NFC East: rapid reaction 11

Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 14, Redskins 10

November, 16, 2008

Posted by's Matt Mosley

LANDOVER, Md. -- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted before Sunday's game that his team needed to beat the Redskins to save its season. And for at least one week, that's exactly what the Cowboys did with a 14-10 victory in front of 90,830 at FedEx Field.

The Redskins couldn't put the game away when they had the chance, in part, because the Cowboys' defense refused to cooperate. DeMarcus Ware's second sack of the game forced Washington to try a 46-yard field goal that fell short.

Before that, cornerback Terence Newman ended a Redskins drive when he broke in front of a short pass to Santana Moss to make an interception. The Cowboys' offense finally delivered by riding the powerful legs of Marion Barber. And quarterback Tony Romo came up with two huge throws early in the fourth quarter. On a third-and-7, he called upon his improvisational skills to shovel a pass to Miles Austin on the run.

On the next play, he found rookie tight end Martellus Bennett for a 25-yard touchdown. The Redskins drove the ball to the Cowboys' 37-yard line, but couldn't convert on third- and fourth-and-4. Newman, who returned after missing five games with a sports hernia, had Moss blanketed on the fourth-down play.

Early in the game, it looked like Clinton Portis' return from a knee injury would inspire the Redskins offense. Portis had five carries for 29 yards on the Redskins' first possession, and fullback Mike Sellers finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown catch.

The hero for the Cowboys, though, was Barber. He completely took over the game in the fourth quarter. And for the first time in over a month, the offensive line took over the line of scrimmage.

Facing a fourth-and-1 deep in Redskins territory, Wade Phillips chose to dial up Barber one more time. It worked, and the Cowboys' playoff hopes received a serious shot in the arm. Both teams are now 6-4, which leaves 5-4-1 Philadelphia in the NFC East cellar.

Much more to come in my game column.

Rapid Reaction: Eagles 13, Bengals 13

November, 16, 2008
Posted by's Matt Mosley

For the first time since 2002, an NFL game ended in a tie. And it turns out quarterback Donovan McNabb and some of his teammates were the last to know. McNabb admitted after the game that he wasn't aware that the league only had one overtime period.

The Eagles were fortunate to salvage the tie. Bengals kicker Shayne Graham pushed a 47-yard attempt wide right at the end of regulation. But even if they'd somehow won the game, the Eagles were once again exposed as being horribly flawed team.

When you're 3-of-18 on third-down conversions, you don't even deserve a tie. And once again, the Eagles were awful in third- and fourth-and-1 situations. They converted only once in those situations, which might be the reason Andy Reid shied away from going for it in overtime.

Once again, the Eagles' inability to have anything resembling a running game led to their undoing. All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook had 3 yards or less on nine of his 14 carries. He finished with a combined 71 yards rushing and receiving.

McNabb had another awful outing. For the second consecutive week, he didn't even complete half of his passes. He had a career-high 58 attempts and he threw three interceptions for the first time since 2006. At this rate, Reid and McNabb are both campaigning to lose their jobs.

The defense played reasonably well, collecting eight sacks.

Much more to come on this game throughout the week.