Grading the Giants’ 28-20 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas on Sunday.
This is going to be a problem until this unit finds a way to get Saquon Barkley (11-39) going in the running game. Daniel Jones (21-for-35, 228 yards, 1 TD) needed to get things going with his legs, but he did not. He had three carries for 14 yards. Going 3-for-11 on third-down conversions was deadly.
An illegal downfield call on RT Tyre Phillips called back a TD for a killer penalty. WR Darius Slayton made an incredible leaping grab vs. CB Anthony Brown for a 44-yard gain to the Dallas 1-yard line. LT Andrew Thomas was ill and allowed his first two sacks of the season when Micah Parsons went wide around him twice to reach and drop Jones. The second half was dismal all around.
A failure to get off the field (Dallas was 7-for-11 on third down) was the difference. Allowing 169 rushing yards was not helpful, with Ezekiel Elliott (16-92, 1 TD) inflicting the most damage. LB Jaylon Smith had a fourth-down stop on Elliott in the first quarter.
CB Rodarius Williams showed great instincts with his first NFL interception, stepping in front of a Dak Prescott (21-for-30, 261 yards) pass on the left sideline. CB Darnay Holmes tangled with CeeDee Lamb (6-106) and deflected the ball to safety Julian Love for a second pick of Prescott.
Holmes was called for two penalties (illegal contact/holding), although the holding call looked bogus. LB Kayvon Thibodeaux nearly had a sack in the third quarter, but did not wrap Prescott up. Thibodeaux had five quarterback hits, but Prescott was not sacked. Fill-in CB Nick McCloud was beaten in the end zone by TE Dalton Schultz for a 15-yard TD.
Graham Gano’s 57-yard field goal matched a franchise record. He made a 47-yarder just before halftime look easy.
McCloud couldn’t keep Jamie Gillan’s first punt from bouncing into the end zone. Gillan’s second kick was a 49-yarder that pushed the Cowboys deep into their own territory and his third kick went for 48 yards and forced a fair catch. Richie James returned to his role as the punt returner and fielded the one punt that came his way.
No problem with Brian Daboll going for it on fourth-and-1 with 4:07 left in the third quarter, though it did not pan out. But how the hell can they have only 10 men on the field for that critical play?
Smart play-calling by Mike Kafka and use of the clock in the final minute of the first half produced a last-second field goal. Wink Martindale did what he could with a depleted secondary, but it did not hold up in the second half, and the blitzes of Prescott did not get home.