The New York Giants were defeated by the Dallas Cowboys, 28-20, in a Thanksgiving Day divisional matchup.
The defeat brings the Giants to 7-4 and third in the NFC East. This is the second straight loss for Big Blue and they will desperately need to get back in the win column against the Washington Commanders.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what we saw during the game and how we graded the Giants in this loss.
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It was a tale of two halves for the Giants’ offense.
The offense started off performing well, scoring 13 first-half points. While it was not an absolute offensive explosion, the Giants led three scoring drives against a stout Dallas defense. The touchdown drive was highlighted by a 44-yard Darius Slayton reception where he Mossed his defender on the right sideline leading to a Saquon Barkley touchdown.
Unfortunately for New York, the second half was not as friendly. The third quarter was the beginning of the end for the Giants as they totaled 47 yards in this period and had a costly turnover on downs which allowed Dallas to go up eight points.
The offensive line woes continued as in the second half Daniel Jones was constantly pressured and sacked twice by Micah Parsons. Rushing lanes were hard to come by for Barkley throughout the whole game as he had his second straight game rushing under 40 yards.
The Giants simply lack playmakers outside of the Penn State alum allowing defenses to stack boxes and forcing Jones and his lackluster receivers to win games. So far, this has not been a recipe for success.
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The Giants’ defense started off hot. They forced one turnover on downs and two interceptions all while allowing only one touchdown. However, everything went downhill for Big Blue after that.
They dominated the line of scrimmage and had three straight touchdown drives. This success started with the Dallas rushing attack which totaled 169 yards and two touchdowns on 4.3 yards per carry. This allowed the play-action and tight-end passes to open up more in the second half resulting in a big second-half passing game for Dallas.
After throwing zero touchdowns and two interceptions in the first half, Dak Prescott came to life in the second half and it was over for New York. He was dealing in the second half and most of the plays went to tight ends or CeeDee Lamb.
Lamb was absolutely dominating Darnay Holmes (showing how paper thin the Giants’ secondary is) as he totaled 106 yards on six receptions. As for the tight ends, the Giants seem to never be able to stop this Dallas positional group as they totaled seven catches, 88 yards, and two touchdowns.
What did not help was the Giants once again failed to convert on generated quarterback pressure. Despite recording nine QB hits, New York did not record one sack. Allowing Prescott to sit back and pass with the weapons he has against a depleted secondary is not a formula for winning and that was shown on Thursday.
Special Teams: A
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This positional group gets a high grade on the back of a record performance from Graham Gano. Gano did what he normally does by making both of his extra points and field goals. However, what does not normally happen is tying the longest field goal (57 yards) in Giants’ history.
The rest of the positional group performed up to par as Jamie Gillan averaged 48.3 yards per punt while having one touchback and one land inside the 20-yard line. In the punt return game, Richie James returned one attempt for three yards.
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In a game where the Giants were heavy underdogs, Brian Daboll had his troops ready to fight. The Giants were up 13-7 going into the half as they were playing some of their best football of the season. However, the combination of the injuries, the away game crowd, and the Cowboys’ Super Bowl-level talent were simply too much to handle in the second half.
Daboll needed to make better halftime adjustments to keep the Giants in this game and the decision to go for it on fourth down in the third quarter will come under scrutiny. Nevertheless, while a loss is a loss, it certainly was not a game that went in Daboll’s favor with the short week and injuries that the Giants were facing.
Mike Kafka had a solid first half gameplan where he was rolling Jones out right having him attack the sidelines and the middle of the field. This worked to allow the Giants to score 13 points through two quarters. However, Dallas made second-half adjustments and the Giants did not.
It seems that Kafka has not been able to recreate the rushing success that the Giants’ had earlier in the season and that has been a detriment to the offense. He will desperately need to get Barkley going against the Commanders.
Wink Martindale’s defense simply ran out of gas. They were playing out of their minds in the first half coming up with two interceptions after the injuries to that defensive backfield. They were forcing pressure but it is not Martindale’s fault that the players were not able to convert them to sacks.
The run defense, however, continues to be a problem for Martindale and this will need to be resolved as they play Jonathan Taylor, Dalvin Cook, and Jalen Hurts in the second half of this season.