NFL Week 4 Recap: NFC East

There was a time when the NFC EAST was the best division in all of football. Every one of the teams in that division have appeared in at least one Super Bowl and Washington, Dallas, and New York have won more than one each.

There was a time when the NFC EAST was the best division in all of football.

There was a time when the NFC EAST was the best division in all of football.

However in the past few years the so-called “Smash Mouth Division” has fallen on bad times.
None of the teams are playing up to their historic best. To be truthful, the division is somewhat of a mess. And the odds are that whichever team wins is not going deep into the playoffs. Moreover, the team that wins this division could have a losing record.=
However, at this point of the season the teams appear to be evenly matched and the play has been exciting. Perhaps as the season progresses one team will emerge that deserves a place at the playoff table.

The top match up concerning this division during week four was the Washington Redskins against the Philadelphia Eagles. It took a final drive at the end of the game to decide the winner, and, for many of you, it was a surprise. It was the Redskins.

The Redskins dominated the first half of the game and had a number of chances to score, but could only achieve two field goals and one TD. The touchdown was scored after a miscue. The ‘Skins had driven down to the Eagles one yard line and were stopped on conventional running plays up the middle twice. The next play Redskins QB Kirk Cousins fumbled the ball on what appeared was to be another running back try up the gut. Cousins quickly picked up the ball, dove into the line and scored. It was the first rushing touchdown given up by the Eagles this season.

The Redskins outgained the Eagles 185 yards to 95 yards and they had the ball for 21:47 out of 30-minutes of the first half.

The Redskins defense held the Eagles running game, put pressure on Sam Bradford for the entire half and prevented the Eagles from scoring. By the halftime break it was 13-0. The ‘Skins defense finished with five sacks, two fumble recoveries and gave up only 87 rushing yards.

Bradford hit Riley Cooper for a 62-yard score in the third quarter and Miles Austin for a 39-yard TD in the fourth quarter. That gave the Eagles the lead for the first time, 20-16.
The Redskins final drive started on their own 10-yard line and took 15 plays. Redskins’ receiver Pierre Garcon made some clutch catches and Alfred Morris was a major contributor gaining 40 yards on five carries in the drive that culminated in a four-yard pass to Garcon with 26 seconds remaining. The Eagles had controlled the Redskins’ running game except for Thomas until then. Morris averaged only 1.8 yards a carry through three quarters and 9.5 yards a carry in the final drive.
Bradford finished with 15 completions on 28 attempts for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Cousins completed 31 passes on 46 attempts for 290 yards and one touchdown.
Rams kicker Caleb Sturgis missed an extra point attempt and a 33-yard field goal try. REDSKINS 23 EAGLES 20

When play began in week four the Dallas Cowboys were alone on top of the division. However, after their first two wins things haven’t gone well. For example, Brandon Weeden had to replace an injured Tony Romo and they lost their game in week three against the Atlanta Falcons. They were also playing without receiver Dez Bryant and defensive end Randy Gregory.

You could say that the Cowboys were facing a must win against week four opponent the New Orleans Saints, who have been having their own problems during the first three weeks of the season. This one wasn’t decided until overtime.
Saints’ QB Drew Brees missed last week’s game due to a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder, but played in this game even though he appeared not to be 100 percent healthy. Still, he was able to complete 33 passes on 41 attempts for 359 yards and two touchdowns.  It was Brees who finally won the game in OT with his 400th touchdown pass of his career to C.J. Spiller who took it 80-yards for the score on only the second play of sudden death for the Saints first win in 2015.
Brees’ overtime heroics were necessary because Weeden managed a clutch 91-yard drive that culminated in a 17-yard scoring pass to Terrance Williams with less than two minutes left.
Still, the final results in OT gave Weeden the distinction of losing his 10th consecutive start, tying him with San Francisco 49ers’ back up QB Blaine Gabbert for the longest such streak among active quarterbacks.

Cowboys’ running back Joseph Randle could only muster 26 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown as well as the ire of the entire Cowboys’ coaching staff. Randle’s score was accomplished on a one-yard run in which he leaped over the scrimmage line and appeared to have fumbled the ball. However, after a review, the referee reversed the call on the field and ruled it a touchdown. The coaches were still livid because they had told the back not to leap due to the possibility of a fumble.

Cowboys’ linebacker Sean Lee had to leave the game with a concussion and running back Lance Dunbar, who rushed for 54 yards in the first half, left with a knee injury after returning a kickoff. SAINTS 26 COWBOYS 20.
The New York Giants needed a win and they got it beating the Buffalo Bills.  Running back Rashad Jennings was the G-men’s hero when he scored on a 51-yard catch and run in the middle of the fourth quarter. Giants’ cornerback Prince Amukamara assured the win when he stripped the ball from Buffalo’s receiver Robert Woods.
The Giants had the lead 16-3 when Bills’ QB Tyrod Taylor threw a 23-yard scoring pass to Karlos Williams with 9:41 remaining. Giants QB Eli Manning made a clutch completion to Jennings on a third and 3 from the Giants’ 49-yard line.

This was not one of the Bills finest efforts. The offense could own gain a total of 77 yards and two first downs with their first nine possessions. Moreover, they accomplished two consecutive drives into the Giant red zone, but were unable to score.

The Bills added to their poor play with 17 penalties for 135 yards. In week two they had committed 14 penalties for 140 yards when they lost to New England 40-32. A holding penalty negated a 31-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and a 32-yard touchdown pass was called back due to a chop block.
Manning finished with 20 completions on 35 attempts for 212 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Besides the TD to Jennings, Dwayne Harris scored on a 21-yard pass and Rueben Randle scored on an 11-yard pass. Manning threw his first interception of the 2015 campaign. GIANTS 24 BILLS 10




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