NFC East Review: RG3 Spectacular While Cowboys Win Again

By Timothy Crouse
November 19, 2012 4:22 pm
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RG3Through 11 weeks, there can be no doubt about which quarterback in the NFC East is having the best 2012 season. And his name is not Eli Manning.

Thanks to a spectacular performance on Sunday by rookie Robert Griffin III, Washington thumped hapless Philadelphia to keep faint playoff hopes alive. 

And while Manning and the Giants rested, Tony Romo and Dallas managed to squeeze out an OT win against Cleveland.

Manning has his Super Bowl rings. Romo has his Pro Bowl appearances. But so far in 2012, RG3 has clearly been the best quarterback in the division.

Here’s what we learned in Week 11:

  • RG3 spectacular…

After several mediocre games, Griffin responded in style on Sunday with his best pro performance.  Griffin did a little bit of everything as Washington (4-6) whipped Philadelphia, 31-6:

  • Near-flawless passing
    • 14 of 15 passing (93.3 percent)
    • 13.3 Y/A
    • 4 TDs / 0 INTs
  • Effective running
    • 84 yards on 12 carries (7.0 YPC)
  • 0 Turnovers & a career-high 158.3 passer rating

Griffin has not thrown an INT in a month, and he continues to put up efficiency numbers that are good for any quarterback, let alone a rookie.  His Y/A for the season is 7.92 – fourth-best in the league, and his completion percentage of 67.1 is tied for sixth.

Griffin, who has been nothing short of spectacular this season, will probably have another sub-par game or two this season. But it certainly does not appear that he’s hit any kind of “wall” or that defenses have figured him out.

Here is how the quarterbacks in the NFC East rank through 11 weeks:

Passing + Rushing Yards

  • Romo               2,948
  • Griffin               2,806
  • Manning           2,649
  • Vick                 2,472

TDs (Passing+Rushing) – INTs

  • Griffin               +15 (18 total TDs/3 INTs)
  • Vick                 +3 (12 total TDs/9 INTs)
  • Romo               +1 (14 total TDs/13 INTs)
  • Manning           +1 (12 total TDs/11 INTs)

Completion Percentage

  • Romo               67.3
  • Griffin               67.1
  • Manning           61.3
  • Vick                 58.5

Yards Per Passing Attempt

  • Griffin               7.9
  • Romo               7.4
  • Manning           7.3
  • Vick                 6.9

The one area this season that has set RG3 apart from his division counterparts is turnovers (or lack of them). While Romo has passed for more yards, he’s also thrown 10 more INTs than Griffin.

  • … Fellow rookie Foles not so much

The countdown can officially start for Andy Reid’s ouster in Philadelphia, as there will almost certainly be major changes for the organization in the offseason. A major change on the field on Sunday was rookie Nick Foles making his first pro start in place of the injured Michael Vick.

It could have gone better.

For some unknown reason, Philadelphia’s game plan called for the rookie to throw over 40 passes in his pro debut, while star running back LeSean McCoy carried the ball just 15 times. Foles completed just 21 of 46 passes (45.7 percent) for 204 yards (a pitiful 4.4 Y/A), tossing two INTs and fumbling the ball three times (although the Eagles recovered all three).

Foles targeted big-play wideout DeSean Jackson a game-high nine times, but completed just two passes to Jackson totaling five yards.

It remains to be seen who is under center Monday night when Philadelphia (3-7) hosts Carolina (2-8).

  • Big D survives

Dallas’ 23-20 OT win over Cleveland (2-8) certainly was not pretty, but it was a win, and it does enable Dallas (5-5) to head into it’s annual Thanksgiving Day game just one game behind New York for the division lead. 

Considering the fact that the Giants (6-4) host red-hot Green Bay (7-3) on Sunday night, it’s very reasonable to project a scenario featuring Dallas and New York tied atop the division standings heading into December.

Dallas had to outscore Cleveland 20-7 from the start of the fourth quarter to the end of the game, to win on Sunday. Dez Bryant helped the cause by posting his fourth career 100-yard receiving game (and his third this season). Bryant caught 12 passes (one off his career-best) for 145 yards, and one TD.

Although the Cowboys gave up 119 rushing yards, they limited the Browns to just 3.6 YPC, while holding rookie running back Trent Richardson out of the end zone. Dallas sacked rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden two times, and forced one turnover in the game.

Here is how Dallas’ defense compares with its division foes in 2012:

  • Points Per Game Allowed
    • NY Giants        21.6
    • Dallas             22.4
    • Philadelphia      25.2
    • Washington      25.4
  • TDs Allowed
    • Dallas             19 (8 rush/11 rec)
    • Philadelphia      21 (3 rush/18 rec)
    • NY Giants        23 (6 rush/17 rec)
    • Washington      27 (7 rush/20 rec)
  • Yards Per Game Allowed
    • Dallas               318.0
    • Philadelphia      340.3
    • NY Giants        371.6
    • Washington      383.8
  • Passing YPG Allowed
    • Dallas                  211.4
    • NY Giants        257.8
    • Philadelphia      222.0
    • Washington      289.2

The one defensive area where the Giants have a demonstrable edge over Dallas is INTs; New York has picked off 17 passes, while Dallas has swiped a league-low four.

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