The Dallas Cowboys put a significant stamp on its candidacy to win the NFC East Division crown. Playing in front of a rain-soaked crowd at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the Cowboys hung a 40-0 shutout on the New York Giants. The result was shocking after the Giants appeared to be on the right path to rebuilding the franchise after winning a playoff game last season.
While the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense didn’t look great, they survived a close win against New England on the road in the opener. The Washington Commanders were also less than impressive during their opener. However, the Commanders were able to pick up a victory over an Arizona Cardinals team that could be the worst in the league.
|W, 40-0 at New York Giants
|New York Giants
|L, 40-0 vs. Dallas
|W, 25-20 at New England Patriots
|W, 20-16 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Giants’ First Drive Ends in Disaster
Many questions will be asked about how much Dallas’ first touchdown of the day impacted the flow of the game. New York was able to march down the field on its first drive and was able to get in range for a 45-yard field goal attempt. However, Graham Gano’s attempt was blocked by Juanyeh Thomas.
The bouncing ball was scooped up by Noah Igbinoghene, who ran 58 yards for the score to give the Cowboys a 6-0 lead. Igbinoghene was someone the Cowboys were able to bring on the roster after Dallas acquired him in a trade with the Miami Dolphins during the preseason. While the overall result was an embarrassment for the Giants, they weren’t the only team to get spanked in Week 1.
Howell Will Have to Learn How to Stay Upright
Playing a team with a new coaching staff always requires a learning curve. Washington Commanders second-year quarterback Sam Howell found life difficult against the Arizona Cardinals. Howell was sacked six times by the Cardinals’ defense, had a fumble returned for a touchdown by the Arizona defense, and threw an interception.
Howell would finish with 202 yards passing and 19 of his 31 attempts completed. Commanders coach Ron Rivers was eager to point out that his young signal caller was still learning how to play the position at the professional level.
Eagles Shake off Hangover
The Philadelphia Eagles were dominant for much of last season in the NFC East and rode that wave to an appearance in the Super Bowl. It was natural that the Eagles would start this season by struggling to find their rhythm on a difficult night in New England, where the Patriots were honoring future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts completed 22 of his 33 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. Hurts also lost a fumble. Philadelphia’s offense went three-and-out on four possessions in the first half against New England. The Eagles only did that once last season.
Dallas Hopes it Found a Keeper at Kicker
The Cowboys brought in kicker Brandon Aubrey to try and bring some stability to the position. Last season, Dallas saw kicker Brett Maher miss five extra-point attempts during the playoffs. When Aubrey took the field Sunday night, things weren’t 100 percent perfect for the 28-year-old rookie.
Aubrey missed his first extra-point attempt but was perfect after. He was 4-of-5 on extra-point attempts and was two-of-two on field goal attempts. Aubrey took a non-traditional route to the NFL. He originally had dreams of being a pro soccer player.
Aubrey was selected in the MLS SuperDraft but didn’t find a way onto an MLS roster. He would find his way to the USFL to kick for the Birmingham Stallions. Aubrey made 14 of 15 field goal attempts as the Stallions won the USFL title again this spring and was signed by the Cowboys. He will be hoping to help them lift the NFC East title this season.
Insult to Injury
The New York Giants hope that the MRI All-Pro left tackle Andrew Thomas is getting on his hamstring will reveal some good news for the franchise. The Giants lineman suffered the injury in the fourth quarter but could play until he was removed in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand. New York’s offensive line didn’t have a good night overall.
The Giants allowed quarterback Daniel Jones to be pressured on 15 of his 22 dropbacks. On the night, Jones took a lot of punishment, being sacked seven times and getting hit 12 times.
Snyder Era Fades into Rearview Mirror
Years of bad behavior resulted in former Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder selling the team before this season. A partnership group led by Josh Harris closed on a deal to buy the franchise on July 21. The new ownership group was enthusiastic to open the season with a victory.
Washington is hoping to push for a new stadium. The team’s pursuit of a new stadium had been held up to controversy over the team’s former name and Native American imagery associated with their logo. Snyder’s tenure as Washington’s owner was difficult for the fan base and the league.
Snyder had several major controversies surrounding a toxic work environment and shady financial dealings. Snyder, who bought the team in 1999, never saw the Commanders get close to a Super Bowl during his tenure as owner. Washington only won two playoff games during his time as owner and never made it past the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs.
Eagles Will Have to Replace Injured Linebacker
Philadelphia didn’t get through its matchup with the Patriots without seeing some key players dinged up. Linebacker Nakobe Dean injured his foot in the season opener and was placed on the injured reserve Monday. Dean made four tackles in the Eagles’ season-opening win against New England. Dean, 23, is stepping into a bigger role after only playing more of a reserve role as a rookie.