Redskins hamper Tampa
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the NFL’s highest scoring offense but you would be right to wonder why after, despite gaining 501 yards on offense against the Washington Redskins, they managed to walk away with only 3 points in the 16-3 loss.
Ryan Fitzpatrick lead the Bucs into the red zone six times yet were left with only one converted field goal to show for it.
On the Bucs first drive inside the 20 yard line Fitzpatrick was picked off by a leaping Josh Norman, and on two others the subsequently cut place kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed two howlers, both inside the 40 yard line, one even missing the net entirely.
The Fitzpatrick interception was one of two on the night, with his woes compounded by losing a fumble late in the 4th quarter.
The fumble was also one of two for the Buccaneers, with Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson punching the ball out of Jacquizz Rodgers arms, ruining the running back’s first career 100 yard game.
Despite gaining a victory, the Redskins offense was once again unimpressive with Alex Smith throwing for under 200 yards for the fourth time in 5 games, and Adrian Peterson managing just 68 yards on 19 carries.
Coach Jay Gruden must be itching for the return of slot receiver Jamison Crowder and 3rd down back Chris Thompson in order to provide Smith with a couple more offensive weapons for his currently uninspiring arsenal.
Despite three holding calls, the Redskins patchwork offensive line held up surprisingly well in protection, considering starters Trent Williams, Brandon Scherff and Shawn Lauvao were all sidelined.
Sadly however, rookie tackle Geron Christian suffered a torn MCL whilst on backup duties, adding to Washington’s injury woes.
But as the saying goes, it’s better to win ugly than lose pretty, and in the midst of all the ugliness the Redskins walked away with the win putting them at 6-3 and top of the division.
Next week they take on the leaders of the AFC South in the Houston Texans with defensive captain DJ Swearinger looking to go 3 for 3 against his former teams this season.
Cowboys clip Eagles’ wings
It was a must win game for both teams on Sunday Night Football, and for much of the evening it looked like it could have gone either way, but the Dallas Cowboys emerged from Lincoln Financial Field as the victors in a 27-20 win against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Both Jason Garrett and Dak Prescott are seemingly out of the hot seat for now as the win may have saved their season, lifting the Cowboys’ record to 4-5 whilst dropping the Eagles to an identical 4-5.
Despite the addition of Golden Tate, having a week off to prepare for the game, and the Cowboys having faced a short week after their MNF loss to Tennessee, Philadelphia was unable to close the divisional gap on the Washington Redskins.
Leighton Vander Esch was the defensive hero for Dallas, as the Boise State rookie picked off Carson Wentz in the 1st quarter, and then bookended his 13 tackle evening by sealing up Corey Clement for a 5 yard loss on an Eagles 3rd and 2 with less than two minutes left in the game.
For the Cowboys’ offense, Ezekiel Elliott was superlative, rushing for 151 yards and a touchdown whilst hurdling Eagles with abandon, as well as catching 6 passes for 36 yards and another score.
The early interception aside, Carson Wentz threw well on paper (32 of 44 for 360 yards and 2 touchdowns) but failed to convert a single 3rd down for the Eagles during the first half of the game.
Star tight end Zach Ertz was the primary beneficiary of Wentz production, finishing the night with 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but even this was not enough to ever generate a lead against Dallas.
To add to the Eagles’ pain, Ronald Darby was lost for the season to a torn ACL, creating another problem for an already problematic Philadelphia secondary.
Next week both teams are up against arguably even sterner tests, with the Cowboys travelling to Atlanta to face the Falcons, and the Eagles heading to the Superdome to try and stop Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
Had it not been for Kyle Lauletta’s recent arrest it was entirely possible that Eli would not have been starting under center for the Giants on MNF.
But thankfully for the G-Men he was, and in doing so put together a game winning drive in the fourth quarter with less than 2 minutes remaining, finally capturing the lead when it was most needed and sealing a 27-23 victory against San Francisco.
Manning threw for three touchdowns in the win, and must have surely been happy about being sacked only once throughout the contest. Protection was finally afforded him by his offensive line, and even though they still need to work on creating better running lanes, rookie stud running back Saquon Barkley still managed to gain 100 total yards from scrimmage.
Plaudits must also be laid at the feet of Matt Breida of the Niners, who is cementing his reputation as bulldozer on the ground, finishing the night rushing for 101 yards and a TD as well as catching 3 balls for 31 yards and another score through the air.
Last week’s talk of the town, Niners’ quarterback Nick Mullens failed to reproduce his magic again for San Francisco, throwing two interceptions to Giants’ BJ Goodson and overthrowing a last second chance at comeback glory through the back of the end zone as time expired on the game.
Odell Beckham Jr. pulled in two of Manning’s three scores, and following the game set the team target of now winning six straight games, to finish the year at 9-7 and making the playoffs.
Perhaps, for a team that before MNF looked to be battling the Niners for the better 2019 Draft pick, however after the come from behind win on the road, and with Eli finally looking like the Eli of old, as opposed to simply Old Eli, belief in themselves seems to be returning to the New York Giants.
They look to follow up this win with another against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday.