The New York Giants have their four game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys and almost all of their hope for a playoff run has evaporated because of it. Make no mistake, Big Blue played well enough to win this game. Heck, they ran the ball for 202 yards. Andre Brown looked like an animal between the tackles and Brandon Jacobs was lowering the boom on linebackers like he once did in 2007-2010. It was pretty impressive what New York did in the trenches, but unfortunately for them it wasn’t enough. The Cowboys proved they were the better team on Sunday with their last second field goal that propelled them to the win.
Dez Bryant had a forgettable outing until late in this game. He dropped a number of passes, including one that bounced right into the arms of Antrel Rolle. He also fumbled the ball early in the fourth quarter, setting the Cowboys up for an unmake-able 3rd and 30. Dallas then punted the ball away to the Giants who would later go on to tie the game up at 21 with a touchdown and a two point conversion. Anyways, Dez’s miscues really hurt the team early on in this game, but he made up for it in a big way on the final drive. He made catches of 19, 5, and 8 yards on the scoring drive (two of them coming in third down situations) to maneuver the Cowboys into field goal range for the reliable Dan Bailey. Cole Beasley also chipped in with an important 13 yard catch on a third and 10 situation late in the game. This reception effectively allowed Dallas to milk the clock down and kick the game-winning field goal as time expired. In short, the Cowboys’ receivers were pretty clutch down the stretch, and Tony Romo seconded that notion by piecing together a nice game-winning drive.
Defensively, the Cowboys still have some major questions. Frankly, I thought they were majorly undisciplined in this game. They left the middle of the line open more than a few times and were gashed by Brandon Jacobs and Andre Brown. That is what poor gap-integrity will do for you. Also, if you need explicit proof of these guys being undisciplined, check out this bone-headed play. I’m not quite sure why nobody decided to touch Brandon Myers in this situation. You would think that they would be coached up better than that. So overall, despite the defensive touchdown in the first quarter (a Jeff Heath 50-yard scoop-and-score following a Victor Cruz fumble) I was not impressed with the Dallas defense. Although, they did only let up 356 yards in this game, which is actually almost 300 yards less than they surrendered to the Saints the last time these guys were in action, so I guess you can tip your cap to them for making an improvement.
The Giants major bug-a-boo in this game was their sloppy play. Penalties killed them in this contest; they committed 11 fouls for 81 yards in this one. Couple that with a poor third down conversion percentage (3/12, 25%) and you can see why New York was unable to win this game despite running the ball well. Tom Coughlin was irate on more than a few occasions on the sidelines because of his team’s sloppy play. Special teams wise, they did a good job neutralizing the Cowboys. Of course, Dwayne Harris re-aggravated the hamstring injury he suffered against the Saints two weeks ago, so he was yanked from the game in favor of Cole Beasley (for punts) and Terrence Williams (for kickoffs). Either way, special teams were not the sore spot for the Giants for once. It had to be encouraging to see the G-Men run the ball pretty well and dominate on special teams (their two weakest areas of the season), but unfortunately they played sloppy in other areas and could not win because of it.
With this win, the Cowboys are now tied with the Eagles atop the NFC East once again and have to turn around quickly and play the Raiders on Thanksgiving this Thursday. The Giants, meanwhile, will draw the Redskins in a (pretty much) meaningless Sunday night game. Let’s be honest here, for either the Redskins or Giants to even be considered a playoff threat at this point, they are going to have to run the table. New York still has tough dates with the Seahawks at home and the Lions on the road, so they have their work cut out for them. But, as we have already seen this season, anything is possible in the NFL and until they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, you still have to account for the G-Men, even if their hopes are fading fast.