As we all know, Peyton Manning used his ‘once every five-year” quarterback keeper to score against the Dallas Cowboys last week. Let’s take a look at the play …
Denver in I-formation with a wide receiver set left
Receiver shifts to right side, Dallas defense adjusts
Play in motion, Manning fake handoff to running back, Ware in pursuit, secondary set for run defense
Bruce Carter breaks free, heads toward Manning. Church recognizes play, but is out of position.
Bruce Carter and Barry Church in pursuit as Peyton Manning approaches goal line
Manning crosses into end zone, Carter pulls back
Peyton Manning scores touchdown on quarterback keeper.
The play, from the end zone …
Carter sees Manning rolling out towards the end zone
Manning scores one of the key plays in the game.
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IRVING, Texas – The NFL Network’s NFL Replay will televise Sunday’s triumphant, come-from-behind 20-19 victory Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.
Following the tragic loss of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown, the Dallas Cowboys rallied to outscore the Bengals by 10 points in the fourth quarter and win in Cincinnati on a 40-yard field goal by kicker Dan Bailey as time expired.
A 27-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant brought the deficit to two points, and the Cowboys defense forced the Bengals to punt on each of their last three possessions, allowing Bailey to seal the win.
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- There are days where teams just come up with great game plans how to handle DeMarcus Ware. Give the Bears a lot of credit because on the Monday night, Lovie Smith and his offensive staff were not going to allow Ware to hurt them in this game. Ware did have three tackles and one sack but for the Bears that was a win, they knew that tackle J’Marcus Webb would have little chance or no chance one on one with Ware the entire night so they put tight ends to his side, they chipped backs out of the backfield on him, and they worked the guards his direction any chance they could.
Some thoughts from the film room at Valley Ranch, particularly from the defensive side of the ball.
- Rob Ryan did the best he could moving Ware around but you could see that protection was geared to manage him. Victor Butler was able to get some rushes and even had a chance for a sack one on one on a third down play but he was unable to get Cutler to the ground which kept a drive going which resulted in a field goal for the Bears. I went into this game believing that Ware could have one of those monster nights but there was no chance of that in the way the Bears played him. It was fresh in their minds what happened to them the last time they played on Monday night this season against the Packers Clay Matthews and they did everything in their power not to allow it to happen again.
- Wasn’t surprised how well Danny McCray played in his first opportunity to start at safety for Barry Church. The one thing I will say about McCray’s game is that he is steady. There is not a lot of flash or flair but what you have is a football player that knows his assignments and plays his techniques. I was really impressed with how he manages to work himself around the field. I didn’t feel like there were many plays where McCray wasn’t where he needed to be. Had the one chance where he was in great shape on the tight end Kellen Davis for an interception and just needed to come up with the ball when it hit his hands. There are things about him in coverage that you are probably not going to like but if Rob Ryan can keep matching him up on tight ends, he will continue to have opportunities to make plays. Where McCray also helps you is his ability to make a sure tackle. It was a trait that we all had seen before during his work on special teams but he has managed to carry that side of his game into the regular defense. Danny McCray reinvented himself this summer as a player and you can tell by the way he played against the Bears, he had a good idea what he needed to do to help this team on defense.
- I have always believed that you draft players to play them. I never understood the teams that had all their draft picks on the weekly inactive list. You always need to find ways to get your rookies on the field. In the case for the Cowboys on Monday night, Garrett had Morris Claiborne, Tyrone Crawford and Kyle Wilber on the field taking meaningful snaps with the first team defense. We all know that Claiborne has been a day one starter and you can clearly see the talent that he plays with but also how much he has to learn about his craft and the tricks of the trade. There are going to be days where Claiborne is not going to be in great position on routes and it happened to him on a crossing route against fellow rookie Alshon Jeffery where he was trying to carry him across the field and there was too much separation which made him have to scramble to get in position to try and make the play.
- Claiborne also didn’t play with good inside leverage on the Devin Hester touchdown where he allowed Hester to run the out and up on him and was never able to recover. Claiborne did do a good job of coming forward one time on a third down pass to Hester and cutting him down before he had a chance to get going. There is no doubt in my mind that Morris Claiborne will be tested more these next five weeks. I am honestly surprised that teams have not thrown at him more. Opponents are going to find out if he can handle the ball going at him down after down and he will need to be up to the challenge.
- Tyrone Crawford caught my eye last week when he went toe to toe with the Buccaneers Carl Nicks. This week it was much of the same for Crawford who plays with surprising power and strength to go along with his quickness. The area I have been impressed with Crawford has been with his ability to play with his hands. He is really a technique sound guy and you can see every week that the defensive coaches are giving Crawford more and more of an opportunity to be a part of the defensive line rotation but this is not a gift, he is actually earning his right to see the field more and more each week. With the bye week ahead, there is a chance to we can also see safety Matt Johnson and from what I had seen in college, he has a chance to help.
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After the first two weeks of the regular season, the NFC East is just about as hard to judge as most people thought it would be coming into this year. All four teams in the division, including the 2-0 Philadelphia Eagles, have had one game that left their fans cringing and one game that gave them playoff hopes.
Below is a quick recap of the division going into Week Three.
Philadelphia Eagles 2-0
Dallas Cowboys 1-1
Washington Redskins 1-1
New York Giants 1-1
Of course, as the only undefeated team in the conference, the 2-0 Eagles are leading the division ahead of the other three teams sitting at 1-1.
Philadelphia had a very impressive 24-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, which included a 1-yard touchdown run by Michael Vick to take the lead with 1:55 left in the game.
But while any win is a good win, the Eagles certainly challenged that theory in their sloppy week one victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week One. Philly managed to squeak out a one-point win despite Vick’s four interceptions and two fumbles. The Eagles needed a last-minute touchdown to beat a Browns team that featured an abysmal performance by rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden.
The Cowboys might have been the most “bipolar” team in the division through two weeks. They came out prepared and ready to play the defending champion Giants on the road. Tony Romo picked apart a depleted New York secondary, Demarco Murray ran for 131 yards and Kevin Ogletree had a breakout performance.
But as prepared as the Cowboys looked in Week One, they came out flat against the Seahawks. Seattle held a huge advantage in special teams and the Cowboys offense was never able to sustain any consistent execution. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch had little trouble with a Dallas defense that spent too much time on the field.
The Cowboys are the only team with a divisional win under its belt, but they are also the only team with negative net points as they enter Week Three at -13 net points.
In typical Giants form, it took a 14-point comeback for this team to avoid being in borderline panic mode. After the disappointing home loss to the Cowboys, the Giants followed up by falling behind to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To stage a comeback and take the lead with 55 seconds left in the game required a very full box score from Eli Manning. The quarterback managed to throw for a career-high 510 yards and three touchdowns to go along with his three interceptions.
The Redskins are 1-1, but it’s unlikely that Washington fans are talking about the team’s record nearly as much as Robert Griffin III’s ability to somehow exceed expectations. Through two games, RG3 has three passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns, earning a signature victory over the Saints in New Orleans.
The Redskins also had a disappointing loss to the St. Louis Rams in a close game, but the silver lining was that Griffin once again looked like a veteran QB who knew exactly what he was doing. The Redskins have proven that they are certainly beatable, but that Griffin’s playmaking ability will keep them in nearly any game.
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have been hampered by injuries since the preseason, but they have been fortunate enough to not lose any major players to season ending injuries. Phil Costa’s back injury will likely keep him sidelined for at least another week or two. Injuries to starting safeties Barry Church (quad) and Gerald Sensabaugh (calf) will be something to monitor going into Week Three. And the unusual struggles of Jason Witten have some people questioning the health of his recovering spleen.
New York Giants: The Giants’ main injury concern is a neck injury sustained by running back Ahmad Bradshaw in their victory over the Buccaneers. Bradshaw sat out of practice Tuesday and it is unknown how much time he will miss, but because the Giants are playing the Thursday night game, it is likely he will sit out against the Panthers. This should be trouble for the Giants who already had a weak running game before Bradshaw’s injury.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles sustained a number of injuries in their victory over the Ravens. Impact receiver Jeremy Maclin hurt his knee and was carted off of the field to the locker room. Their offensive line also took a hit as starting center Jason Kelce will miss most of the season after tearing his ACL, while staring left tackle King Dunlap may sit out Week Three with a strained hamstring.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins suffered a huge blow in their loss to the Rams by losing arguably their two best defensive players to season-ending injuries. Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo tore a left pectoral muscle and defensive end Adam Carriker suffered a torn quadriceps near his knee. Both of these injuries could have huge implications on the Redskins’ competitiveness moving forward.
– The Cowboys and Redskins are the only two teams in the NFL that opened up the season with their first two games on the road. Expect an improvement in energy and focus in their home debuts in Week Three.
– Just through Week Two, the starting QBs of the NFC East have combined for 12 interceptions with the rookie, Griffin, being the most efficient with only one.
Week 3 Schedule:
Thursday, September 20th, 7:20 CT (NFL Network)
Sunday, September 23rd, 12:00 CT (FOX)
Sunday, September 23rd, 12:00 CT (CBS)
Sunday, September 23rd, 3:05 CT (FOX)
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If the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in victory formation Sunday with plans to let quarterback Tony Romo kneel and kill the remaining clock, they can expect a spirited surge from the Tampa Bay defense.
Buccaneers’ first-year coach Greg Schiano defended that tactic, which he used to the chagrin of his opponent in the final 5 seconds of Sunday’s 41-34 loss to the New York Giants, because he’s seen it work in the past.
During a Monday news conference in Tampa, Schiano said his Rutgers teams forced four fumbles in the past five seasons using a similar technique. He stressed that the Bucs will continue to play until the final second despite postgame complaints from Giants coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning, who called the move a "cheap shot."
"To me, it’s a clean, hard, tough finish-the-game play. Some people disagree with that," said Schiano, whose move touched off a flurry of differing opinions from NFL analysts. "But I don’t have any remorse or regret … it was no sneak attack. We were down, ready to go and that’s how we do it all the time."
Schiano, who spent 11 seasons at Rutgers before taking the Bucs job in January, saw his team recover a fumble in a kneel-down situation in 2009 against West Virginia, only to have the recovery nullified because of an offside penalty.
Former NFL coaches and players have offered differing opinions on Schiano’s strategy. Those siding with Schiano cite a 1978 game in which Philadelphia beat the Giants, 19-17, on a 26-yard fumble return for a touchdown after a botched handoff as the Giants tried to kill the clock in the final minute.
Asked about Schiano’s move, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said: "Certainly, there is a style of football they are trying to implement. … We will just be aware of what happened in the past and make sure we handle it the right way on our end."
Terrific turnover margin
The Bucs (1-1) have the same record as the Cowboys (1-1) but feature one of the NFL’s top marks in turnover margin: plus-3. The Cowboys forced no turnovers and lost two (one interception, one fumble) in Sunday’s 27-7 loss to Seattle.
Tampa Bay kicker Connor Barth has connected on a franchise-record 20 consecutive field-goal attempts, including kicks of 45 and 52 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Giants. Barth said some of his success stems from the fact that, for the first time in his career, he is working with the same deep snapper (Andrew Economos) and holder (Mike Koenen) for a second consecutive season. Barth’s streak still pales in comparison to Dallas kicker Dan Bailey, who made 26 consecutive field goals as a rookie last season.
Burned by blitzes
Giants quarterback Eli Manning threw for a career-high 510 yards in Sunday’s victory over Tampa Bay. The Bucs allowed a franchise-record 604 yards in the 41-34 loss, giving up multiple big plays — including an 80-yard TD catch by Victor Cruz — in blitz situations. After reviewing video, Schiano said his defense will not shy away from blitzes despite failing to sack Manning.
"We’re not a blitz-heavy team," Schiano told reporters in Tampa. "But, yeah, we’re going to mix it up. That’s who we are … Sometimes you get there and it’s great."
NFL Game Rewind
Back there at the turn of the century, the Valley Ranch think tank was in agreement on Troy Aikman. Sadly, his career was kaput. Troy didn’t agree, but the great ones rarely know when to say when.
In something akin to a career eulogy, the Aikman praise flowed and so did the tears as the Cowboys said good-bye. Later, when Aikman finally agreed to call it quits, The Iceman himself even cracked. Troy cried at his farewell media conference.
Watching that so-long scene that day at Texas Stadium, front office football staffer Larry Lacewell wandered over to a reporter, who happened to be me, and in a wistful tone said:
"Well, we are now officially one of those teams wandering through the quarterback wasteland of the NFL. With Troy, we didn’t have to think about it or worry about it.
"But we are now going to run into clubs out there who have been wandering for 10 years, and still haven’t found a quarterback. It’s a vast wasteland."
And so it was.
Quincy Carter, Ryan Leaf, Anthony Wright, Clint Stoerner, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Henson, Drew Bledsoe …
Six seasons later, Tony Romo emerged.
Like him or not, Tony led the Cowboys out of the vast wasteland. And whatever your beef with Romo, you are a football idiot if you disagree he’s a top 10 QB in a league where there’s 32 of them.
But speaking of that dreaded wasteland …
Did we have another team make an emergence this week? Did a long, long trek through the wasteland come to an end?
Better yet, would it suddenly be wise to start taking the Washington Redskins much more seriously in the NFC East?
A nice young man from Copperas Cove, Texas, turned the NFL upside down over the weekend. If you were watching ESPN on Sunday night, SportsCenter was on fire with RG3 testimonials.
One game. One NFL start, and this one a mere few months removed from the Baylor campus, yet Robert Griffin stole the Week One show in the league.
Griffin even out-Peytoned Peyton Manning in the national headlines.
As good as Manning was in his Denver debut, as good as the 49ers’ defense was against Green Bay, as good as Romo was against the Giants, the rookie quarterback for the Redskins knocked ’em all off the shelf.
Having had an up close and personal look at RG3 in his Baylor days, and particularly last season, we all could lie and say we weren’t surprised. But nobody saw this coming. Not as a rookie starting and starring in the tough road environment of New Orleans against a Saints crowd and team jacked to the roof.
But when a quarterback pops like RG3 popped, perception and perspective goes radically nuts. Along the Potomac this week, it’s nuts. RG3 fever has consumed Redskins Nation.
A friend who lives in Washington and is a devout ’Skins’ backer, was telling me a story this week about the most-hated contingent of fandom in his universe: that would be the CowSheep.
All along the Eastern seaboard, the Cowboys have a massive fan base, from the New York area, down through Philly and certainly around D.C.
“I remember,” said my friend, “watching a Sunday night game in Carolina a few years ago , and Romo, who had come out of nowhere, was great. I’m thinking, “Oh …spit. They’ve finally found a quarterback.”
“Well, on Monday, I’m talking to Cowboys’ fans, and all I heard from them was, ‘Oh …spit. The Redskins have finally found a quarterback.’ I was hoping I’d live long enough to hear a Cowboys’ fan have to say that.”
It’s been awhile, for sure.
The Redskins do have two playoff wins since 1996, compared to one for the Cowboys.
But they never had an Aikman, and going back to the Aikman era, the wasteland of D.C. quarterbacks is so bleak it makes the Cowboys of the early 2000s appear almost stable.
Cary Conklin, Heath Shuler, Gus Frerotte, Trent Green, Brad Johnson (who was OK in Washington, but washed up here), Tony Banks, Jeff George, Patrick Ramsey, Danny Wuerffel, Tim Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Todd Collins, Jason Campbell, Donovan McNabb and, lately, Rex Grossman.
The good names in that bunch were on their final QB legs by the time they got to the Redskins.
In one game, however, RG3 made us all rethink everything we thought about the Redskins in the NFC East for this season. It’s a good defense, and a team that always plays close games with the Cowboys, but Romo has been better than whomever Washington was running out there at quarterback.
The doubters can claim there’s been a vast overreaction to a rookie quarterback’s first game. But nobody (that saw the game) can claim they weren’t extremely impressed with the kid from Copperas Cove.
At the moment anyway, RG3 has taken the Redskins out of that vast wasteland of the quarterback wilderness, but the Cowboys don’t see RG3 until Thanksgiving Day.
By then we will know much more. Until then, he’s definitely worth watching.
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If we’re done with the focus being on the Giants game last Wednesday, then it should be on the Seahawks, right?
Yeah, I get it. We try to focus on one thing at a time. But that’s more of a coach rule than anything.
With the ‘boys off, it was nice to watch a little football on Sunday. Then again, I bet there were plenty of Dallas Cowboys fans who weren’t too thrilled with what they saw in New Orleans.
Cowboys fans know what they’re going to have to face for about 10 to 12 years. It’s scary – not only to figure out to stop him, but to wonder how good this kid can really be.
But as a true fan of the game, how can you not like what Robert Griffin III did in his NFL debut? Every bit of the excitement he had at Baylor, he played with Sunday in his first game out against the Saints. He throws, he runs, he throws on the run … he just manages his team like he’s been doing it for five years.
You want balance? How about scoring 10 points in each quarter to put up a big 40-spot on the Saints in the Superdome.
Yes the game has changed in 23 years, but think back to 1989 when Troy Aikman made his debut against the Saints in the very same Superdome. RG3’s 40 points were about … 40 points more than Troy could lead his team to that day.
Griffin was purely amazing, becoming the only player in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in his NFL debut. And his 88-yard touchdown strike to Pierre Garcon was the second-longest touchdown pass in a player’s NFL debut, only one yard behind Neil O’Donnell in 1991.
I remember looking at the schedule when it came out in April and when I noticed the Cowboys didn’t get the Redskins until Thanksgiving, my first thought was: any rookie QB jitters he might have will be long gone by then.
Umm… what rookie jitters? He looked nothing like a rookie in that first game.
Ok, so the Saints aren’t what they used to be on defense. But it’s obvious Griffin will face much better defenses than what he saw in New Orleans. It’s safe to say his six NFC East games will be much tougher than that.
Still, you have to think Griffin will be better too, not only in the next few weeks, but can you imagine about the next few years and then some.
Hey, I’m not saying the Cowboys should be scared. Just saying, RG3 looks to be everything he’s been made out to be – and then some. And with that, he’ll likely be a pain in the Cowboys’ side for the next decade.
Nick Eatman | Dallas Cowboys website
TBAB EDITORS NOTE: Seeing is believing! Watch the Washington Redskins RGIII’s NFL debut vs. New Orleans Saints on NFL Game Rewind.
After last season, when the Seahawks had Tarvaris Jackson starting at quarterback, they needed a leader who could make a last-chance push to the end zone.
So, during the offseason, the Seahawks picked up quarterback Matt Flynn in free agency and Russell Wilson in the NFL Draft.
One of them, the team brass hoped, could lead a big comeback of the kind seen so often in the NFL.
Well, the Seahawks on Sunday needed such a comeback in Arizona, and they had their chance — a few chances. Wilson, the rookie selected over Flynn to start the season under center, led Seattle downfield in the final two minutes of Seattle’s season opener, getting the Seahawks to the 31-yard line with four downs to use and under two minutes to play. Down 20-16 in enemy territory, the Seahawks needed a touchdown — a three-point field goal wouldn’t cut it.
TBAB EDITORS NOTE: Want to size up the Cowboys next opponent? Watch the Seattle vs. Cardinals game on NFL Game Rewind.
Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne enjoyed a rock-solid debut Wednesday night against the New York Giants. We re-watched his performance using the Coaches Film function on NFL Game Rewind (on iPad or any tablet, this will change your life.) Check it out HERE.
Claiborne did a nice job tracking Hakeem Nicks all night, primarily playing press coverage. The top-10 draft pick wasn’t perfect — he struggled defending the run — but he looked like he belonged.
Slowing down Nicks wasn’t the most impressive thing we learned about Claiborne this week. The star cornerback apparently bought this car for his parents after the draft. Western Louisiana is filthy with Dallas Cowboys fans, so the Claiborne-mobile probably is pretty popular around town. We just don’t recommend the family take it on a road trip to Philadelphia.
Would you own this car?
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