QB Eli Manning evaluates Giants' offensive performance vs. Cowboys

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By the numbers, the Giants showed up on offense despite Sunday's 35-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas -- just not everywhere.

Big Blue racked up 470 total yards, 319 of which came through the air and 306 from Eli Manning, who completed 30 of 44 passes (68.2 percent) and threw a one-yard touchdown to tight end Evan Engram with 8:11 left in the first quarter.

But the statistics were deceiving after New York put three scores on the board -- a garbage-time rushing touchdown by running back Wayne Gallman among them on a two-yard run with 2:54 left in the fourth quarter made no difference.

 

While the Giants were plagued by the defense's poor performance, which included 494 total yards -- 405 on the arm of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott -- the offense lacked execution.

Saquon Barkley picked up where he left off from his rookie season in 2018, taking 11 carries for 120 yards (10.9 average) and catching four passes for 19 yards, but the Giants otherwise relied on dink-and-dunk passing with the do-it-all running back's scampers mixed between.

Despite the offense's stagnant play, Manning believed the Giants provided promise when he looked back on his unit's performance from the 2019 season opener.

"I think it was kind of like we thought," Manning said during Monday's conference call. "We did a lot of good things, had some explosive plays, really good on first and second down, just not good enough on third down. Unfortunately, a couple of them that we didn't get were third-and-2s and third-and-1s -- those types of plays. Then some of the other ones, we got in too many third-and-11s and -12s and -13s -- especially in the second half. I thought we moved the ball -- probably the first six possessions that we had it, we moved it really well. Then after that kind of stalled out, got some penalties and did not play as well after that."

After the Giants' opening drive ended in Manning's touchdown to Engram -- set up by Barkley's 59-yard run on the second play -- the next two possessions ended in punts.

They settled for a 28-yard field goal with 11:02 left in the third quarter, squandering their first drive of the second half that stalled after 11 plays and 75 yards.

Head coach Pat Shurmur was blunt after the game Sunday about the Giants' all-around effort in all three facets against the Cowboys, who sent Big Blue back to New York with questions ahead of next week's home opener against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium.

"It's tough to measure after the first game, you have to always keep making improvements," Manning said. "Obviously, they played really well. Their offense seemed to be in rhythm, and I thought Dak played really well. They do good stuff defensively, I thought we moved the ball well, they had some good calls and played well in certain situations that kept us from scoring some points. I think they are obviously a good team and have played well the last couple of years and do some good things."