NFC East: 2011 Week 11 coverage
November, 20, 2011
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Some thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' stunning 17-10 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night at the Meadowlands.
What it means: Bad news for the Giants, who drop into a first-place tie in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys and whose next three games are at New Orleans, home to Green Bay and at Dallas. They needed to pick up this win against an Eagles team that was playing without its starting quarterback and its best wide receiver, and they got manhandled at home. For the Eagles, I guess it technically means they're still alive, since they can get to 10 wins if they "run the table," as running back LeSean McCoy suggested they would earlier Sunday. But to me, if you're an Eagles fan, this one just lets you know what might have been if they'd been able to show this kind of fourth-quarter fortitude all year long.
QB controversy in Philly? No, I do not think the Eagles should bench Michael Vick for Vince Young. But the fact is that Young led an 18-play, 80-yard fourth-quarter drive that put the Eagles up 17-10 with less than three minutes left in the game. Vick has not led a drive like that in the fourth quarter this year, despite several opportunities. So there's going to be ammunition for those who will say Young should take away the job. And Young deserves credit. He was terribly shaky for much of this game, throwing three interceptions and getting bailed out a couple of times by circus catches by his receivers. But he made the late plays when he had to make them.
Giants' run-game problems are real: Giants fans kept booing Brandon Jacobs all night as he was repeatedly tackled in the backfield. But I still think the reason Jacobs looks shy about hitting the hole is that there's almost never a hole to hit. The Giants' offensive line has been awful in the run game all year, and it was again Sunday night. The return of Ahmad Bradshaw from injury isn't going to change that, when and if it ever happens.
Eagles more physical: When the story of this disappointing Eagles season is written, it should focus on the high-paid playmakers who didn't make enough plays -- the Vicks, DeSean Jacksons and Nnamdi Asomughas. Because as the Eagles showed all night Sunday, they are fully capable of and very good at winning the physical battles in the trenches. Their defensive line completely dominated the Giants' offensive line, stifling the run game and harassing Eli Manning in the pocket. And while the Giants did a good job on running back LeSean McCoy, the Eagles' offensive line kept Young clean pretty much all night. The reason the Eagles won this game was the way they played on both lines.
Victor Cruz owns Asomugha: As he did twice in the Giants' Week 3 victory in Philadelphia, Cruz beat star free-agent cornerback Asomugha for the touchdown that tied the game at 10-10 in the fourth quarter. Cruz made another big play -- a 47-yard catch-and-run -- on the Giants' final drive to get the Giants in range to tie the game again after the Eagles scored, but Manning was sacked by Jason Babin on the following play and fumbled the ball away to seal the upset victory for the Eagles.
What's next: The Giants will travel to New Orleans to continue their tough second-half schedule with a "Monday Night Football" matchup next week against the Saints. The Eagles will host the New England Patriots in a Sunday afternoon game in Philadelphia.
November, 20, 2011
By Calvin Watkins | ESPN.com
LANDOVER, Md. -- These games between the Cowboys and Redskins are never pretty. It's always quirky, close and in some cases heartbreaking.
The Cowboys can go home happy thanks to a 27-24 victory at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon. Dallas has won a season-high three games and moved to a season-high two games over .500.
What it means: The Cowboys have six wins and are just a half-game behind the New York Giants for first place in the NFC East. If the Giants lose Sunday night vs. the Eagles, there will be a first-place tie. This win for the Cowboys is just another example of how gritty this team is.
Bailey wins it: Dan Bailey converted his 24th consecutive field goal attempt to win it, a 39-yarder with 5:39 remaining in overtime. Bailey hasn't missed a kick since his 21-yarder in Week 2 at San Francisco. Just before the game winner, the Redskins called timeout, but quarterback Tony Romo, who is the holder, called timeout as well. The Cowboys had no timeouts left. If the referees had seen Romo make the call first, the Cowboys would have been charged with a 15-yard penalty.
Missed kick for Washington: Kicker Graham Gano had a chance to win it for the Redskins but was wide right from 52 yards with 9:27 left in overtime. The miss set up the Cowboys' chance to win the game.
Cowboys' defense can't hold the lead: It appeared the Cowboys' defense was going to stop the Redskins after the offense had taken a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. But it was not to be. Donte' Stallworth made a clutch catch in the corner of the end zone over Alan Ball with 14 seconds to play that tied the game at 24-24. There was a clutch play by Marcus Spears on a pass breakup inside the 5, a hit by Jason Hatcher on another pass play and a tackle for loss by Anthony Spencer, but there was an Orlando Scandrick holding call on third down.
Witten responds: He didn't have any catches in the first half, but tight end Jason Witten responded with a strong second half. He ended the day with three catches for 85 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown. Romo spun out of the pocket and found Witten at the Redskins' 35 with a long pass. Witten outran the speedy DeAngelo Hall for a 59-yard touchdown reception. The touchdown with 8:48 to play in the fourth quarter gave the Cowboys a 24-17 lead.
Jones' day: Felix Jones made his return to the active roster after missing four games with a left high-ankle sprain. Jones finished with five carries for 18 yards and one catch for 4 yards. DeMarco Murray got the bulk of the carries on the day with 25 for 73 yards. There was a thought Jones would return kicks, something he practiced this past week, but he didn't.
What's next: On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys will take on the hot Miami Dolphins and their three-game winning streak. The Dolphins started the season 0-7. Ex-Cowboys Kevin Burnett, Marc Colombo and Anthony Fasano are on the Dolphins' roster.