NFC East 1st quarter grades

Redskins – A-

The Redskins have the best defense in the division, led by what I think is the 2nd best set of 3-4 LBs in the entire NFL.  Aside from the Titans, Ravens, and Buccaneers (the Bucs have yet to play Week 4), the Skins have given up the least amount of points in the NFL, at 63.  Meanwhile, the Giants have given up 87, and the Eagles and Cowboys have absolutely stunk, giving up 101 a piece (although the Cowboys offense gave up a few of those).

Oddly enough, I’ve actually picked the Skins to win in each of their first 4 games, so their early moderate success doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me.  They’re 15th in passing yards, 12th rushing, and are 15th against the pass, 11th against the run.  Those are respectable numbers that have been good enough to beat 3 out of 4 very beatable teams: the Giants, Cardinals, Cowboys, and Rams.

They have their bye week, and then a number of games that continue to be winnable: Eagles at home, @ Carolina, @ Buffalo, SF at home, @ Miami, home to the Cowboys, and then @ Seattle.  By that point they’ll be 11 games deep into the season, and could be in great shape in the NFC East.

Bland team, but back to legitimacy.  It’s an outstanding turnaround for an organization that was a disgrace in 2010.

Giants – B

Results are really what matter, and the standings won’t show that the Giants rightfully should be 2-2 after getting an utterly ridiculous call on what should have been a game-ending fumble against Arizona yesterday.  The standings also don’t show that they were outplayed by perhaps the worst team in the NFL (the Rams), and they won’t show that they were thoroughly dominated in their loss to the Skins.  Do I sound annoyed that the Giants are 3-1?

Give them credit though.  They’ve weathered an absurd number of injuries and begin the second quarter with 3 home games against 3 teams they should beat: the Seahawks, the Bills, a bye, and then the Dolphins.  If they take care of business, this team could be 6-1.

Cowboys – C

Week 1 – With 9 minutes to go in the 4th quarter and the Cowboys up 7, the Cowboys had the ball 3rd and G from the Jets’ 2 yard line.  A score, any score, would make it a 2-score game, and make it extremely difficult for the Jets to come back.  Then Tony Romo tried to do too much, fumbled, and their lead remained at 7.  The Jets would eventually tie the game.  Later, with a minute left and the score tied, Romo would throw a totally ill-advised pass that was picked off by Darrelle Revis and return to the Cowboys’ 34 yard line.  FG, game.

Week 4 – 3rd quarter, up 27-3.  Here were the following Cowboys’ offensive series:

– Drive 1 – 1 play – Tony Romo pick 6 to Bobby Carpenter.

– Drive 2 – 7 plays – Tony Romo pick 6 to Chris Houston.

– Drive 3 – 10 plays, FG.

– Drive 4 – 3 and out.

– Drive 5 – 3 and out.

– Drive 6 – 1 play – Interception to Stephen Tulloch. Lions TD on ensuing drive.

– Drive 7 – 8 plays, getting as deep as the Detroit 45, turnover on downs, game.

That would be 2 games in which Tony Romo played great for a half, and then basically pissed the game away.  It just never seems to end.

Eagles – F-

You can list all the crazy facts you want.  A few my Dad sent me:

– 5 straight home losses.

– Gave up a 20 point lead to the team ranked dead last in offense in the NFL.

– The score in the 4th quarter over the past three games has been: Opponent – 36, Eagles – 0.

– 9 running plays to a RB… with a 20 point lead.

– Alex Smith QB rating of 112.

And you can find as many as you’d like on Reuben Frank’s twitter account:

– Eagles are first NFL team with 1700 yards through 4 games AND a losing record since the 1983 Chargers.

– Eagles’ 25.5 first downs per game thru 4 games is third-most in NFL (Patriots 27.5, Chargers 25.8). Offense now #4 in NFL @ 435 yds per game

– Eagles had 9 INTs after 4 games in 2009 and 6 after 4 gms in ’10. They have 2 INTs after 4 gms in 2011 – their 4th-fewest ever after 4 games

– Eagles have blown more 4Q leads under Juan (0-3) than in 2 years under Sean McDermott (16-2 leading going into 4Q). Also: 75-12 under Jim.

– 4th time in Eagles history they’ve lost after leading by 17 or more points at halftime & 2nd time they’ve lost after gaining 510+ yards.

– 49ers’ 442 yards are their most in SEVEN YEARS … since they had 448 vs. Cards on Oct. 10, 2004. Tim Rattay threw for 417 that day.

– This is 2nd time since 1987 Eagles have allowed 100 or more rushing yards in each of their first four games.

– This is first time in 51 years an opposing RB has rushed for 85 or more yards in each of Eagles’ first four games.

– Last time the 49ers trailed by 17 or more at halftime and won was against the Saints in 1980.

– Last time Eagles failed to score in 3 consecutive fourth quarters was first 3 games of 1999 — Andy Reid’s first three games as head coach.

Crazy.  Andy Reid’s post-game intro to his press conference:

“Absolutely terrible job by myself and my football team today.” said head coach Andy Reid .”When you have the lead in the National Football League, you build on it and you continue to score points when given the opportunity. In all areas we were terrible today. We had a lot of yards, but we didn’t punch it in, and we were just 2-for-7 in the red zone. Defensively, we gave up three scoring drives in the second half. Our young kicker [Alex Henery] has got to figure it out too, just like everybody else on our football team. When you have opportunities to score points, you score points.”

Nonsense.  Really, it all boils down to one thing – The defense is horrid. Sure, Ronnie Brown made one of the dumbest plays I’ve ever seen.  Sure, the kicker missed 2 easy kicks. Sure, DeSean Jackson is dropping passes he should catch. Sure, Jeremy Maclin fumbled as the the Eagles were driving for the go ahead score Week 4 and dropped an easy pass Week 2, again, when the O was driving for the winning score. Sure, Michael Vick holds the ball for an eternity and is getting hit way, waaay too much to last an entire season. Sure, the red zone offense have been ineffective.  Those things all matter.  But really, the bottom line, again, is that the defense is just flat out disgusting.

Those comments echo the sentiments of Derek from IgglesBlog, who was apparently so mad after the game that he popped his head out of retirement just call for Juan Castillo’s head.  And then again.  Can’t say I disagree.


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  7. Jason-E says:

    If you rank the worst teams in the league, the Eagles would be #4 behind the Rams, Seahawks, and Cheifs.

    1. packimop says:

      Vikings? The Chiefs just beat them. What about Cincinnati or Denver? Dolphins? Colts? Panthers? Cardinals?

      You crazy son

  8. WeNeedLinemen says:

    I am a Redskins fan but, whilst I am enjoying their much improved performance, A- looks a touch generous.

    Our secondary has been poor and some of the play calling questionable. Haslett has over used the zero blitz.

    Then there is Rex. He is too short to see over the line, so he keeps losing linebackers over the middle. Combine that with a weak arm that makes, which gives defenders too long to break on the ball and our offense is going to struggle. Grossman is doing a better job than McNabb could last year, because he actually knows the plays but he is always going to be a liability. He would make a good back-up, starting a full season will be tough on fans’ blood pressures.

    For the first time since Gibbs left, it looks like a professional team, except now we’ve got some young players to build on. It’s promising and we could, perhaps should, be 4-0 but I think most ‘Skins fans realise we’ve still got some big holes to fill, and one of them is the most important in the game.

  9. giants fan says:

    I really take issue with this idea that the refs handed the Giants the game.

    1) After the game, the NFL affirmed the refs made the proper call. Since you’re not an NFL referee and I’m not an NFL referee, maybe it makes sense to defer to actual NFL referees in this instance.

    2) Even if the call was incorrect, it’s not like that’s the first time there has been a bad call in an NFL game. The Giants came out and put up 21 points in the 4th quarter against a defense that had done pretty well against them all day. That’s what won them the game, not a questionable 4th quarter call.

    3) I’ll credit Grazanio with this point, “However, the controversy over this one is misplaced. Arizona should have touched Cruz down in the first place, and the fact that they didn’t showed how out of it they were on defense as Manning was leading the Giants to the comeback win. Ruling it a fumble would cost the Giants on a technicality just as much as not ruling it a fumble cost the Cardinals on a technicality.”

    Over the past 4 weeks, the Giants haven’t played pretty football or even won convincingly, but they’ve shown an excess of heart in the face of a slew season ending injuries, a disastrous offseason, and the perennial doubters. They’ve earned it.

    1. “Over the past 4 weeks, the Giants haven’t played pretty football or even won convincingly, but they’ve shown an excess of heart in the face of a slew season ending injuries, a disastrous offseason, and the perennial doubters. They’ve earned it.”

      Hence, a B. But let’s get real – That team is lucky as hell.

      1. giants fan says:

        So when you make plays and the team you’re playing doesn’t, that means you’re lucky as hell?

        Here’s how I see it. I think the Giants’ 3-1 record is probably a function of their schedule, which I suppose is a type of luck but I’m assuming that’s not the way that you meant it. The Giants have simply made plays against teams that they should beat, injuries and all.

        If you’re going to proclaim that their record is a function of “luck,” I guess I’d just ask you to point out all the breaks the Giants are getting, excluding this Victor Cruz fiasco which will be talked to death this week, that have caused the Giants to beat teams that they wouldn’t have otherwise beaten?

        1. I don’t have a mountain of plays to note. The Giants are lucky because of the Victor Cruz play alone. Because of that awful call, the Giants are 3-1 instead of 2-2. Cruz himself has even said as much.

      2. Free Plax says:

        As an Eagle fan you should be pretty familiar with luck playing into a win. Sometimes the call goes for you sometimes it goes against you. The Giants still had to score and keep the the Cards from scoring and that was not luck. You sound a bit bitter I might add.

        1. Benjamin says:

          Yes, I too would be very interested in a breakdown of all the bounces that have gone the Giants way this season. Sounds very intriguing.

          The Cruz play has embittered its fair share of folks, both eagle and non-eagle fan alike? But, really, think about it for a second. Given the NFL’s rather overzealous view on player safety, i.e protecting so-called defenseless receivers, phantom roughing the passer calls, questionable leading-with-the-helmet calls, etc., is it any surprise that the league grants refs the discretion to decide when, as here, the play is over? There’s no question Cruz thought he was down, and so did the Cards for that matter. That’s why the refs made the call and as it turns out, it was the correct call to make.

          Pretty sad when the complaint (and bitterness) stems from the fact that the Cards, through absolutely no effort on their part, were not simply handed the ball to end the game right then and there. The pitch and catch to nicks on the very next play kind of confirms that the giants earned that win.

    2. WeNeedLinemen says:

      It didn’t look like a fumble to me. It look like he fell down, laid on the ground for a second. Assumed the play was over and casually let the ball drop as he stood up. Even if it was technically a fumble it wasn’t one forced by the Cardinals. The Cardinals didn’t earn the turnover. I don’t see it as the Giants being lucky, more that the team avoided getting screwed by a casual mistake made by a player who no longer thought he was playing.

      The Giants have impressed me. I thought they would exceed very low expectations this year because they’ve got good coaches and good personnel men but they’ve done incredibly well to get past all those injuries.

    3. BigBadJoe says:

      the Ex head of officals, the guys name escapes me, but he works for Fox now, said it was a bad call, and that the officals should not cover up for Cruz’s stupidity…

      1. giants fan says:

        Yes but the current head of NFL officials and the officials who called the game obviously thought it was a good call. I read the rule several times and I didn’t see anything about moral hazard in there, so I’m not sure why anyone thinks covering up for Cruz’s stupidity should be a relevant factor in the analysis.

        1. If the play was called a fumble on the field, I’m pretty sure the current head of officials still would have said it was a good call.

  10. DerfDiggy says:

    Well at least I can take solace in the fact that the Boys were 6-10 last year…and look to be 8-8 this year. Improvement!!!

  11. ty says:

    Vince wilfork has as many ints as our entire defense lol 5-11 here we come

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