly. Both teams are 6-3 on the season. But based on Monday's performance, you'd have to say the Eagles will be the favorites. If Vick keeps playing like this, the Eagles could end their season in Arlington, Texas.

Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 33, Giants 20

November, 14, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Some thoughts on the New York Giants' 33-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

What it means: Who turned the lights out on the Giants? In a bizarre game, the power went out at New Meadowlands Stadium and it was dark for a stint. The Giants were experiencing a power outage well before the lights went out as their defense disappeared long before the blackout. A five-game winning streak was snapped as the Giants simply couldn’t stop the Cowboys. Instead of taking one step closer toward being the best team in the NFC East and possibly the NFC, the Giants stumbled badly at home. The Giants, who were so dominant during the winning streak, looked horrendous at times against the Cowboys. As is often the case, the Giants are never as good as they appear but rarely as bad as they can look. But it wasn't pretty as Eli Manning threw two picks, one resulting in a 101-yard touchdown for Dallas and another near the end zone as the Giants were making one last comeback attempt.

Defenseless: The Giants came into this game as the top-ranked defense in the NFL and looked like the worst at times. The Giants not only were torched for 33 points by a previously dormant Dallas offense but they looked lost at times. There were blown coverages, missed assignments and confusion. At one point, Fewell had an animated discussion with Tom Coughlin as he tried to explain what went wrong after Miles Austin caught an easy 24-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. On another occasion, safety Deon Grant had a heated discussion with his teammates after another Dallas touchdown. Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant looked unstoppable. The Giants defense hadn’t been this out of sorts since the second game of the season when it was waxed in Indianapolis.

Big D: Dallas played much better under new head coach Jason Garrett and the Dallas sideline was fired up by two monster plays. Cornerback Bryan McCann intercepted Manning in the end zone when Hakeem Nicks failed to cut hard inside and took it 101 yards for a touchdown that put Dallas up 16-3 with 7:34 left in the second quarter. Then in the third quarter, Felix Jones was left uncovered on a short screen and he cruised into the end zone for a 71-yard touchdown catch on the third play of the second half. On both monster plays, the Dallas sideline exploded.

Lights out: New Meadowlands Stadium lost power in the third quarter twice and the second time caused a nearly 10-minute delay. When the lights finally came back on for good, the Giants scored a touchdown to cut the deficit to 26-13. But Dallas' offense didn’t experience any power outage as it responded by driving 85 yards in six plays and scoring a touchdown on a pass to Austin. The Cowboys converted a third-and-22 on the drive as the Giants' safeties seemed to react slowly throughout.

The Smith factor: Smith had torched the Cowboys for a total of 25 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns in his previous three games against Dallas. With Smith out due to a pectoral injury, the Giants struggled to convert third downs. They were just 3-of-9 on third down in the first half without Manning's security blanket. Giants wide receivers still had success against a banged-up Dallas secondary. Nicks finished with five catches for 82 yards but did have one big drop early in the fourth that would have kept a drive alive. Mario Manningham had 10 catches for 91 yards and a TD and Ramses Barden, who moved up to the third receiver, finished with three catches for 34 yards.

Hold the line: The Giants started Kevin Boothe, who was recently activated off the physically unable to perform list, at left guard. Rich Seubert started his second straight game at center and Shawn Andrews started his second game at left tackle. The offensive line gave Manning time for the most part. But there were some hiccups as William Beatty, returning from foot surgery after the opening game of the year, had a few penalties. Also rookie guard Mitch Petrus, who had to play after Boothe was out for a bit with an injury, was flagged for a facemask penalty. When the Giants needed one yard for a first down on a critical fourth-and-one with just over 10 minutes to play down 33-20, Brandon Jacobs was stopped short. Later in the fourth, Manning threw a 48-yard touchdown to Nicks that would have put the Giants right back in the game but Boothe was called for holding. On the next play, Seubert delivered a low snap that Manning could not collect, resulting in a fumble recovery for Dallas on the Giants’ 21 with just over seven minutes remaining.

What's next: Pretty much the biggest game of the season for the Giants. They travel down the turnpike to Philadelphia to get their first crack at Michael Vick and the Eagles. The NFC East could very well come down to the Giants and Eagles and it will be interesting to see how Perry Fewell will try to stop Vick and the Eagles’ explosive offense. And the Giants likely will not have wideout Steve Smith again and could be without offensive linemen Shaun O'Hara and David Diehl well.

Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 33, Giants 20

November, 14, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The season might be over for the Dallas Cowboys, in terms of their playoff hopes, but Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones are making their evaluations.

Garrett on the team, Jones on Garrett.

The first game for Garrett resulted in a big win, 33-20, against the New York Giants. It was the Cowboys' second win of the season, first in the division and conference and it has raised doubts about how good the Giants are.

What it means:The Jason Garrett Era started off well. His offense produced the second-most points of the year and there was some balance. The Cowboys ran 27 times and threw 22 times. In a victory over the Houston Texans in Week 3, the Cowboys ran 27 times and attempted 30 passes. Garrett said he wants balance, but it's been hard this season when his team has been down, or, rather, when Wade Phillips' team was down.

Marion Barber gets benched: Felix Jones started Sunday's game vs. the New York Giants and did well. He carried 14 times for 51 yards and had three catches for 85 yards with a touchdown, a 71-yard scamper off a screen that gave the Cowboys a commanding 26-6 lead. It appears Barber didn't start because he violated team rules. But the benching was short lived. After Jones played on the first snap, Barber came in on the second play. But Jones did start the second half and drew the majority of the snaps.

Starting cornerbacks are hurt: Terence Newman was hurt on the second play of the game, a left ankle injury, but he later returned. Mike Jenkins suffered a strained neck on a tackle in the second quarter and didn't return. Orlando Scandrick and Bryan McCann were asked to fill in. Alan Ball also moved to corner in some passing situations.

Two power outages: There were two power outages within 11 minutes of each other in the second half. The first one lasted about three minutes when a bank of lights went out on the first offensive series for the Cowboys. The second one, which lasted longer, resulted in the entire stadium's power going out as the Giants held the ball.

Garrett win is pretty special: According to Elias Sports Bureau, since the start of 2000, coaches who take over in midseason are 3-13 in their first game. Gary Moeller (2000 Detroit Lions) and Jim Haslett (2008 St. Louis Rams) were the last to achieve this.

Dez Bryant and Felix Jones: If you're wondering what happened to the young players, well, they each had an impact. Jones with a 71-yard touchdown reception and Bryant had 104 yards receiving and one touchdown.

Franchise record set: Rookie Bryan McCann picked off an Eli Manning pass and returned it 101 yards for a touchdown in the first half. It was the longest interception return for a score in franchise history.

What's next: The Cowboys, who have not won at home this season, play host to Detroit. Boxer Manny Pacquaio has more wins at Cowboys Stadium than the Cowboys in 2010.