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New York Giants Vs. Dallas Cowboys: NFL Week One Game Analysis

September 10th, 2013 at 8:30 AM
By Dan Benton

AT&T Stadium was anything but "home" for the New York Giants on Sunday night as they fell to the Dallas Cowboys 36-31. It was a nightmarish game from the onset, and despite a near comeback in the fourth quarter, Big Blue just couldn't get things right and, ultimately, it cost them.

'DSC_0070' photo (c) 2008, Billy Bob Bain - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

They fell to 0-1 on the season and, obviously, 0-1 in the division. It was far from an ideal start to their year and there's a lot that they will need to work on this coming week. But, for now, let's take a look back at the positives, negatives and everything in between.

GAME POSITIVES:

  • Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle became the first wide receiver trio in franchise history to each have 100+ yards in a single game. In total, the group hauled in 15 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns — three's are wild here, folks. Save for one drop by Cruz, the group was nearly flawless.
  • Terrell Thomas returned to the field (during the regular season) for the first time since 2010 and didn't appear to miss a beat. Coming back from three ACL tears (two consecutive), T2 was flying around the field, making plays and showing the world he can still be an impact player. He ended the game with seven tackles and one pass defensed, but more importantly than anything else, he felt good afterwards.
  • Justin Pugh looked solid in his NFL debut. And although it didn't go off without any hiccups, the rookie really held his own and simply blended quietly into the game. That's exactly what you want from your offensive linemen. Generally, you only hear their name(s) when they've done something wrong. This kid has a bright future.
  • The secondary as a whole played far better than many expected. Corey Webster had a solid game and that has gone mostly overlooked, as has the performance of safety Ryan Mundy (except for his 91-yard interception return, which has drawn quite a bit of praise). Antrel Rolle made quite a few plays, Amukamara looked like a true No. 1 prior to his injury, and even Aaron Ross looked good other than his pass interference penalty.
  • Justin Tuck — welcome back. He was all over the field making plays, putting pressure on Tony Romo and causing hell for the Cowboys' offensive line. Shame his performance is being overshadowed by the loss.
  • It won't be talked about much, but the defensive tackles all did a very good job on Sunday, as did linebacker Spencer Paysinger (he's emerging as the Giants' best linebacker).

GAME NEGATIVES:

  • David Wilson, after promising not to repeat his performance against Dallas from a year ago, coughed the ball up on his very first carry of the game. Again. And then he added to it later with another fumble before ultimately being benched. Unfortunately, in between the fumbles, he wasn't playing all that well either. Despite appearing improved throughout the preseason, his pass protection is once again being called into question … and rightfully so.
  • Chris Snee struggled mightily on Sunday night. Whatever blind loyalty the team or a fan has towards him, there's no denying how poorly he played. The Cowboys were able to repeatedly expose a gap between he and center Kevin Boothe for much of the night, routinely forcing Manning to scramble for his life.
  • Brandon Myers has good numbers when you look at the box score, but much of that came late in the fourth quarter. The reality is, he had a bad drop early in the game and his blocking was atrocious.
  • Mark Herzlich really struggled on Sunday night, especially in coverage against Jason Witten. He seemed drastically over-matched. And why Jacquian Williams was not being used in those situations is anyone's guess.
  • Turnovers killed the Giants on Sunday night. There's no other way around that. In total, they turned the ball over six times (the most in any game for Big Blue over the last 25 years) and were -5 in turnover ratio. You just can't win football games when you do that.
  • Time of possession was another thorn in the Giants' side on Sunday night, but that was partially due to six turnovers. The Cowboys had the ball for 37:10, while the Giants had it for only 22:50. Hard to believe it was even worse in the first half, with the Giants having the ball for only a little over 8:00. Again, you can't win football games that way.

MIXED:

  • Eli Manning threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns, but the stats will also show three interceptions. They won't show that two of those interceptions, both on screen passes, were not likely his fault, and no one wants to hear that anyway. No one wants to hear about the three drops, either. Accordingly, Manning falls into the "mixed" category based on the outside perception alone.
  • Henry Hynoski made his return and, at times, looked solid. Unfortunately, there were other times where he looked extremely rusty. That's just the nature of coming back after a relatively serious injury with very little practice time. He'll get better as he works that rust off.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul. See above.

Game Balls:

Wide receivers Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle, and cornerback Terrell Thomas.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE GRADE: D+

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Tags: Brandon Myers, Chris Snee, Corey Webster, Dallas, Dallas Cowboys, David Wilson, Eli Manning, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, Jason Witten, Justin Pugh, New York, New York Giants, NFL

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39 Responses to “New York Giants Vs. Dallas Cowboys: NFL Week One Game Analysis”

  1.  Krow says:

    Since I’m the resident Snee hater … let me again note that his selfish, ‘team last’ dik move in putting off his surgery for 6 weeks while he took a Hawaiian vaca says a lot about his play … and about him. And for the bargain price of $7,000,000. An amount of money greater than what Martellus Bennett and Ahmad Bradshaw together are currently earning … on different teams.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    Dan, you hit nearly all of the positives, but you really have to add the kicking game/special teams. Best it has been in a long time. We now have a strong place-kicker who can create touch-backs and Weatherford is among the very best punters in the NFL. Our coverage teams are good and, absent a mistake by Randle in not making sure that all his blockers knew to disengage (that “fumble” was the receiver’s fault, not McBride’s, who should have been told to clear out of the area as receivers are obligated to do when the kick is short), the return teams did pretty well too.

  3.  fanfor55years says:

    I’ve been a big supporter of Paysinger and I think he’s coming into his own. And I still say Rivers and Williams are pretty good too. We’re 50% of the way toward a strong linebacking corps.

    The problem is we don’t have a MLB worthy of the name. Herzlich is apparently never going to step up. That’s sad, but seems true. And Connor is “workmanlike” in his play. Not terrible, but nothing special.

    This team needs one damned stud in the middle who is big and athletic. He has to be capable of covering but also blowing up plays at the hole. It’s Reese’s job to get him (while also getting another offensive lineman and a cornerback).

    •  BigBlueGiant says:

      i can’t agree with this. I thought the LB’s played pretty bad. They were OK at best in run support.

      •  demo3356 says:

        I think they were beter than last year by a mile. Could be a result of improved line play though. We shut down their run game to the point where they were chucking it 60 times in a game they led all the way. Outside of Whitten (scheme IMO) they also held the offense in check.

  4.  demo3356 says:

    “Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning, definitely one of the best quarterbacks to play this game,” Rolle said, via the New York Daily News. “Hall of Fame quarterback, but I don’t see all of that come Sunday. We go out there and play ball. We play against him as we play any other quarterback. This is no time for fear and no one on the defense is going to fear Peyton because we’re going to go after him as we do any other quarterback.”

    Rolle said the key to slowing Manning would be making him uncomfortable, which means hitting him early and often because Manning, according to Rolle, “does not like to be hit.” It’s a sound game plan that the Giants have used to throw quarterbacks off their game in the past, but many have tried to do it to Manning without succeeding.

    Since few teams can pull that off and few, if any, can ever truly stop a Manning-led offense, the Giants’ own offense is going to have to play a role. Turning the ball over and giving Peyton extra chances would be asking for a loss, so that needs to get under control if the team wants to avoid a two-game losing streak to start the year.
    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/09/10/antrel-rolle-says-giants-defense-isnt-scared-of-peyton-manning/

  5.  demo3356 says:

    Dan- I thought Brewer and Booth were worse than Snee. Entire Line was bad outside of Pugh and Beatty’s Pass protection. Myers couldnt block a good high school player

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Brewer and Boothe were turnstiles who also seemed unable to get any push when they tried to run. Very disappointing given that Boothe had done reasonably well in run blocking at guard and given Brewer’s size and supposed “quick feet”. (I’m starting to see that Jerry Reese’s descriptions of his draft choices are just as unreliable as any other salesman’s spiel).

      I didn’t really notice Myers’ blocking, but I wasn’t looking at that. I’ll take your word for it. What we need is Robinson back and taking his needed step up to give us a good two-tight end option out there.

      •  demo3356 says:

        I think Brewer has a lot of upside he just is a work in progress. Booth is a better guard than center. I think we will be fine once Bass comes back. I believe Brewer takes job from Booth next season and Mosely ends up somewhere on the line as well. Myers is really just an over sized WR. We need Robinson and Donnell in the 2 TE sets and to just split Myers out in the slot like the Pats did with Hernandez

        •  Nosh.0 says:

          Boothe missed an easy block on a screen to Scott down in the redzone on Carter.

          Me and Kujo are probably the only 2 people that think this, but I’d still like to see Pugh moved inside and Brewer at tackle. Although I can’t say this opinion is based on much game tape. Just more of a hunch that they’re both not playing their ideal positions.

  6.  demo3356 says:

    Nosh nailed it yesterday and I’ve been telling folks since the day Brown went down that this team WAS going to sign a vet back all along. They just chose to wait til after week one to avoid the contract being fully guaranteed. Cant go into the season with an unproven 3nd year back and two 7th round picks with zero experience. Personally I wish we would have grabbed Dwyer from the get go but I’l be happy with BJ, McGahee or my boy Kevin Smith.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I’ve said the same thing about signing a veteran, but also added that they wouldn’t do it until after Week 1 because of the obligation to guarantee the contract AND THAT WAITING WAS A MISTAKE (of course, Nosh denied that I said that, while also insisting that no one had ever thought RGIII was going to be better than Andrew Luck, but he was wrong on both counts). This situation was a perfect setup for good ‘ol Frank K. who could have ranted about how cheap the Maras are and how little they care for the fans.

      I don’t know who made the decision (probably a combination of Mara and Reese…my guess is TC really wanted a veteran immediately because he understood the risk) but it was an awful one. They should have had someone they could turn to the second they took Wilson out, and that player should have been signed the day after Brown went down (and TC’s role in all this, which deserves some blame too, is that he didn’t have to play Brown more than one series against the Pats, and shouldn’t have).

      •  demo3356 says:

        I have no problem with them waiting to pick up one of the street FA but wish they would have grabbed Dwyer the second Pittsburg cut him. He runs really hard and looked good for Pittsburg last year

        •  fanfor55years says:

          Dwyer was the guy I wanted too, with McGaughee probably the next best choice. But I wouldn’t hate it if they sign BJ. If nothing else he’ll add some fierceness to the locker room and on the field. I like what he does to our chemistry.

  7.  demo3356 says:

    Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz told WFAN this morning that they had to rally around Wilson to help keep him out of the doghouse.

    “We don’t want to mentally get down,” Cruz said. “I just want to talk to [Wilson] and keep his spirits high, and understand that we’re behind him. We’re going to need him to make plays. He’s a dynamic running back, and we’re going to need him to make plays in order for us to win ball games.

    “We’ve just gotta keep his emotions high, keep his mentality positive, and we can go from there. . . . It’s definitely a tough time for him and he’s gotta get through it

  8.  nick86 says:

    LOL how was that 1st screen pass not Eli’s fault? Ware was standing right infront of the RB, Eli should have thrown it away or taken the sack. The 2nd screen pass is debatable, I’m sure brown didn’t make the right read but Eli rocketed the ball at him.

    •  demo3356 says:

      Beatty was suposed to block Ware out and instead let him inside. Great heads up play by Ware, blown assignment by Beatty, questionable decision by Eli.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      It was Eli’s fault but also Beatty’s. The LT has to either cut the RDE so he is on the ground or push him to the OUTSIDE, not allow him to slip inside of him right to where the ball will be thrown. What probably happened there was that Eli was looking a defender away and then quickly turned and threw the ball, releasing it just as he was seeing Ware but unable to take back the ball that was in the air. The QB has to trust that his teammates will do what they are assigned on the play. So Will Beatty shares the blame on that one.

      On the second, you cannot “patty-cake” those throws or a defender gets a chance at it. Scott doesn’t get in the right place and doesn’t turn quickly enough. But Eli might have adjusted better. Frankly, I give 50% of the blame to Gilbride. The Giants wide receivers were torching the Dallas secondary. Why in heaven’s name call for a ball to be delivered to a kid with almost no playing experience? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

      • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

        That’s exactly what happened. The play was designed for Beatty to block Ware to the outside and then release. Eli had his eyes downfield first, keeping the safeties deep. He had to trust that the passing lane would be cleared, so when he dropped his eyes and passed, he probably didn’t see (or anticipate) Ware being there.

        This is a prime example of the complexity of the NFL coupled with the speed of the game. For fans who have never played before, they just can’t seem to wrap their minds around that.

        •  nick86 says:

          LOL I don’t think its a matter of never playing. I played football my entire life, through college. So I understand the scheme of play calling and defenses especially more than most. And I understand its a play based on timing and trust BUT Ware was standing directly infront of the RB, you couldn’t see the RB. Would have liked to see Eli take the sack on that one.

          I’m a huge Eli supporter but not going to give him a pass. If you give him a pass on those two INTs than he that means he essentially had a 450 yard game with 4 TDs and 1 INT and that doesn’t pass the sniff test.

          • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

            I wasn’t saying you, specifically. I was saying in general — fans who never played don’t understand.

            And as someone who played, you then know you have to rely on your teammates to do their jobs. Manning likely started to throw that ball before his eyes returned to the target, assuming the passing lane would be clear. Had he waited, yes, he would have seen Ware and not thrown the ball. But had Ware been cleared out and Manning waited, people would be ripping him apart for letting the play blow up.

            The bottom line is that had Beatty done his job, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

      •  nick86 says:

        In the end you would hope that your Franchise QB would make the adjustment on the throw, even though Scott made a mistake.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      The first screen was designed to have Will Beatty block Ware to the outside. Rather than driving him to the outside and releasing his block, Beatty released him to the inside — right in the middle of the passing lane — which resulted in the interception.

      Fans have this misconception that every play is run like things are run during a backyard football game. That’s really not how it works. Had Beatty done what he was supposed to, there would have been no interception.

  9.  Krow says:

    Hard to believe that Beatty … all world LOT … made a mistake like that.

  10. Anthony Raiaaxr29 says:

    It isn’t ideal size wise, but would make sense to go with Paysinger, Rivers and Williams at LB? Those three played the best, and its not like Conner or Herzlich actually play like MLB.

    •  Krow says:

      I suspect the answer is yes … go with speed and coverage ability. But we sorely need an enforcer style MLB.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      The Giants seem to only want to use J. Williams in passing situations (although they failed to do that at times on Sunday). They seem to have concern with him versus the run.

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