Breaking Burgundy's weekly look around the NFC East starts with the team figuring out how to get buy without Dez Bryant for the next eight weeks or so...
Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
Week 1 – Cowboys defeat Giants 27-26: Are we done saying Tony Romo isn’t clutch? I thought so! Romo led the Cowboys to a stunning comeback with less than two minutes remaining, capping off the final drive with a classic TD pass to Jason Witten. It was the 24th comeback of Romo’s career. Cowboys fans should be excited that they may finally have fixed the problems on defense. Last season was nothing but trouble for the secondary, but the corners played very well against Odell Beckham and a formidable group of receivers in blue. Also encouraging was the success, or at least lack of failure, out of the backfield. Joseph Randle looked dynamic and Lance Dunbar was a fiend as a pass-catching back.
In The News: Uh oh. After coming up just short of the first down on a drag route over the middle, Dallas’ star wide receiver, Dez Bryant, limped off the field to be evaluated by the team medics. The verdict: a broken foot that could see Dez missing for 8-12 weeks. To try to undo some of the damage, the Cowboys have already traded for another pass-catcher, Brice Butler, and are hosting tryouts for several other WRs, but the loss of Bryant will leave a big hole in an offense that relied heavily on him as a fearsome deep threat. In addition, the rookie D-lineman, Randy Gregory, will also miss time. A high ankle sprain has the second round pick sidelined for at least a month. Greg Hardy is also missing time due to a suspension. If someone doesn’t step up in the pass rush, it could look a lot like last year, and that’s trouble.
Random factoid found on Twitter
Next Up: Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
New York Giants (0-1)
Week 1 – Giants 26-27 Cowboys: From the perspective of the Cowboys’ opponent, it doesn’t get much worse. The Giants had the ball in the red zone and all they had to do to win was not stop the clock. Guess what. They stopped the clock. The 11-year veteran QB, Eli Manning, threw the ball away rather than taking the sack, giving Tony Romo plenty of time to take it back the other way, which he did. The biggest positive take away the Giants can make is that their defense is once again showing signs of life. The last two Cowboy drives were ugly, but that was partially because the offense gave the D too little time off. Aside from the last eight minutes, however, New York looked much better than last year, limiting Dallas’ big plays and defending the run adequately.
In The News: Well, it looks like Jason Pierre-Paul may not play at all this season due to an injury sustained while doing fireworks, possibly costing him the $14.8 million he was tendered. Those were some expensive fireworks. The Giants pass rushers were entirely ineffective on Sunday night, so JPP’s return could give a much needed boost to the unit, with or without his finger. Aside from that whole debacle, the biggest injury the G-men have to worry about is rookie guard Erick Flowers’ ankle. The ninth overall pick injured it in week one, and could miss next week despite playing through the injury in his first game. The O-line was less than stellar last season, which is why New York spent their first rounder on Flowers. Losing him could be devastating.
Up Next: Atlanta Falcons (1-0)
Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
Week 1 – Eagles 24-26 Falcons: After initially looking stagnant on the offensive side, Philadelphia regained some of their composure later in the game but never looked dominant like many expected. The low scoring output was uncharacteristic of Chip Kelly’s high powered system, and was punctuated by a game-ending drop by Jordan Matthews, which was ultimately tipped and picked off by Atlanta to stop the comeback attempt. Both of the key additions to the offense, Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray, seemed to play at their worst. On the defensive side, the big offseason signee, Byron Maxwell, was run over all night by Julio Jones. It’s not all bad though. Despite a 17 point deficit and sub par play, the Eagles were still able to keep the game competitive till the end. It’s only week two, so hopefully this is their floor, not their ceiling.
In The News: With varying degrees of fallout from the loss on Monday night, one trend has emerged: many think that the Eagles should have run the ball more. Even former Eagles QB Donovan McNabb has voiced his opinion on the matter via twitter. Philly was down by 17, but nothing excuses a total of only 16 rushing attempts compared to 52 passing attempts. This is a team with possibly the best combination of running backs in the league in DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, and Darren Sproles, Use Them!
Up Next: Dallas Cowboys (1-0)