My Takeaway

Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Francisco 49ers:

This marks yet another slow start for the NFC East. The Philadelphia Eagles defense was again something to watch, as they only allowed four yards of rushing through the first quarter-and-a-half of the game (all 15 minutes of the first quarter and up to the 7:20 mark in the second quarter). Both offenses seemed to stutter to start this game, as there was only one score made in the first quarter: a late-quarter 45-yard FG made by K Jake Elliot. In terms of yards and plays, the 49ers had nine total plays for 14 yards on three separate drives, whereas the Eagles ran 16 plays for 71 yards on two drives. This trend continued all the way until the end of the second quarter, where QB Jimmy Garoppolo lead the 49ers on a drive to score from their own 3-yard line! The Eagles did sustain two good drives but could not get a score on the board. Going into the half, the San Francisco 49ers were leading 7–3.

The slow start continued into and through the third quarter (three drives altogether with no real progress that resulted in punts). It was not until the fourth quarter that the Eagles scored a TD and a subsequent two–point conversion. However, the 49ers scored a touchdown of their own as well as a field goal earlier in the quarter. The San Francisco 49ers ended up winning 17–11. Every Eagles pass-catcher failed to gain more than two receptions, but some of them were not by choice: DeVonta Smith had seven targets, while Jalen Reagor had five. This is something that QB Jalen Hurts will need to work on in the future, and it would possibly serve him better if he can pass the ball around more instead of making specific targets (like he was able to against Atlanta last week). There were several notable mistakes that the Eagles will need to work on: the Reagor non-TD that resulted in an illegal touch penalty, the 47-yard blocked FG in the second quarter, the failed fourth-and-goal after a 91-yard reception by WR Quez Watkins, a questionable hit by DE Derek Barnett towards the end of the game on RB JaMychal Hasty that resulted in a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty, and finally another 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty by S K’Von Wallace on RB Trey Sermon. The Eagles walked away with more than just a loss in this game, though, as mentioned below.

Injury Updates: Team leader DE Brandon Graham tore his Achilles during the game, and has been confirmed to be out for the season. OL Brandon Brooks was being evaluated for a pectoral muscle injury, which could’ve been a tear (more serious) or strain (less serious). Turns out it will be the latter, and he will have to serve at least a three-game stay on the short-term IR (in comparison, DT Javon Hargrave spent five weeks off when he suffered a pectoral strain last year). Something that could be serious is that TE Zach Ertz was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so there is a slight chance he misses the Week 3 game against Dallas (however, I wouldn’t be too worried, as it is a MNF game, so there will be an extra day for him to recover). There was also a minor day-to-day injury mentioned in the Philly Voice article: LB Davion Taylor had a calf injury, something that he was dealing with in training camp as well.

My Key Player: WR Quez Watkins. One of five players to get two receptions during the game, and he was the only one to gain over 100 yards (117, to be exact).

Key Note: The Philadelphia Eagles have decided to give starting defensive end (DE) Josh Sweat a three–year contract extension earlier this week.

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angles Chargers:

It has been a long time since the Dallas Cowboys have scored on an opening drive. Despite getting into third-down plays several times, they managed to break that streak to start the game off with a RB Tony Pollard reverse TD. On the Chargers’ opening drive, the Cowboys defense gave up two big plays (over 20 yards apiece) before CB Trevon Diggs was able to read the play, jump ahead of WR Keenan Allen, and intercept the ball. The excitement did not last too long, as CB Asante Samuel Jr. was able to intercept QB Dak Prescott not too long after, which resulted in a 46-yard FG for the Chargers.

Continuing to the quick start, the Cowboys were able to utilize their RBs early in this game. RB Ezekiel Elliott was able to get a five–yard TD at the end of the first quarter. Vice versa, the Cowboys were not able to stop the run early, which was proven once again when RB Austin Ekeler was able to convert a run on a two–point conversion.

Still, this was a fiery start to begin the game, which is something that we have not been used to seeing so far this season. The LA Chargers missed a 44-yard FG and a 15-yard face mask penalty was given against LA with three seconds left in the second quarter, giving the Cowboys one last chance to score. With the ball on the LA 49-yard line, they were able to gain 48 out of the necessary 51 yards on a 34-yard pass to WR CeeDee Lamb, who lateraled the ball to RB Ezekiel Elliott for an additional 14 yards. Going into the half, the Cowboys led 14–11, which was the first time that this was a halftime score in NFL history, as per CBS Group.

The Chargers had 11 unanswered points after scoring a 32-yard FG in the third quarter to tie the game at 14. They dominated the clock, but the Cowboys shifted the momentum with a goal-line interception by S Damontae Kazee and a large run by RB Tony Pollard (28 yards) to end the quarter. Once again, it was a close game going into the fourth quarter and, after a controversial five-yard illegal shift penalty against LA, the game was tied 17–17 with four minutes remaining. They were on the Dallas two-yard line when this penalty happened on first-and-goal, and an 18-yard sack by DE Micah Parsons blew up this goal-line drive, so K Tristan Vizcaino had to go for the 29-yard FG. K Greg Zuerlein made a 56–yard FG to win the game for the Cowboys at 20–17.

This game was much closer than it should have been, but there were just enough spurts of great decision-making to get Dallas the win. However, maybe the refs played their hand here a bit, as there were many questionable penalties throughout the game: a 15-yard taunting penalty on Allen, a 13-yard defensive pass interference call against S Jayron Kearse that nullified an INT, the aforementioned face mask penalty (which was on T Trey Pipkins), an ineligible man downfield penalty on G Oday Aboushi that nullified a 31-yard catch by WR Mike Williams, and then two TD-nullifying penalties on the Chargers: a 10-yard holding penalty on TE Jared Cook when TE Donald Parham had a 36-yard TD and the illegal shift penalty on a two-yard pass to Cook (who was also given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on that play, which was declined).

My Key PlayerRB Tony Pollard– 13 rushes, 109 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, three receptions for 31 yards. To put it simply, he took advantage of his opportunities!

Key Notes since Week 1:

  • Lost Demarcus Lawrence to a broken foot
  • Lost DE Randy Gregory to COVID
  • Lost RT La’el Collins to NFL suspension
  • Lost WR Michael Gallup to IR (calf strain)
  • LB Micah Parsons was moved to DE for this game (maybe longer?)
  • S Malik Hooker will make his debut

Minor Note: S Donovan Wilson was out for Week 2 after suffering a groin injury (which he was dealing with since late August). He had played 55 out of 65 snaps in Week 1. Worth monitoring, as he is supposed to be the starting strong safety.

New York Giants @ Washington Football Team (TNF):

A previous article was released on Thursday Night’s opening game for Week 2, which can be viewed here.

Washington will gain the lead in the division standings, as they are the only team with a divisional win so far. Philadelphia will still be ahead of Dallas because they have a win over an NFC team, whereas the Cowboys have a win over an AFC team.

Major/Minor Injury Updates: Giants– 1. G Shane Lemieux (knee) is expected to return in Week 5, 2. C/G Nick Gates (lower leg) is out for the season but will make a full recovery after undergoing successful surgery, even taking a few steps afterward. 3. Couple of players are on questionable status for Week 3: QB Clayton Thorson (concussion), WR Derrick Dillon (undisclosed), LB Cam Brown (hamstring), TE Evan Engram (calf). WFT– 1. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip) is expected to return in Week 10, 2. CB Greg Stroman (undisclosed) is questionable for Week 3.

 

NFC East Standings

Washington Football Team (1–1)

Philadelphia Eagles (1–1)

Dallas Cowboys (1–1)

New York Giants (0–2)

 

Sources

  1. Cover Picture: https://studentunionsports.com/what-is-wrong-with-the-nfc-east/
  2. Tweet: https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/1436426828772749313
  3. Tweet: https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/1436728784699412486
  4. Tweet: https://twitter.com/MySportsUpdate/status/1439684091771858946
  5. Tweet:https://twitter.com/GehlkenNFL/status/1436397663369433100?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1436397663369433100%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcowboyswire.usatoday.com%2F2021%2F09%2F10%2Freport-cowboys-wr-michael-gallup-to-miss-3-to-5-weeks-with-calf-strain%2F
  6. Statistics: a) https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/san-francisco-49ers-philadelphia-eagles-20210919021/?section=stats, b) https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/dallas-cowboys-los-angeles-chargers-20210919024/, c) https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/new-york-giants-washington-football-team-20210916028/?section=gamedrives

 

Edited By: Rupayan “Abs” Samanta.

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