NFC East: Shoddy QB Play Reigns In First Week


We've talked plenty about the forgettable performance Tony Romo put together in his season debut on Sunday afternoon.

Fortunately for Romo, and perhaps for the Cowboys' chances of contending this year, he didn't bring up the rear of the NFC East after the display we saw play out on Monday Night Football this week. If there's a team in football that's got more to be worried about than the Cowboys, and a quarterback who had a worse Week 1 than Romo, it's probably Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

All of the problems the Giants encountered in their 0-6 start last season seemed to reappear Monday night in Detroit. The offensive line couldn't buy Manning much time against a ferocious Detroit front four, allowing two sacks and plenty of pressure.

When he had time to throw, Manning wasn't much better. He completed just 54 percent for 163 yards – a staggeringly low number for a veteran quarterback in this league – and he threw two interceptions. The Giants' ground game was abysmal, averaging just two yards per carry on 22 attempts.

Shaky quarterback play looked like a trend in the division, at least through one game. Even the NFC East's lone winner struggled from the quarterback spot.

The final boxscore in Philadelphia shows good things for Nick Foles and the Eagles – especially since they're the only NFC East team to open their season with a win. But if you watch the game, or at the very least read about it, it's obvious that the 34-17 win against Jacksonville masks some early struggles for the second-year starter.

Foles went into halftime after being sacked five times, losing two fumbles and throwing a pick. He completed 12-of-24 for a mere 139 yards. It was probably the worst half of his Eagles career – even worse than his awful start against Dallas last October.

The Pro Bowler obviously bounced back. He completed 15-of-21 passes in the second half for 183 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Eagles to a comeback win. Maybe most importantly, he didn't turn the ball over after halftime.

Unfortunately for Foles, the Eagles might be facing some serious offensive line woes for the next few weeks. Pro Bowler Evan Mathis appears to have an MCL sprain, which would sideline him for an extended period time. Lane Johnson, the top-10 pick in 2013, is still serving a suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy, and his backup, Allen Barbre, sprained his ankle against the Jaguars.


It's pretty ironic, then, that the best quarterback play in the division – statistically, at least – came from the team to put up the fewest points in Week 1.

Washington bumbled its way to one touchdown in a 17-6 loss to Houston on Sunday afternoon. That tied them with St. Louis for the lowest output in the league, though I guess it was at least a touchdown and not two field goals.

Robert Griffin III fumbled twice and lost one, and shoddy protection that led to three sacks limited Washington from doing much with its dynamic duo of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Griffin's 96.7 quarterback rating led the East, and he was the only division quarterback not to throw an interception, but the Redskins' offense clearly wasn't very dynamic with Griffin struggling to find time.

RG3 threw nearly 40 passes and didn't top 300 yards on the day, giving him an average of just 7.2 yards per attempt. Given the weapons around him, that's not going to look good for anyone – except maybe Manning, who averaged a measly 4.9.

It wasn't a banner week for Romo or the Cowboys. The good news for them is that their problems were a consistent theme around the division in Week 1.

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