NFC East: 2011 Week 13 Rapid Reaction



GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Cowboys tend to have crazy games here at University of Phoenix Stadium. Crazy. From a blocked punt that cost them a game, a missed point-after attempt and now a missed field goal in regulation after an inexplicable timeout call.

The Cowboys defense failed them in the end Sunday during a 19-13 overtime loss to Arizona. It was the Cowboys' third overtime game of the season and first loss in such games.

What it means? The Cowboys' four-game winning streak came to an end in a place that gives them fits. Arizona has won their last three games against Dallas in overtime and five of six at home. The Cowboys' hold on first place in the NFC East is still in good shape.

Jason Garrett's blunder: Dez Bryant caught a first-down pass with 23 seconds left in regulation. The Cowboys spiked the ball, then called a timeout as Dan Bailey converted on a 49-yard kick. It seemed as if they were freezing their own kicker. Bailey missed on the second try as time ran out, and the Cowboys headed to overtime. Why would Jason Garrett call a timeout after spiking the ball?

Murray's day: DeMarco Murray rushed for 38 yards, the lowest output since he became the starter on Oct. 30 at Philadelphia. Murray had rushed for at least 70 yards the last six games until Sunday.

Dan Bailey's streak ends: Kicker Dan Bailey missed a 53-yard field goal in the first quarter, ending his consecutive made field-goal streak at 26 games. But it was his 49-yard field goal try, wide left at the end of regulation, that sent the game to overtime tied at 13-13. The first miss from Bailey marked the first time that's happened since Week 2 at San Francisco. Bailey made field goals of 50 and 37 yards the rest of the way. His 26 field goals tied for the second-longest streak in franchise history and set an NFL record for a rookie kicker.

Cowboys injuries: Tight end Martellus Bennett injured his ribs in the first half and did not return. Wide receiver Laurent Robinson injured a right shoulder but returned after missing a handful of snaps. DeMarcus Ware left the game for one snap when his left arm was nicked up. Danny McCray and Murray also left with leg issues but returned.

Penalties, penalties, penalties: The Cowboys were penalized seven times for 49 yards, and the flags seemed to come at the worst times in the fourth quarter and overtime. Orlando Scandrick was flagged for a block in the back, negating Bryant's punt return that was returned to the Arizona 25. Terence Newman was called for holding on a second-and-long in overtime.

What's next? The Cowboys head home and take on the New York Giants in a big NFC East game next Sunday at Cowboys Stadium.

Rapid Reaction: Packers 38, Giants 35

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
7:45
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the game of the day in the NFL:

What it means: I'm sure New York Giants fans are disappointed in their team's fourth straight loss, but the fact is that the Giants showed all of the same guts and heart and toughness they showed during their 6-2 start but came up just short against a team that might be one of the best of all time. The Packers' Mason Crosby kicked a 30-yard field goal with time running out for a 38-35 win to improve the Packers to 12-0 and drop the Giants to 6-6. But the Giants have proven again that they can play with anyone in the league when their heart is in it. And since they're only one game out of the division lead with four to play (and two of those against the division-leading Cowboys), that still has a chance to serve them well before it's over.

Giants' lines step up: The Giants needed to get to Aaron Rodgers with their defensive line if they were to have any chance to stop him, and they did. Justin Tuck played his best game in weeks, and Jason Pierre-Paul was the same, speedy, unstoppable monster he's been all season. The Giants delivered hits on Rodgers even when they didn't get there in time to sack him, and the Packers went to the run game an uncharacteristic amount in an effort to run clock and keep the pass-rushers off of Rodgers' back. The Giants' offensive line also played a pretty good game, considering it was without its starting left tackle again and center David Baas was a late scratch due to headaches. They weren't great in pass protection, but for some reason the run-blocking was some of the best it's been all season. And with Ahmad Bradshaw back from his foot injury, the run game became a legitimate threat for the Giants again.

Eli Manning doesn't scare: The Giants quarterback was the main reason behind the team's 6-2 start, and even as things haven't gone as well lately, he's remained undaunted and excellent. After the Packers scored to go ahead by eight with 3:34 left in the game, Manning moved his team right back down the field and scored with a touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks with 58 seconds to go. A D.J. Ware run for a two-point conversion tied the game and put the biggest scare yet into the undefeated Packers.

But turnovers kill: You need to be just about perfect to beat a team like the Packers, and as good as Manning was in matching the great Rodgers, he did turn it over twice. The interception that Clay Matthews returned for a touchdown came on what Manning will surely call a "bad-decision" play -- he shouldn't have thrown the ball once he saw the coverage down the field. And while the fumble just before the end of the first half wasn't really his fault, as Matthews whacked him from behind as he was getting ready to throw the ball, it cost the Giants a chance to add valuable points as the first half was winding down.

Kenny Phillips out?: The Giants made no announcement on the Phillips knee injury after he left the game in the first half. But the star safety never returned to the sideline. If he has to miss games, that's going to negatively affect the Giants in pass defense as well as run defense. They like to play three-safety sets and would have to do so without their best one.

What's next: The Giants travel to Dallas on Sunday to play the Cowboys in a Sunday night game with major NFC East implications. The Cowboys' overtime loss to the Cardinals means the Giants still have an opportunity to take control of the division if they can beat the Cowboys on Sunday and again in the regular-season finale on Jan. 1.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider