NFC East: Week 14 Good, Bad & Ugly
December 11, 2013 in NFC East
By Guest Writer Nick Clarke:
The Cowboys were embarrassed on a national stage yet again, and by the looks of it, they have started their December collapse a game or two early. With all that aside, DeMarco Murray was phenomenal with 146 rushing yards on just 18 carries. If Murray can continue to provide the elusiveness and strength he displayed on Monday night the Cowboys’ offense could make the leap from having the potential to be good to just being flat out good.
The Giants’ playoff hopes were mathematically eliminated against the Chargers and it couldn’t have some in a more depressing fashion. The Giants fell to the underachieving Chargers by 23 points and found themselves searching for answers on offense for the 13th straight week. The only bright spot was Hakeem Nicks’ solid effort; Nicks had 135 receiving yards on 5 receptions and will be looking to continue his success as free agency looms.
If the Redskins were trying to prove they are the worst team in the NFL on Sunday, they did a great job. The Redskins are self destructing and the situation seems to be headed for the worst. Don’t expect Mike Shanahan back again next year.
The Eagles captured sole possession of first place in the NFC East and all the momentum that comes with five straight wins. Nick Foles has been almost perfect during the Eagles win streak, and the defense has been making plays right and left. In the snow bowl against the Lions on Sunday, the Eagles were able to overcome two special team touchdowns by the Lions and storm back to take the lead and never look back. LeSean McCoy loved the snow, rushing for a franchise best 217 yards along with two touchdowns. The Eagles control their own destiny for the last three weeks of the season and if the past five weeks are any indication, the Eagles look to be headed for some January football.
The Cowboys scored 28 points, did not commit a turnover, rushed for 198 yards with a 7.1 yard average, converted 50% of their third downs, and Romo threw three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 109.2 passer rating, yet they still lost by more than two scores. The Cowboys’ defense has failed the team throughout the year and Monday night was no different. The Bears scored on 8 of their 9 drives, their ninth drive starting with less than five seconds to play in the game. The Cowboys had more than a week to come up with some way of at least slowing this talented offense and proved they just weren’t capable of doing it. Whether the players aren’t executing in Monte Kiffin’s scheme or the scheme is the problem itself, it makes absolutely no sense to keep Kiffin around; after all, he has engineered one of the worst seasons by a defense in the NFL ever.
The Giants’ defense allowed the Chargers to score 37 points and hold the ball for almost two thirds of the game. With all the talk the Giants’ defense does, there is not much play to back it up. The defense came away with only two stops the entire game and gave up 25 first downs, 10 of which came on third down. The Giants’ offense is probably more to blame for the unsuccessful 2013 campaign, but the defense surely deserves some of the blame, unable to make stops when it mattered most.
The Redskins offense managed only 257 yards, which is especially uninspiring considering the Chiefs’ defense played prevent defense for much of the game. The Redskins’ defense also played with the league’s worst motto in mind, giving up 31 points to the Chiefs’ offense, not including the two return touchdowns the special teams allowed. No component of the Redskins’ team looks like they believe in their coach or what is left of their season.
The Eagles found a way to win a must win game in harsh conditions and keep their now five game winning streak alive. Nothing bad to report from Philly.
The Cowboys have been ravaged with injuries, especially on defense, throughout the year, and during the third quarter of Monday night’s game Bruce Carter and Sean Lee, the Cowboys’ young duo of super talented linebackers, went out with injuries. Sean Lee who was returning from a hamstring injury left the game with a neck injury, which was referred to as a stinger, and Carter left the game with hamstring tightness. The Cowboys have seen the likes of Miles Austin, Morris Claiborne, Sean Lee, DeMarco Murray, Dwayne Harris, and Justin Durant all miss games due to a hamstring injury this season. . The Cowboys’ defense, which is already the league’s worst, could get even worse with the absence of their defensive signal caller Sean Lee and his sidekick Bruce Carter.
No matter what Eli Manning does in the last three weeks of the season, the Giants’ offensive failures can be solely attributed to him. Manning has been truly awful, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns this season and having less total turnovers than only rookie Geno Smith, who was recently benched by the Jets.
Mike Shanahan is likely on his way out of Washington and the possibility of benching RGIII for the last three games of the season fully displays the kind failure Shanahan has produced. This is a Redskins’ team that is fresh off an NFC East championship and expected similar results this year, and the fact that RGIII might be sitting the last three meaningless games to preserve his health couldn’t be more opposite towards the pre-season expectations.
The Eagles played an otherwise perfect game, but they did allow two special team touchdowns. Granted it was almost impossible to kick or punt in the harsh conditions, Philly has to do a better job in that area, especially with an NFC East title game looming.