Dallas Cowboys Bye Week: Seven Things We Learned From Sunday's NFL Games

Patrick Smith - Getty Images

We review yesterday's NFL action and marvel at the ineptitude of the Eagles, wonder what to make of the Redskins, hate a little on the Giants and share some other random observations.

1. After five weeks, the NFL is as tight as it ever was.

20 of 32 teams are either in 1st place or are within one win of the division leader's win total. And tonight's game between the Texans and the Jets won't change that.

The Cowboys find themselves a half game out of first place and a half game out of last place in a very close NFC East. The AFC East and the NFC West are just as close, with their last-place teams just one game behind their first-place teams.

2. The Eagles are a joy to behold

Michael Vick fumbled three times yesterday, losing the ball twice. In five games, he has fumbled the ball eight times, losing it a league-leading five times. He also gets hit a whole lot. At this rate, Vick may not be the Eagles' starting QB when they play the Cowboys on November 11, either because of injury or because he's benched.

Nnamdi Asomugha looks like a shadow of his former self. Remember all those stories about how QBs were not throwing his way in Oakland because he was so great? He's being picked apart in man coverage so far this season.

The Eagles' famed wide-nine pass rushers have a combined four sacks after five games. Jason Babin (2.5) and Trent Cole (1.5) are on pace for a combined 13 sacks this season, which would be less than half their 29-sack total from last season.

3. Anthony Spencer has more sacks than Jason Pierre-Paul

The pass-rushing phenom (JPP, not Spencer) has just 1.5 sacks after five games, far off the pace of his 16.5 sacks last season. Anthony Spencer has two sacks in three games.

While watching the RedZone Channel yesterday my son told me, "Look daddy, the guy is dancing again." I hate Victor Cruz.

The Giants O-line was supposed to be a steaming pile of dog poop. Yet Manning wasn't sacked once yesterday. In fact, he's only been sacked four times this season, and his 2.0 sack percentage (%Sacks/Pass attempts) is the lowest value in the league. Tony Romo has a value of 5.0%, still good enough for 12th best in the league. Michael Vick is ranked 21st (7.0%) and Bob Griffin is ranked 22nd (7.3%).

4. What to make of Washington?

In the three quarters that Bob Griffin was on the field, the Redskins offense scored just three points. Shanahan went ultra-conservative, running the ball 18 times and passing it 15 times in an effort to protect his QB. After rushing 41 times in the first four games, Griffin rushed just once yesterday before he was injured on a scramble by a massive hit delivered by LB Sean Witherspoon on the sideline.

Somewhat surprisingly for an offense led by a rookie QB, the Redskins have the seventh-ranked offense by yards and the eighth ranked offense by points scored. But that is being undone by their defense, which is ranked 28th in points allowed per game and 26th in yards per game.

Sixth-round rookie Alfred Morris is ranked third in the NFL with 491 rushing yards.

For those keeping track of such things: this was the Redskins' eight successive home loss dating back to Week 6 last season.

5. What a stinker by the Ravens

The Chiefs went into yesterday's game as the second worst pass defense in the league, allowing a 114.7 passer rating in their first four games. But they held Joe Flacco to a season-low 55.6 passer rating behind 13-for-27 passing (48.1%).

After Jamaal Charles ran for 125 yards in the first half, the announcers alerted us to the fact that this was the first time the Ravens had allowed a 100-yard rusher in the first half since 1998. Of course, the Ravens then limited Charles to 15 yards on 10 carries in the second half.

6. The no-huddle: Fluke or something serious?

From the National Football Post:

After four weeks of play, 14.6 percent of all snaps have been in no huddle this year, according to STATS. Last year, only 9.3 percent of snaps were from no huddle. In 2008, the percentage was 7.1. And this isn’t just offenses trying to play catchup as the clock winds down. Outside of the last three minutes of the half, offenses have taken 13.9 percent of their snaps from no huddle.

... Other teams that have fared much better with the no huddle than without it are Tony Romo’s Cowboys (9.8 yards to 7.1), Peyton Manning’s Broncos (7.9 yards to 6.2) and Aaron Rodgers’ Packers (7.2 yards to 5.7).

7. Remember these guys?

BTB pre-draft favorite safety Harrison Smith was ejected from the Vikings game after pushing a referee. That's not going to go over well with the commish.

Former 4th-And-Long contestant Andrew Hawkins has 294 yards on 20 receptions for the Bengals this year. He did have a rough outing yesterday, only catching five passes on thirteen targets. Meanwhile, 4th-And-Long contest winner Jesse Holley is a free agent after being cut by the Cowboys and Patriots.

Man, I love the RedZone Channel.

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