NFC East Week 3 Recap

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My Takeaway

New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons:

The battle between the two lower-tier teams in the league had a slow start to the game. Even before each team’s 0-2 start, this was to be expected just based on their forms last season. This resulted in only a 25-yard field goal by K Graham Gano in the first quarter. QB Matt Ryan stayed clean throughout the first half and was able to go into halftime with a four-yard TD pass to WR Olamide Zaccheaus. Before that TD, the Giants again scored another field goal (this time from 31 yards), and the game headed into the fourth quarter with the Falcons still leading 7–6 Falcons. RB Saquon Barkley still seems to be taking a slow approach to his return, recording only 14 carries for 47 yards, but he did add a TD in the fourth quarter to give the Giants a 14–7 lead. He ultimately finished with 51 yards on 16 carries but was more helpful in the passing game (six receptions for 43 yards). QB Daniel Jones ran for a two-point conversion to get the Giants eight points on that drive. However, the Falcons were able to come back with a TD of their own to TE Lee Smith. This created an entertaining pivot of the score being 14–14 with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. As they were still recovering from the offensive line injuries last week, it was a noticeable problem, as Jones had to rush eight times for 38 yards and the Giants were looking disrupted. The Falcons were able to edge out the Giants for the win 17–14.

My Key Giants PlayerRB Saquon Barkley (stats listed above). It was tough to really find a standout performer on the Giants, but Barkley was the closest due to his all-around performance as both a rusher and a receiver.

Special shout-out to QB Matt Ryan (27/36, 243 yards, two TDs, -1 rushing yards on one attempt), who is my Player of the Game. Ryan did just enough to get his team to score when they needed to.

Injury Updates:

  • Giants LB Blake Martinez is done for the year after tearing his ACL. The 0–3 Giants will have to continue without one of their defensive team captains (they will already be without one of their offensive captains, Nick Gates).
  • WR Kenny Golladay (hip) was in and out of the game in the first half.
  • WRs Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton (both had hamstring injuries) left the game in the first half. It has been noted that they will both be out for the Week 4 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, along with G Ben Bredeson (hand).
  • Questionable players for Week 4: QB Clayton Thorson (concussion), WR Derrick Dillon (undisclosed), DB Nate Ebner (quadriceps), DB Keion Crossen (elbow), TE Kaden Smith (knee), LB Tae Crowder (hamstring).

Minor Notes: 1. WR C.J. Board and C Jonotthan Harrison were promoted to the active roster ahead of the game on Sunday. They also put LB Cam Brown (hamstring) on IR, and he is expected to be back in Week 6. 2. After the game, they signed G Wes Martin off of WFT’s practice squad. 3. On September 28th, they worked out T Isaiah Wilson, the former Titans 2020 first-rounder and he was added to the practice squad the next day. 4. They added LB Omari Cobb and OL Sam Jones to the practice squad on the 29th. 5. WR John Ross (hamstring), who has been on the IR, is expected to be back in Week 4. It will be important for a team that will be without two of their top-three wideouts and also having another wideout not be at full strength.

Washington Football Team @ Buffalo Bills

Things got really heated for both teams, as there was a combined score of 34 points in just the second quarter alone. The key highlight of the game was QB Taylor Heinicke’s throw to RB Antonio Gibson for a 73-yard touchdown on a screen pass, but it is important to note that they were down 21–0 in the second. Heinicke also had a rushing TD in this game, but throwing two interceptions hurt him. Additionally, TE Logan Thomas fumbled the ball near the end of the first quarter, which was forced by CB Tre’Davious White and recovered by LB Matt Milano. You have to love Heinicke’s effort to score (especially during that diving attempt in the endzone on his rushing TD), but his more experienced counterpart (QB Josh Allen) was able to have four TDs in just the first three quarters alone. The game did seem close at one point, as WFT did get the game to 21-14 in the second quarter. The reason the score was 21-14 was due to a 41-yard kickoff by K Dustin Hopkins which was recovered by Hopkins himself at Buffalo’s 24-yard line! Washington got the opportunity to score their second TD of the day five plays after the Gibson TD. However, the Bills were able to put WFT away with five consecutive scores (three FGs and two TDs) in the third and fourth quarters. Heinicke was able to add another score, with Thomas making up for his earlier fumble with a 2-yard TD. The final score was Buffalo 43–Washington 21.

My Key WFT Player: RB Antonio Gibson (12 rushes for 31 yards, one reception, 73 receiving yards, one receiving TD). Believe me when I say it was harder to pick a key player here than in the Giants game above. He seemed to do the best from the rest, but it was an otherwise dismal WFT performance overall.

Special shout-out to QB Josh Allen (32/43, 358 yards, four TDs, nine rushing yards on four attempts, one rushing TD), who is my Player of the Game.

Injury Updates:

  • Before the game, WR Curtis Samuel (groin) and DE/DT Matt Ioannidis (knee) were ruled out for Sunday.
  • After the game, CB Benjamin St-Juste was ruled out for Week 5 against Atlanta.
  • Questionable players are as listed: CB Greg Stroman (undisclosed), DE/DT Matt Ioannidis (knee), and RB Antonio Gibson (shin).

Major/Minor Notes: 1. WR Curtis Samuel (groin) will be making his debut in Week 4 after being activated off the IR today. 2. WR Kelvin Harmon was signed to the practice squad on September 29th.

Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles (MNF):

G Conor McGovern at fullback (FB)? Yup, it was a weird start to this exciting game! After a few larger runs from the Cowboys’ RBs, QB Dak Prescott connected with WR CeeDee Lamb for 44 yards and ended up on the 1-yard line. RB Ezekiel Elliot shortly punched it in later. The Eagles started off hot as well, with QB Jalen Hurts completing two large throws before getting picked off by CB Anthony Brown in the endzone. Eagles fans did not have to stay upset for long, as QB Prescott fumbled the ball in his own endzone. It was picked up by DT Fletcher Cox, which resulted in a TD for the Eagles. There was a controversial call on the goal line in the next Dallas drive, which was challenged by the Cowboys but it did not get overturned. Elliot could not get in on a 4-yard pass from Prescott, and Prescott himself could not complete a QB sneak on the 1–yard line on a fourth-and-goal. The Cowboys did not have to wait too long, as they got the ball back after going three-and-out on defense, and Prescott threw a 19–yard TD to Dalton Schultz shortly after. This ended the first quarter, with Dallas leading 14–7.

In the second quarter, the Cowboys controlled the clock and got the ball in this time with Elliott for three yards. However, K Greg Zuerlein missed yet another kick, this time an extra–point attempt, and they went into the half 20-7 after an otherwise uneventful quarter. Just a few plays into the second half saw CB Trevon Diggs picked off Hurts for a pick–6! This officially gave the Dallas defense as many points as Philadelphia’s defense got them, and Dallas had more points than their offense at this point in the game already. Shortly after, Hurts was able to drive his team downfield and score a short TD pass to TE Zach Ertz. Yet again, the Cowboys dominated the clock and came down the field to score in the fourth quarter, this time being a pass to WR Cedric Wilson. After getting a turnover on downs, Prescott threw a 22-yard TD to TE Dalton Schultz again, which made the score 41-14. Coming back from a first and 30(!), Hurts was able to throw a TD to WR Greg Ward, but that would be all that Philly could pull off in the end. The game ended on a Dallas punt and a Philadelphia turnover on downs, with the final score being 41–21 Cowboys, which gives Dallas the division lead now.

My Key Cowboys Player: QB Dak Prescott (21/26, 238 yards, three TDs, six rushing yards on nine attempts, one fumble lost). He looked in complete control of this game, not only from his stat-line but in his audibles and composure as well.

My Key Eagles Player: TE Zach Ertz (four receptions, 53 yards, one TD). By far, this was the toughest choice I had to make this week. No one really stood out, other than the odd big plays by TE Dallas Goedert (a 38-yard catch) and WR Quez Watkins (a 41-yard catch), and I was almost tempted to pick DT Javon Hargrave for his two sacks and six total tackles. In the end, I thought that Ertz did the most with his opportunities and, given his seven targets (second-most among all Eagles and tied for second-most all game), it indicated that he was an important player for Hurts to target.

Key/Minor Notes: Cowboys– 1. DE Bradlee Anae and LB Keanu Neal were placed on the reserve/COVID–19 list prior to the game and therefore had to miss the game. 2. T La’el Collins is expected to be back in Week 8 after his five-game ban ends. 3. They signed CB Holton Hill to the practice squad on September 22nd. Eagles– 1. They promoted OL Sua Opeta to the active roster on September 29th. 2. TE Zach Ertz, as you can see, was able to play the game after being activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list himself.

Injury Updates: Cowboys– 1. DE Demarcus Lawrence (foot) is expected to be back in Week 8. 2. Other IR returnees include CB Kelvin Joseph (groin)- Week 6, DT Neville Gallimore (elbow)- Week 5, TE Sean McKeon (ankle)- Week 5, and WR Malik Turner (foot)- Week 4. 3. DE Randy Gregory (knee) is questionable for Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers. 4. Four players will be out for the Week 4 game: DE Carlos Watkins (knee), DE Dorance Armstrong (ankle), T Ty Nsekhe (illness), and DB Donavan Wilson (groin). Eagles– 1. DT Fletcher Cox (cramps) was forced to leave the game after a certain point. 2. Here are the players on IR who are due to return this season: TE Tyree Jackson (back)- Week 4, G Brandon Brooks (pectoral)- Week 10, CB Josiah Scott (hamstring)- Week 4, T Jack Driscoll (pectoral)- Week 4, and S K’Von Wallace (shoulder- AC joint)- Week 7. 3. Wallace was one of three Eagles to leave the game on Monday, and he didn’t get the worst of the injuries because… 4. … G Isaac Seumalo (foot) was placed on season-ending IR, thus marking him as the third starting OL to be missing time for the Eagles. 5. T Jordan Mailata (knee- MCL) will be out for Week 4 against the Kansas City Chiefs and is expected to return in Week 5 after having an initial diagnosis of two to four games missed games (counting his absence in Week 3 as well). 6. DB Nathan Meadors (hamstring) is questionable for Week 4. 7. S Rodney McLeod (torn ACL) is expected to make his season debut in Week 4. He will be joined by LB Davion Taylor (calf), who has not played since Week 2 after re-aggravating his injury. 8. After being listed on limited participation in practice on Wednesday, four players will all be available to play in Week 4 after Friday’s practice: OL Landon Dickerson, T Lane Johnson, S Marcus Epps, and C Jason Kelce.

 

NFC East Standings

Dallas Cowboys (2–1)

Philadelphia Eagles (1–2)

Washington Football Team (1–2)

New York Giants (0–3)

 

Sources

  1. Cover Picture: https://insidethestar.com/will-nfc-east-cause-another-change-to-nfl-playoff-seeding-rules/
  2. Statistics: Yahoo Sports- a) https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/atlanta-falcons-new-york-giants-20210926019/, b) https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/washington-football-team-buffalo-bills-20210926002/?section=stats, c) https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/philadelphia-eagles-dallas-cowboys-20210927006/
  3. News: https://www.profootballrumors.com/– a) All Giants news- https://www.profootballrumors.com/new-york-giants-rumors-news, b) All WFT news- https://www.profootballrumors.com/washington-football-team-news-rumors, c) All Cowboys news- , d) All Eagles news- https://www.profootballrumors.com/philadelphia-eagles-rumors-news
  4. Giants WR injuries vs. Atlanta: https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/32285448/new-york-giants-wrs-sterling-shepard-darius-slayton-suffer-hamstring-injuries-vs-atlanta-falcons
  5. CBS Sports Injuries- a) Giants- https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/NYG/new-york-giants/injuries/, b) WFT- https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/WAS/washington-football-team/injuries/, c) Cowboys- https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/DAL/dallas-cowboys/injuries/, d) Eagles- https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/PHI/philadelphia-eagles/injuries/

 

Edited By: Rupayan “Abs” Samanta.

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