NFL Week 7: Eagles-Cowboys failed to deliver high-octane thrills

NFL Week 7: Eagles-Cowboys failed to deliver high-octane thrills

HOW'D THAT NFC EAST SHOWDOWN PLAY OUT IN PHILLY?


2013-10-22

Just as we said it would ya know, without anything that remotely resembled an offensive shootout. The Cowboys 17-3 victory actually was the perfect illustration of how far the division that not too long ago was the best in the NFL has fallen. To Dallas credit, its shorthanded defense the Cowboys played without standout DE DeMarcus Ware held the Eagles to a measly 3.7 yards per play and forced three turnovers. Oh, and that Philadelphia offense that was revolutionizing the NFL? Not so much. As bad as it was for the Eagles, they are just one game back in the standings and will have to hope Michael Vicks return is sooner than later. As for the division, the race to eight (maybe nine) victories continues.

WHICH TRADITIONAL NFL AXIOM WAS ON DISPLAY?

You win with defense. In the first hour of play Sunday, we needed an addendum: You win with defense, which sometimes is the best offense. The first three touchdowns scored in the early games came via defensive players a pair of interception returns (Buffalos Nickell Roby and Carolinas Captain Munnerlyn) and a fumble recovery and return (Atlantas Thomas DeCoud). In all, there were six defensive touchdowns Sunday notably Antonio Allens game-turning, 23-yard pick-six for the Jets, following Logan Ryans 79-yard interception return earlier for the Patriots. League-wide, there have been 30 pick-sixes the most through seven weeks since 2003 (31).

WHO SHOWED HE CAN STILL BE A SPECIAL TEAMS NIGHTMARE?

Devin Hester hadnt taken a punt or a kickoff return for a touchdown since Nov. 13, 2011 until Sundays 81-yard jaunt against the Redskins. Never mind that Washingtons special teams are a disaster. Instead, Hester again proved he is one of the greatest return guys of all time. By the numbers, he actually now is the best. Including the postseason, Hester has 20 return touchdowns one more than Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. And considering Hester is only running back plays on special teams Sanders played on special teams and defense, of course that mark might be even more impressive. Unfortunately for the Bears, Hester was one of a few highlights yesterday in a 45-41 loss to the Redskins.

WHICH RIVALRY NEVER FAILS TO DELIVER?

The Ravens and Steelers added one more chapter to a rivalry that has seen nine of the past 10 games decided by a touchdown or less. Pittsburgh won for the first time last week against the Jets and immediately built on that with Sundays win at home against the Ravens doing it the old-fashioned way. The Steelers, with rookie LeVeon Bell (93 yards) leading the way, rushed for 142 yards. On the other side of the ball, Lawrence Timmons (17 tackles) and the Steelers defense held the Ravens to 82 yards adding frustration to the considerably subpar season for Ray Rice. He had 45 yards on 15 carries, but that included a 13-yard pickup. Thirty-two yards on 14 carries wont cut it but it will delight Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

WHO FACES YET ANOTHER LONG ROAD BACK?

Former New Jersey high school legend Brian Cushing suffered one of the more gruesome injuries on a day of gruesome injuries. Cushing suffered a broken leg and torn LCL. He missed the majority of last season with a torn ACL in the same leg, and now faces another complicated surgery and intense rehab. Cushing made a solid comeback this season, and he had 44 tackles before going down Sunday. Losing Cushing was just the latest blow for the Texans, who have seen a once-promising season completely slip off the tracks. RB Arian Foster also left Sundays game with a hamstring injury, and Houston fell to 2-5 with a fifth consecutive loss. The Texans bye week has arrived. Too bad theyll spend the time counting the ways it all went wrong.

RICHARD SHERMAN, SEAHAWKS CB

Just imagine how fun Super Bowl XLVIII Media Day would be at the Prudential Center. This is a guy who will tell you he is the best cover corner in the league, and its getting harder and harder to argue with him. He has three interceptions this season, one of which he returned for a touchdown. More important, those three picks have come as teams increasingly flow their entire passing offenses away from him. Sherman is one-fourth of a secondary that could go as a group to the Pro Bowl. CB Brandon Browner and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are at the top of their games mostly because theyre also feasting on Shermans success.

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