The Eastern Division of the NFC continues to be a mess. Although it is true that the division leader, the New York Giants, are barely above .500, the rest of the division isn’t and after week seven it appears to be a wide open contest to the eventual winner.
If nothing else, the Washington Redskins have shown they are resilient. Falling into a 24-0 deficit against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it appeared that this game would fall into the category of another awful performance.
But they came alive in the second half and overcame their reputation for having horrible third quarters to actually beat the Bucs. Moreover, they made history by achieving the greatest comeback in franchise history. Cousins also set a franchise record with most completions in one game –- in this case, 33.
The Bucs helped the Redskins with a number of penalties including some unnecessary roughness calls as well as some pass interference penalties. They were flagged 16 times for 142 yards. Still, the Redskins took advantage.
However, with 4 minutes remaining in the game and the score 27-24 Buccaneers running back Doug Martin, dashed off a 49-yard run and was outrunning everyone toward a possible score when Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland raced him down and tackled him at the Redskins 5 yard line. Breeland suffered a hamstring injury on the play and had to leave the game.
The Redskins’ defense came through and held the Bucs to a field goal making the deficit of 30-24 manageable.
Even the Redskins’ much maligned special teams contributed to the comeback. After Cousins’ hit Skins’ wide receiver Ryan Grant for a touchdown making the score 24-14, the Redskins executed a perfect on-side kick that set up a Cousins’ touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Reed to make the score 24-21.
The Bucs’ kicker Connor Barth kicked field goals of 53 yards and 21 yards and Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins kicked a field goal of 35 yards before Cousins engineered the final drive that resulted in a touchdown pass of 6 yards to Jordan Reed with 24 seconds remaining.
Cousins finished with 33 completions on 40 attempts for 317 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball three times for 15 yards and a touchdown.
Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston completed 21 passes on 29 attempts for 297 yards and two touchdowns.
The Redskins’ running game was nonexistent with Alfred Morris and Matt Jones combining for only 34 yards on 15 carries.
Mike Evans, who was a major factor why the Bucs defeated the Redskins last year, led the receiving corp. catching eight passes for 164 yards and a touchdown. Reed led Redskins receivers with 11 catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. REDSKINS 31 BUCCANEERS 30
The Dallas Cowboys changed quarterbacks during their bye week and turned to Matt Cassel instead of Brandon Weeden, who lost the last two games as he relieved an injured Tony Romo. Despite the change, the results were the same, a loss to the New York Giants.
Dwayne Harris, who had played for the Cowboys, returned a kickoff for the Giants of 100 yards and a score in the fourth quarter. Giants’ cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie contributed two interceptions, returning one 58 yards for a score. Safety Brandon Merriweather also had a pick.
The Cowboys played without Romo and Dez Bryant. Starting running back Joseph Randle had to leave the game with a strained back. Darren McFadden replaced him and rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown.
Cassel finished with 17 completions on 27 throws for 227 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Eli Manning completed 13 passes on 24 attempts for 170 yards.
Jason Witten led the Cowboys’ receivers with six catches for 73 yards; Terrance Williams caught four passes for 70 yards; and Devin Street caught the only TD pass for 25 yards.
Rueben Randle led the Giants receivers with two catches for 68 yards; Dwayne Harris caught two passes for 43 yards and Odell Beckham Jr. had four receptions for 35 yards.
Shane Vereen led the Giants running backs with 56 yards on four carries; Orleans Darkwa contributed 48 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. GIANTS 27 COWBOYS 20
The Philadelphia Eagles had the misfortune to play the undefeated Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina on week seven. Panthers QB Cam Newton threw for a touchdown and ran for another. It marked the fourth time this season he has done that in a game and the 28th time in his career. That puts him three short of matching Hall of Famer Steve Young for the league record.
However, Newton also threw three interceptions that the Giants could only convert into six points. He finished with 14 completions on 24 attempts for 197 yards. He gave up two interceptions.
Panthers’ running back Jonathan Stewart gained 119 and fullback Mike Tolbert scored two touchdowns. Tolbert’s scores set a franchise record of 10 consecutive regular season games in which he has scored.
Eagles’ running back Ryan Mathews gained 97 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown. Eagles’ QB Sam Bradford threw for 205 yards, but was sacked five times, twice by Jared Allen.
The Eagles had a chance to tie the game on its last drive, but Allen collected his two sacks and tipped a pass with three minutes remaining. Allen has 136 career sacks. That’s more than any active player in the league. PANTHERS 27 EAGLES 16.
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