This is why they play the game.
No one could have confidently predicted what happened in the NFL this past Sunday, especially the ups and downs of the four NFC East, teams that never seem to disappoint for storylines. The Giants and the Eagles comebacks at home, against what seemed like a never ending turnover brigade for both teams, impressed many skeptics and viewers alike. The Redskins and Cowboys dropped, and threw in some cases, the ball in their attempt to start off the season 2-0, which would have caused a mass media over hype of both teams.
From playmakers to gamebreakers. Some were kicking and screaming, while others were unable to do either. Bringing you the Top 10 moments in the NFC East on Sunday of Week 2 in the NFL. (Promise me you won't complain with how I finish this list off, esepecially if I decide to fire off on what seemed like a kneel down to end things)
10. This team fumbled their way into the Top 10 just like they did the opening kickoff and any chance to make a statement early on in the season. Felix Jones wasted little time getting Seattle's 12th Man going as he fumbled the opening kickoff that would pave the way to a Seahawks rout of the Cowboys. Jones went on to carry the ball only once for a yard after this. The Cowboys special teams didn't get much better as the game went on. Keep reading.
9. Instead of being a leader, I am going to be a follower. I am following the words of Joe Flacco and many others who seemed to get on the replacement refs moreso in Week 2 than the week before. Flacco thought they were "affecting the integrity of the game" by calling an offensive pass interfence on Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones on what would have been his second touchdown of the afternoon and would have given the Ravens a lead late in the 4th quarter against the Eagles. Jones looked as if he extended his arms just enough to provide enough seperation for him to go up and get the ball, but not enough to be flagged, or bean bagged in this case.
8. I always looked to root for athletes named Danny. One with the last name of Amendola turned smiles provided by RGIII to frowns for those in Washington as he brought in 15 balls for 160 yards and a score. The Redskins inability to cover Amendola throughout the afternoon was a big reason they lost, but the defense did its job when it mattered most. The offense. Eh, well they threw that away.
7. At halftime, people were deleting the "t" and the "e" from the word Eli Manning told, and proved, to everyone last year. With three interceptions, leading to 21 Tampa Bay points, Manning looked far from the two time Super Bowl MVP Quarterback we like to think of him as. The first two were bad. Bad reads. Bad throws. Bad timing. The last one was awful. Manning looked as if he was driving the Giants down for a last second score before halftime to make it at worst a 17-16 Bucs lead going into the half. Instead, he saw his pass go 60 yards the other way on a play that looked as if Eric Wright was blitzing, only to drop back in coverage on Cruz. It was 24-13 Bucs, for the time being.
6. How's this for a sequence. Cowboys go three and out. Cowboys line up to punt. Chris Jones punts the ball a few inches before it hits the hand of Malcolm Smith only to bounce a few times and into the arms of a streaking Jeron Johnson into the endzone. 10-0 Seattle. Less than five minutes into the game, you knew it was over for the Cowboys playing at the 12th Man.
5. Trailing 23-17 and in the Red Zone. Michael Vick was responsible for the Eagles tenth turnover in two games and a heartbreaking loss. Haloti Ngata hit Vick as he was in mid air trying to get rid of the ball. It was ruled a fumble and recovered by the Ravens inside their own five yard line. Wait. No, these are the replacement refs, who am I kidding. Of course this wouldn't hold up. The play was reviewed and overturned as it did look as if Vick's arm was in a throwing motion when the ball came out. The Eagles punched it in after the play was overturned and it was all she wrote in the City of Brotherly love. Well, until Flacco and Ray Lewis' postgame comments.
4. Usually the Quarterback throws the game away. Josh Morgan decided to save Robert Griffin III the trouble of that on Sunday as he took matters into his own hands after falling short of the first down on 3rd and 8, and being pushed and shoved by Rams defensive back Cortland Finnegan, who has a history of this kind of tempting (see: Andre Johnson). The ball was spotted at the Rams 29 yard line before Morgan got up and threw the ball into Finnegan, who smiled inside and watched as the refs flagged Morgan for unsportsmanlike conduct, setting up a 4th and 16. Shannahan opted to try a 62 yard field goal that was missed before the ball was even kicked. (Note to Josh Morgan: you finally have a Quarterback that will throw to win games instead of throwing them away; catch the ball and hold on to it, or don't expect any teams to do so with you).
3. Sack City. Right now, the Giants defense is anything but this as they would have had trouble staying with Greg Schiano if he was out there. Their secondary doesn't feel it is necessary to turn and look at the ball when they are out there running with people. Their front seven is having issues getting to the Quarterback, sans Jason Pierre-Paul because he is saving them right now, and as a unit, they let Josh Freeman go 80 yards on five plays in 2:01 right after they were able to go up by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
2. This part can only be explained with some numbers:
- 510. The number of yards the ball traveled when Eli Manning through it on Sunday. It was the 2nd most as a Giant, Phil Simms threw for 513 against the Bengals in 1985, and the 13th time someone in the NFL passed for 500+ yards, Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford did it last season. The uncanny ability of Manning to put aside what happened in the previous half, last possesion or last play is truly remarkable and something that goes unnoticed most of the time when Eli is ranked up against the other Elite signal callers in the game today. As Ian O'Connor of ESPN New York pointed out, you can't knock down this Manning.
- 243. The number of passing yards Josh Freeman had against the Giants "hole"some defense. It happens to be the number of yards Manning had in the 4th quarter as well.
- 18. The number of the quarterback Eli is setting himself apart from each and every game and the number of the quarterback Eli has looked up to ever since he could walk. Peyton Manning. For those counting, it is also the number of 4th quarter touchdown passes Manning has had since the start of last season.
- 179 and 199. The passing yards of Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. Marking the first time in NFL History that one team had two players catch 10+ balls for 175+ yards. Both played with some extra incentive as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN New York points out.
1. (Note: 10-2 are more important football moments, but 1 is just dominating the headlines of Week 2 thus far). The Giants picked off Josh Freeman in the final seconds of the 4th quarter up 41-34. All that was needed was a kneel down by Manning. Obviously, this was too much to ask for. Schiano instructed the Bucs to fire off on the snap only to send Manning tumbling backwards with the ball as the clock ticked off and the Giants offensive line blocking well after the whistle. Coughlin and Schiano had a lot to say afterwards on the matter. I for one believe that this is more of an offense vs. defense sort of situation. Most quarterbacks would say this is "bush" league. Most defensive players would say that they are going to play to the final whistle. I am sure if you asked Josh Freeman and Jason Pierre-Paul on their take of what happened, they wouldn't be shy to agree with their counterparts. However, if the NFL is cracking down on head injuries, firing off on a kneel down is something it should want to avoid. There is the Tuck Rule for a reason. Lets just make this the Kneel and Done Rule.