The New York Giants lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 27-26 in Week 1. It’s always a disappointment when the Giants lose, but it’s especially so when it’s such a close game. Luckily, there are a few pieces of silver lining we can all walk away with.
For one, it was great to see the Giants hold their own with the Cowboys, especially on defense where New York forced three fumbles and picked off two passes.
Offense was a bit of a different story, but going against Dallas’ all-world offensive line is no easy feat. The Giants registered zero sacks and just one quarterback hit. Better luck next time, boys.
While the Giants may have had the odds stacked against them when it comes to facing off against the Cowboys’ offense, it’s hard to say that’s the only reason they came up short. Going back to pre-season, New York only finished with 10 sacks, 3.5 of which were recorded by Damontre Moore, who didn’t meet expectations this week.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was allowed way too much time to dissect coverage, which ultimately allowed him to take the game in the closing minutes. This will need to improve, fast.
A second positive we can take away from this game is that for the first time in a while, the Giants’ special teams did not contribute to a losing effort. Josh Brown made every field goal and extra point attempt. New punter Brad Wing did a solid job placing his punts outside the numbers. It’s only one game, so of course we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch, but it’s a good sign of things to come.
Another bright side: no Cowboy with the ball was able to get more than 25-yards from scrimmage. When the Cowboys made a move, at least one Giants defender was on it in no time. The Cowboys’ longest play from scrimmage was a 25-yard pass to running back Joseph Randle. While that might still seem too far, it’s a vast improvement from last year when at almost every game the Giants gave up a 30-plus yard play. It’s progress.
And the Giants run defense, which finished 30th in the league last year, allowed only 80 yards on 23 carries (3.5 avg.) While Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has a tendency to destroy Giants defenders, first-year linebacker Uani’ Unga held up alright for his first NFL start. Unga led the team in tackles with 12 and picked off Tony Romo’s pass to Witten with 55 seconds left in the first half. This play would have given the Giants the ball at the Cowboys’ 21 if it weren’t for defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins getting flagged for an unnecessary-roughness penalty.
Everyone could tell that defense was exhausted in the final stretch of the game after being on the field so much, and perhaps that’s what’s really to blame for the loss. It’s only week 1, so let’s hope these silver linings turn into some real progress in the next couple of games.