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ROG GEN-Z.2 - cannot remove cover for slot 2_2

Level 7

I have a bewildering problem with the above-mentioned M2 card on a X670E Crosshair Extreme...

On page 2-19 of the manual for the Crosshair, it shows how to remove the screws so the covers come off.  I was able to remove the cover on the side with 3 screws, and installed one M2 in that side.

But On the side with 2 screws, they just turn and turn with a fair amount of resistance, but they will not come out no matter what I try, and I can't get the cover off.  So I can't install my second M2.

I verified that the inner sockets under the cover are not turning along with the screws, and I verified that I'm using the correct bit size and nothing is 'stripping' the head of the screws either.

Seems really silly, I can't figure out what I could be doing wrong, or if it is somehow defective (screws stripped at the factory?).

Does anyone have any guidance on this?