As much of the NFC East continues to struggle to open the 2021 NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys have seemingly no question about their identity or their ability to be an offensive juggernaut. The team put up 44 points and over 500 yards in their win on Sunday over the Giants, all while New York suffered injury-after-injury. The Washington Football Team fell to 2-3 after their loss to the Saints and can’t seem to find consistency.
Here’s a little bit about what happened around the NFC East in Week 5 and what’s in store for Week 6. (RELATED CONTENT: Check out the newest episode of The NFC East Mixtape, which lives on both the Bleeding Green Nation and Blogging The Boys podcast feeds.)
Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants
There have been a few NFC East matchups through the first quarter of the 2021 NFL season, but the Week 5 meeting of the Cowboys and Giants leads the pack for crazy. Dallas absolutely hammered New York, 44-20, and won in all phases of the game.
Not only did the Giants suffer a handful of super notable injuries — QB Daniel Jones (concussion), RB Saquon Barkley (sprained ankle), and WR Kenny Golladay (knee) —, but rookie Kadarius Toney was ejected for throwing a punch, that didn’t even land, at Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee‘s helmet.
Toney was forced to leave the game with just over six minutes left to play, and it was an abrupt end to the rookies’ breakout game in which he recorded 10 catches for 189 yards and broke Odell Beckham Jr.’s franchise rookie record. So, while the Giants offense may be a bit of a question mark in Week 6, and could be in the hands of QB Mike Glennon, Toney’s potential is at least something the team can rally around — as long as he keeps his hands to himself when tempers are high.
“I think he’s being very productive,” Giants head coach Joe Judge said after the game. “He’s a very talented player. I’ve said for a number of weeks, especially at that position, the receiver position, it takes some time to learn. There a lot of differences coming from college to the league for those positions. These guys obviously have a lot of just natural ability. He’s building a lot of technique, a lot of savvy. He’s really understanding what the other teams are giving him. He’s making plays. He was highly productive for us today in terms of making plays, getting down the field. He’s a tough dude, I don’t think there’s any question about that and I think he’s a very smart football player.”
Still, the Giants were no match for the Cowboys on Sunday. Dallas did give up the ball a couple of times, but New York failed to do anything with the turnovers, and as the game progressed, the Cowboys ran away with the game. They scored on each of their last five possessions for 27 total points, and recorded 515 total offensive yards, including 201 rushing yards.
The Cowboys now lead the NFC East, and are 4-1 on the season. They’re proving each week that their offense is incredibly hard to stop, and while their defense might allow opponents to score, it doesn’t really matter when Dak Prescott and Co. are putting up 41, 36, and 44 points over the past three weeks, respectively. The team is back on the road in Week 6 and will face the New England Patriots, and while Mac Jones has proven to be an effective rookie quarterback, there’s little to indicate they have what it takes to compete with an offense that can put up over 500 offensive yards like it’s easy.
Washington Football Team
Washington hosted the New Orleans Saints in Week 5, and ended up losing 33-22, in what was a very uneven matchup. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke had his worst day of the season, going 20-for-41, just a 48.78 completion percentage, for 248 yards, ZERO touchdowns, and two interceptions. It was not good, and Heinicke admitted as much post-game and in the days that followed.
Terry saw this in Taylor today. "He's always serious" but at practice a few hours ago "he was a little more serious." Terry loves the way Heinicke responds and he wants the offense to help the QB out more https://t.co/CGXCbERqQQ— Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) October 13, 2021
The Football Team will face the Chiefs in Week 6, and Heinicke admitted to reporters this week that he’s no Patrick Mahomes, and doesn’t try to be. He explained that when he was coaching kids who wanted to try and be like Mahomes, he would explain why the QB has skills that can’t just be replicated. Still, Heinicke needs to find a way to be more dynamic in the passing game, and work with his offensive weapons to get on the same page.
“I felt like we beat ourselves,” Antonio Gibson told analyst DeAngelo Hall after Sunday’s loss. “When we get in the red zone, we’ve gotta put up points. Our defense gave us plenty of opportunities to put up points and we didn’t do that today.”
Their Week 6 matchup against Kansas City will mean a lot for Washington head coach Ron Rivera who came from Andy Reid’s coaching tree, and Rivera talked at length about some of the things he learned from Big Red and the role he played in his career.
Rivera said KC coach Andy Reid was instrumental in him becoming a coach. He mentioned Reid gave him his first chance as a position coach. He said he mimics Reid in a lot of the ways he goes about his daily routines etc. #WashingtonFootball #NFL #ChiefsKingdom @SportsJourney— Lake Lewis Jr (@LakeLewis) October 13, 2021