The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys played one for the ages down in Arlington today. After storming to a 23-0 lead midway through the second quarter off four Dallas turnovers, the Giants were unable to generate any offense as the Cowboys fought back to take a 24-23 lead into the fourth quarter. Although the Giants looked lifeless on both sides of the ball at times today, the defense made plays down the stretch and put the offense in a position to take back the lead.
The Giants benefited from six Cowboys turnovers, including four Tony Romo interceptions. Despite excessive turnovers, Dallas' offense was able to move the ball down the field on the Giants seemingly at will. Jason Witten had 18 receptions for 167 yards and a touchdown, while Miles Austin and Dez Bryant each had over 100 receiving yards themselves. However, Lawrence Tynes went 5 for 5 on field goals and the Giants defense held up despite two late fourth quarter Dallas drives that nearly yielded touchdowns.
As always, let's take a look at the good, the mixed, and the ugly from today's matchup.
Brown came up with two interceptions and a fumble recovery on the day. Furthermore, he tied for the team lead in tackles for the game, with six. Brown was around the ball throughout the entire day and came up big when the Giants needed him to. With that, he never tried to do to much. He played his run/pass keys well, read Tony Romo's eyes and was always where he was supposed to be on the field.
Brown now has five interceptions on the year and has filled in admirably for the injured Kenny Phillips. The Giants are going to have a tough time taking Brown out of the lineup when Phillips is healthy enough to play.
Tynes was 5 for 5 on field goals for the day. Although the Giants should have been able to get to the end zone more than twice, Tynes bailed out Big Blue and put 15 points on the board tonight . His two fourth quarter field goals regained the lead for the Giants and put Dallas in a hole that they could not climb back out of.
It's hard to put into words how impactful Tynes has been this season. He's been automatic from inside of 50-yards and has allowed the Giants to overcome their offensive issues in the red zone. While he is generally unreliable from longer distances, he is as accurate as any kicker in the league while kicking from inside the 35 yard line.
This was not one of Eli Manning's signature fourth quarter comeback wins. Manning completed 15 of 29 passes for 192 yards on the day, which was just barely enough to generate enough offense to come away with the win. However, he was ineffective in the red zone and made a few poor decisions with the football. The only two touchdowns the Giants came away with today were on JPP's pick-six and a Corey Webster interception returned to the 31-yard line. Manning was unable to lead the Giants on a consistent, methodical touchdown drive today, which resulted in Big Blue punting the ball six times in this game.
Manning's receivers did not help him out much, so the lack of offense was not all on him. With that, Manning led the Giants into field goal range twice in the fourth quarter to come out with the win.
The Giants gave up 434 yards of offense today. Dallas had no issues moving the ball down the field and and there were three separate receivers who gained over 100 yards through the air on Big Blue. Unless the Giants came up with a turnover, it seemed like they were completely incapable of stopping Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense.
However, the Giants came up with six turnovers and four sacks. The defense, while they had their issues, were the only reason that the Giants were able to stay in this game. With the four first half turnovers, the Giants scored 23 points while generating little to no offense. The Giants made plays on the ball today and took advantage of nearly every mistake Tony Romo made. Although defensive coordinator Perry Fewell must find a way to stop allowing over 400 yards of offense on a weekly basis, Big Blue has developed in a turn over machine on defense.
The Giants ran the ball on first down on nearly every drive through the first three quarters. However, they still were unable to generate a consistent rushing attack with Ahmad Bradshaw. However, when it counted most, Bradshaw was able to help the Giants move down the field in the fourth quarter. With that, Andre Brown threw in 21 yards and a touchdwon on three carries.
Big Blue put up 103 yards on the ground today on 28 carries. The rushing attack was not explosive as it was against San Francisco and Cleveland, but it was good enough to push the offense into field goal on several occasions position today.
Whoever Tried To Cover Jason Witten
The Giants could not cover Jason Witten at all today. First Witten abused Michael Boley on underneath routes over the middle of the field, then Witten burned Michael Coe on several occasions in the fourth quarter. Dallas' star tight end caught 18 passes for 167 yards on the day.
At times, the Giants defense was willingly giving up the underneath routs to Witten. Instead of committing two players to a guy who was wasn't stretching the field, Perry Fewell was more concerned about Dez Bryant and Miles Austin making plays on deep throws. However, Boley and Coe were completely incapable to guarding Witten, no matter where he lined up.
The Giants wideouts were not on their game today. Not only were Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz not winning their individual matchups, but they dropped several balls early on in this game that could have extended drives and made the initial lead insurmountable.
With that, Domenik Hixon and Victor Cruz failed to run their routes to the sticks on two crucial third downs. Both resulted in a stalled drive and helped the Cowboys get back into this game.
Red Zone Offense
The Giants kicked five field goals today. While that's a testament to Lawrence Tynes' effectiveness, the offense was not able to get it done when it got inside the 20-yard line today. Dallas' defense was able to minimize their early offensive mistakes and it allowed this game to see a heart stopping conclusion.
The Giants had an opportunity to put this game away early, and they didn't get it done. While it wound up not costing them the game it today, the inability to score a touchdown in the red zone will cause the Giants to lose a game down the stretch if this issue persists.
The Giants escaped with an ugly win in Dallas today. While it would have been nice to see Big Blue capitalize on their 23-0 lead, they eventually came out with a win. In the end, that's all that counts.
However, there were certainly aspects of today's contest that need serious improvement if Big Blue wants to contend with some of the more complete football teams they will play down the road. They can not give up over 400 yards of offense each week, the wide receivers can not drop the ball, and the offense must score when they get the opportunity to.
That said, the Giants are now 6-2 and have pulled another game ahead of each team in the NFC East today. It wasn't pretty, but today is a good day to be a Giants fan.
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