Washington Football Team @ Green Bay Packers:
After a fast exchange at the beginning of the game, it was the Green Bay Packers who were able to walk away with the win in this game. For Washington, this was a game with a lot of miscues. There were several times that they were stopped in their own endzone after marching down the field. They also had three botched TD drives. For reference, we will list those instances below:
Instance #1: With 6:03 left in the third quarter, down 21-7, QB Taylor Heinicke dove to the ground with no players near him and then rolled into the endzone on a third-and-goal at the GB 3-yard line. In the past, this would have resulted in a TD, as nobody had touched him. However, the NFL rules have changed in an effort to protect players, so now he was ruled down inches from the goal line.
Instance #2: The very next play, with 5:56 left, WFT called for a QB keep on the line. The ball was punched out for a fumble and then recovered by the QB, who again was untouched, but had his knee down. The ball was knocked out a second time after the fact, and it was a turnover-on-downs for the team. The result of these two instances was an unsuccessful fourth-and-goal on what should have been an easy TD the play earlier. Green Bay got the ball back at their 1-yard line.
Instance #3: On their next possession, a perfectly placed pass was thrown to WR Terry McLaurin, who dropped it in the endzone. The ball hit his helmet/facemask and bounced off on the third-and-2 play at the GB 3-yard line with 1:15 left. On fourth-and-goal, with 1:08 left, the ball was thrown to TE Ricky Seals-Jones, who could not hold onto it in the endzone. The result, just like last time, was yet another unsuccessful fourth-and-goal that may have just been a good TD the play earlier had everything gone right… Green Bay got the ball back on their 4-yard line due to the yard marker changing for change of possession.
I’ll also add that RB Antonio Gibson fumbled the ball near the endzone during the plays leading up to instance #3. On a first-and-10 at the GB 11-yard line, he ran up to the 6-yard line but coughed up the ball and it was initially ruled as a fumble recovered by S Darnell Savage Jr. However, he’s lucky that his center, Chase Roullier, fell on the ball and that they were able to continue the play that led up to those two downs mentioned in the third instance. All around, this was a tough game for Washington.
My Key Player: WR Terry McLaurin (seven receptions, 122 yards, one TD). On a bright note, we will highlight McLaurin’s first TD catch, as it was in tight coverage.
New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers:
5–3… 5-3. Yes, 5–3 was the halftime score for this game! As odd as that may sound, the New York Giants found their groove after leading at halftime and ended up winning this game. Trick plays were also enforced, as we were able to see QB Daniel Jones catch a ball in typical New York fashion! QB Sam Darnold even got benched at one point in this game. Let us not underplay how Jones carried this offense today. They were struggling and wounded up to this point of the season so this win could become a momentum builder going forward.
My Key Player: QB Daniel Jones (23/33, 203 passing yards, one TD, eight carries, 28 rushing yards, one reception, 16 receiving yards). He was all over the field, literally. Jones was able to spread the ball equally across the field while also contributing in other areas. This was a good game for him after the recent slump he had stumbled into (let us also not forget that he was injured for a few days too).
Philadelphia Eagles @ Las Vegas Raiders:
Even with an interim head coach, the Raiders “just win, baby, win”! For the Eagles, if the second quarter wasn’t hard enough (Raiders scored 17 points), the third quarter surely ended the hopes of a comeback. The Raiders scored an additional 13 unanswered points, leading to 30 total for a 30-7 lead that lasted until the 11:38 mark in the fourth quarter! QB Jalen Hurts was still very spotty with his passing, and Abs thinks he needs to work on his ball-handling as well.
Going into the fourth quarter, he had less than a 50% completion rate, and low completion rates are something that we have been seeing all season long from Hurts (three games of a sub-50% rate, one under 50%, and only two at sub-60%). That means he has had a 70% or higher rate in only one game this season, the season-opener against the Atlanta Falcons. One bright note is that he was again able to get at least five pass-catchers involved in this game: three had five or more targets (TE Dallas Goedert, WR DeVonta Smith, and RB Kenneth Gainwell), one had five receptions (Smith), and five had an average of 10+ yards/catch (Goedert, Smith, Gainwell, WRs Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins).
That completion percentage is just not good enough to have a winning team in this league, and being involved in yet another offensive fumble will do him no favors. Granted, a few of the fumbles were not entirely his fault (for example, G Jack Driscoll got a hand on the ball against the Raiders in a red zone fumble he lost, a snap that went over Hurts’ head against the Panthers), but he still had nine fumbles (two lost) in 2020 and already has five this season (one lost). Not good at all, in Abs’ opinion. Still, the Eagles find themselves tied for second place in the division, which Abs also says doesn’t really mean much. At this point, the Eagles will be lucky enough to make a run for the seventh playoff spot. One loss can knock them down to the bottom of the standings.
We are sure that many fans are confused as to which direction the team is headed in. They could get a higher draft pick for every loss, but they also aren’t theoretically (or mathematically) out in the race for that seventh playoff spot. On a brighter note, as of right now, the Eagles would hold three top-10 first-round picks in this upcoming NFL draft, but Abs thinks that even those picks might end up being non-factors if the team can’t properly evaluate the talent.
My Key Player: QB Jalen Hurts (18/34, 236 passing yards, two passing TDs, 13 carries, 61 rushing yards). It’s hard to have a key player when your team gives up 30 unanswered points. Though we are being tough on Hurts for his percentages, this loss is not entirely his fault. He is still learning as a QB in this league but he will need to learn things quickly if he wants to keep his starting. Keep in mind that the majority of these stats came in garbage time, which is something that others are key to point out as well: the Eagles have made the final score look closer than it actually is (well, at least in four of their five losses).
It would have been the ultimate weekend for the Cowboys if the Giants lost their game, considering that they are at the bottom of the division standings. The Cowboys can still consider this a winning weekend, as teams in second and third place in the division race lost their respective matchups. The result is that they were able to create a bigger lead in their record difference, even if the Giants are now tied for second place with their own win.
NFC East Standings
Dallas Cowboys (5–1)
Washington Football Team (2–5)
Philadelphia Eagles (2–5)
New York Giants (2–5)
- Cover Picture: https://studentunionsports.com/what-is-wrong-with-the-nfc-east/
- Statistics: Yahoo Sports: a) https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/washington-football-team-green-bay-packers-20211024009/, b) https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/carolina-panthers-new-york-giants-20211024019/, c) https://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/philadelphia-eagles-las-vegas-raiders-20211024013/
- Statistics: ESPN.com: a) https://www.espn.com/nfl/game/_/gameId/401326425, b) https://www.espn.com/nfl/game/_/gameId/401326428, c) https://www.espn.com/nfl/game/_/gameId/401326431
- News: https://www.profootballrumors.com/: a) https://www.profootballrumors.com/washington-football-team-news-rumors, b) https://www.profootballrumors.com/new-york-giants-rumors-news, c) https://www.profootballrumors.com/philadelphia-eagles-rumors-news, d) https://www.profootballrumors.com/dallas-cowboys-news-rumors
- Injuries: a) https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/WAS/washington-football-team/injuries/, b) https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/NYG/new-york-giants/injuries/, c) https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/PHI/philadelphia-eagles/injuries/, d) https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/teams/DAL/dallas-cowboys/injuries/
Edited by: Rupayan “Abs” Samanta.