By Curt Macysyn
No doubt that the New York Giants played well on Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, and that effort highlights that the team is prepared for their opponent each week. Unfortunately, with so many holes in their roster, teams are able to pick on the weak area each game, usually to the Giants’ demise. This week, it was the defense that could not handle prosperity, as they allowed Dallas to come back twice and win the game on the Giants’ home turf.
The lack of a pass rush was the achilles heel that doomed the Giants on Sunday night, as Dallas quarterback Tony Romo had a clean and lengthy pocket on the final drive, which culiminated in a 13-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with a minute left in the game.
TEAM OFFENSE: B
Most of this grade belongs to dynamic rookie Odell Beckham, Jr., as he was simply spectacular. He had 10 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns, including an incredible one-handed touchdown grab in the second quarter. Quarterback Eli Manning was 29-40 for 338 yards and three touchdowns with one costly interception on a deflected pass intended for Preston Parker.
The Giants scored on their first three offensive drives, as the revamped offensive line seemed to pay dividends. Veteran Adam Snyder was inserted for rookie Weston Richburg at left guard, and Geoff Schwartz saw his first start of the season at right tackle in place of an injured Justin Pugh. As the game went along, the line got reshuffled, and Manning had heavy pressure for most of the second half.
Once again, the offensive line cannot run block as evidenced by the 2.7 yards per carry average that Rashad Jennings had on the ground. On the other hand, DeMarco Murray averaged 5.0 yards per carry to a 121 overall rushing yards, which demonstrates the greatest difference between these two teams. Jennings did have eight catches for 68 yards on the evening, as he was the only other compliment to Beckham in the passing game.
Tight end Larry Donnell only had two catches, and talk of Donnell as a vertical passing threat is highly over-rated. Adrien Robinson caught the first touchdown pass of his career to put the Giants ahead in the fourth.
The moral victory for the defense was that they “only” allowed DeMarco Murray to rush for 121 yards on the evening, with a 5.0 yard per carry average. Simply put, the defense cannot stop anyone’s running game, and in the new NFL, that is a huge problem.
Generally, the tackling statistics are over-rated for the G-men because very few plays happen behind the line of scrimmage. On the game-winning drive, the front four got zero pass rush on Tony Romo, who had an incredible amount of time to pick out a receiver, and eventually found Dez Bryant in the back of the end zone.
Bryant had a 31-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter that put the Cowboys ahead 24-21 late in the third quarter.
Giants’ slot cornerback Jayron Hosley gets torched every week, yet he gets sent out there as if something will magically change in his abilities and production. Hosley’s play has been in the red all year (-4.7), according to Pro Football Focus. Against Dallas, Hosley let Cole Beasley beat him for a 45-yard touchdown pass. Beasley had two catches for 66 yards on the evening.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Steve Weatherford punted four times for a 55.0 yard average, but he outkicked his coverage a couple times. The Cowboys’ Dwayne Harris averaged 17.0 yards per punt return, and he usually made the gunners miss the first tackle. Preston Parker had four kickoff returns for 99 yards, including a 37-yard returner when he was brought down by Cowboys’ kicker Dan Bailey.
Giants’ kicker Josh Brown was perfect on extra points, and he only had one of his five kickoffs to be returned. With all things being equal, New York’s special teams would not be as much of a focus as they are, but the scrutiny comes because of the G-men’s poor overall record.
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Curt Macysyn has been covering the New York Football Giants for the past two seasons for Examiner.com. Born and raised in northern New Jersey, Curt has followed and covered the New York Metropolitan sports scene for 35 years. He attended Seton Hall Prep School in South Orange, NJ and is a graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick. His work can be found on Examiner.com.