New York Giants 41 (5-2) – Dallas Cowboys 35 (1-5)
by The Hack for BigBlueInteractive.com
Game Summary: And now, a Message…from the New York Giants:
“You know, we do things professionally up here in New York. We can’t help it. Resiliency runs deep in the heart of EVERY Giant. We also know, that professional is always better than bigger. And so far this season, we’re on our way to getting it done. It’s ALWAYS time to focus on the little things. The details that WILL…not CAN…mean the difference between victory and defeat. And…AS ALWAYS…that’s just what we’re going to do.
“In a great new stadium, before the greatest fans ever, the Giants will continue to carry on a legacy built on the humility of tremendous ownership and players that are larger than life.
“Another battle between bitter rivals, and once again, arrogance humbled. All this on Monday Night. It doesn’t get any more professional than that.”
Stick it in your ear, Jerrah!
Finally, the New York Giants are in to their divisional schedule. First up, the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas. This was absolutely the perfect scenario going in to the bye week, provided they would win: Take care of business and bury the Cowboys deep in the cellar of the NFC East division, then enjoy a well deserved rest before coming back for the stretch run.
It worked out perfectly. After spotting the Cowboys a 10 point lead and later allowing them to extend it to 13 when the Giants allowed a 93 yard punt return for a touchdown, New York settled down and scored 17 late second half points to claim a lead they would never relinquish going in to halftime.
Now, going into the bye, the Giants are on a 4 game winning streak, hold 1st place in the NFC East, and are currently the #1 seed in the NFC.
If you were unaware of the score and only had the stat sheet to go by at halftime, you’d swear the Giants were up by a few touchdowns.
The Giants ran 40 plays making 15 1st downs, rushed for 105 yards on just 18 carries (5.8 ypc avg), passed for 167 yards, converted 3 of 3 opportunities in the Green Zone and held the ball for nearly 20 minutes.
Dallas ran just 22 plays making 5 1st downs, rushed for 36 yards on 10 carries (3.6 ypc avg), passed for just 39 yards net, converted 1 of 2 opportunities in the Green Zone and held the ball for just over 10 minutes.
There were several reasons the score was close at halftime, and again close at the end of the game. Concentrating on the first half, the Giants made a litany of errors while Dallas pumped in a few brain cramps as well:
- The Giants committed three turnovers. The first were interceptions on their first 2 drives, and each set the Cowboys up with a 1st and 10 inside the Green Zone. The Cowboys converted the first into a short touchdown pass and the second into a short field goal. The third turnover was a Brandon Jacobs fumble that was also converted into a field goal by Dallas.
- The turnovers created a huge starting field position advantage for Dallas in the first half, with their average drive starting position being the Giants 48, while the average for the Giants was their own 27.
- Dallas was unable to convert a golden opportunity in the Green Zone into a touchdown following New York’s second interception just minutes into the game.
- After a booming 69 yard Matt Dodge punt to the Dallas 7 yard line, the shoddy New York coverage team allowed a 93 yard touchdown return to WR/PR Dez Bryant.
- Miles Austin dropped a sure touchdown that would’ve widened the 10 point lead to 14.
- With a chance to stop the bleeding and possibly re-take the lead on the last drive of the half, Dallas’ Jason Witten committed an uncharacteristic fumble.
- On the final drive of the half, Eli Manning missed a wide open Steve Smith in the endzone that would’ve been a sure touchdown provided a better throw.
At first it seemed truly hard to believe that the Giants were down 10 – 0 after just 6 minutes elapsed and then 20 – 7 with just 20 minutes gone yet were able to take the lead before halftime. After a closer look, however, it was pretty easy to see why.
Though the Cowboys had 20 points at that point in the game, the Cowboys never put any sort of meaningful drive together at any point in the first half. The first Dallas touchdown was a 2 play drive that covered 5 yards. Their second drive was just 6 plays covering 10 yards resulting in a short field goal. On their third drive, again starting with good field position at their own 40 yard line, Dallas stalled after 5 plays and 21 yards at the New York 39.
The 39 yard line is a sort of no man’s land area where the decision to punt, go for it, or attempt a long field goal is generally decided by how the game is going . It may not have seemed pivotal at the time, but Dallas elected not to attempt a long field goal or attempt to convert the 4th and 3. At this point in the game, Dallas was up 10 – 7 and another Dallas touchdown could have killed the Giants’ psyche. As it turned out, Dallas downed the ball on the Giants’ 1 yard line but an astute challenge by the Giants coaching staff identified the gunner who downed it also was the first person to touch the ball after being legally chucked out of bounds. That resulted in a touchback, and just a net 19 yard field position change. Again, maybe it’s a little subtle, but at home with the Giants offense reeling a bit, it may have been worth trying to pick up the 3 yards needed for a 1st down.
On the next Dallas drive, once again gift wrapped by a Giants turnover and starting field position on the Giants 43, they moved just 20 yards on 5 plays and converted another short field goal. After that, the Cowboys had the long punt return for a touchdown and then did absolutely nothing on their final two drives of the half except turn the ball over on a fumble and giving the Giants the opportunity to get 3 of the turnover points back.
The Giants caught fire with about 10 minutes left in the second quarter, and burned so hot for a stretch through to the 4th quarter that they almost flamed out, allowing the Cowboys to narrow an 18 point lead to just 6 over the last 4 minutes of the game. How, you ask? Again, it was turnovers that nearly killed the Giants as they committed two more late in the game. The final one, another bad decision interception by Manning, kept embers that were nearly out burning for the Cowboys.
Overall, the Giants dominated the stats as they ran up nearly 500 total yards of offense to just 254 for the Cowboys. They held the Cowboys to 0-10 on 3rd downs, the second time this year they did not allow an opponent to convert a 3rd down.
Offense: The Giants’ offense was an enigma on Monday night. At times they appeared to be the most inept group in the league, and at others looked like the greatest offense that ever played.
The Giants had sixteen drives on Monday night, and only 4 were over 5 plays long (2 six play drives, 1 seven play drive and 1 eleven play drive). The Giants scored on 7 drives and turned the ball over on 5 drives. Mix in 3 punts and a kneel down drive and you can see the Giants were pretty much all hit or all miss the entire night. 3 of the turnovers gave Dallas field position in the Green Zone, and another was in Giants territory. The offense turned the ball over on 3 of their first 4 drives and 2 of their last 3. In between, they nearly scored at will, and did over 5 straight possessions bridging the 2nd and 3rd quarters. All in all, the Giants offensive mistakes set up the Dallas offense, converting them into 21 total points.
The Giants now have the overall number 2 offense in the league, number 1 overall in the NFC. They’re also number 4 in rushing n the NFL, and again number 1 in the NFC. The Giants attack was once again a model of balance as they attempted to pass 36 times and ran the ball 37 times. Interestingly, the Giants came out firing, passing on 5 of their first 7 snaps. After 2 quick interceptions, and getting down 20-7, the Giants did not panic and kept at the run while hammering away at the Dallas lead.
The Giants have got to tighten up with ball protection. They’ve now turned the ball over 21 times in just 7 games. This game easily could have gone the way of the Titan’s game had the offense not pulled together. At the moment, there are 13 teams with a turnover differential of -2 or worse (Giants are -5), and of them, only the Giants, Saints (also at -5) and Ravens (-2) have winning records.
The Quarterback: Once again, we saw one of the best QB’s in the game literally pick apart a very good defense for most of the game and then throw a baffling interception. The first two interceptions were iffy. While some people will make the argument that he threw the ball too high, others will point to the fact that the receivers got their hands on the ball so therefore should have caught them. Interestingly, Dallas also had several errant balls tipped by their receivers, yet every one fluttered harmlessly to the ground. It truly is uncanny how many tipped balls are going for interceptions. By my count, that’s at least 6 and possibly 7 balls that could’ve been caught but instead became turnovers.
The third interception, however, is a different story. With just 3:35 to go in the game coming out of a time out on a 3rd and 5 from the Dallas 47 yard line and an 18 point lead, Manning threw a horrible pass into the flat for Bear Pascoe that never had a chance to succeed. Keith Brooking intercepted the ball and returned it to the Giants’ 15 yard line, where Dallas began their desperate comeback. The pass was unnecessary. At that point, the only way the Cowboys could get back into the game was by the Giants committing turnovers. Eli knows better than to throw that ball in that situation.
Manning’s numbers, other than the 3 interceptions, were exceptional. Eli was 25 – 35 (71.4% completion rate) for 306 yards and 4 touchdowns. Even with the 3 interceptions, Eli’s QBR was 100.4. Eli is ranked 6th in the NFL in passing yards (1,785), 5th in the league in completion percentage (65.7), tied for 1st in touchdowns (14), 14th in the league in QBR (88.3), and 1st in the league in interceptions (11). At one point in a stretch spanning the 2nd and 3rd quarters, Eli completed 19 of 22 passes.
Manning attacked the Cowboys down the field on Monday night, throwing 30 of his 35 attempts to his wide outs. Even his attempt to TE Travis Beckum was on a play where Beckum was lined up wide to Eli’s left.
There was a discussion in The Corner Forum early this week on whether Eli Manning was an elite QB. Defining “elite” is not an easy endeavor. Manning has all the tools and the intangibles to be one of the best QBs in the league. If not for a handful of passes that have been tipped for interceptions, Eli’s QBR would be significantly higher, placing him at least statistically in the top 5 in all major categories this season.
Corner Forum contributor “Wellington” noted in one of his posts,
“Let’s put it this way he completed 25 of 35 pass attempts and threw 3 picks. One pick hit Brooking right in the numbers, the other picks were way off target passes to the receivers both times those receivers were bracketed in/out by defenders (whether on purpose or not) with a safety behind them. His second incompletion was a ball that hit Terrence Newman in the hands. Two more incompletions were play action fakes in which he went deep downfield against double coverage – one to Nicks which was expertly played by Jenkins, the other to Smith which he couldn’t come down with. He did come down with one later on but it was an amazing play on his part.
Those are not balls that get away from the guy, those are bad decisions. He should be past this (stuff). He’s also been wildly inaccurate to start games. Couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn against Chicago and Indy.
If he eliminates the bad decisions, he is a top 5 QB in the league for sure.”
I believe there is a lot of merit to that statement. Eli does seem to start a lot of games cold and then go on a hot streak. On the one play noted above, the deep ball to Nicks into double coverage, Manning had a 1st and 15 at his own 24 following a false start on Shawn Andrews. It appeared he simply took a chance, and considering Dallas’ secondary was in disarray due to injuries, it wasn’t necessarily a bad decision.
Eli is a risk taker. As such, there will be those head scratching throws from time to time. The thing is, Manning probably couldn’t care much less about his personal stats, as his only goal is to win. And there is no mistaking that Eli is a winner. Another facet to Eli’s game that sometimes gets overlooked is his ability to manage the line of scrimmage and the way he sets his protections and reads defenses to put the team in an optimal position to win the current play. I’m sure BBI remembers the days when Eli did not have the autonomy to change a play at the line. Tiki Barber mentioned that they knew plays were doomed to fail the second they saw the defensive alignment because there was nothing they could do to change the play. Now, Eli not only effectively reads the defense and changes the play, he’s got the rest of the team understanding what he’s trying to do and executing with him. That is an elite function.
The Running Backs: HB Ahmad Bradshaw is the leading rusher in the NFL. Following a slow start, Bradshaw ended up with 126 yards on 24 carries (a 5.3 ypc avg). More and more, Bradshaw is looking like Tiki Barber in his prime, but with more power and then uncanny ability to consistently fall forward for positive yardage out of what look like sure losses. Granted, the offensive line is really helping the Giants running statistics right now, but Bradshaw’s ability to repeatedly make something out of nothing is really helping as well. Currently Bradshaw leads the league with runs of 20 yards or more with 10. The two backs roundly considered the best in the NFL, Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson, have just 3 and 5 respectively.
One thing that bears watching with Bradshaw is his workload. Last season, Bradshaw rushed the ball 163 times, an average of just under 11 times per game, for 778 yards. This season, Bradshaw is on pace for 306 carries and more than 1,600 yards. That’s a gigantic increase, but game by game it’s basically 8 touches per game. Bradshaw is running hard and seems to be in tip top condition going in to the bye. There is no obvious reason at this time to think he won’t be able to continue at this pace.
Brandon Jacobs also had a very good night, gashing the Dallas defense for 75 yards on just 12 carries (6.3 ypc avg) and a 30 yard touchdown. It seemed that the tenor of the game changed a bit when Jacobs entered the game and began battering the defense. At the time of his fumble, which followed 2 rushes up the middle for 9 and then 8 yards, one got the feeling that the game had changed in New York’s favor and it was a matter of time before the Dallas defense would be worn out completely by the combination of trying to chase down Bradshaw and absorb the hits from Brandon Jacobs. Unfortunately, there was the fumble.
On his touchdown run, Jacobs had nowhere to go inside where the play was designed, so he bounced it off tackle and took it 30 yards down the sidelines for the touchdown. It’s interesting that there has been no complaining in The Corner Forum about Jacobs going east and west on that particular play!
The only problem with the running game is the continued fumbling. Jacobs had one at a critical time when the Giants were trying to claw back in to the game, and Bradshaw had one with 6 minutes left in the game as the Giants were trying to run out the clock. The backs have got to hold on to the ball.
Bear Pascoe continues to shine at the fullback position. Much like the road grader he was against Detroit, he managed to get to the second level and take LB Keith Brooking for a ride on several occasions. On the opening drive of the third quarter, three times he obliterated Brooking. On Jacobs’ 30 yard TD run, Cowboys DE Stephen Bowen beat David Diehl to the inside, forcing Pascoe to amend his block and pick him up. That shut down the counter hole that Jacobs was looking for on that side, but saved a tackle in the backfield and allowed Jacobs to bounce it outside and take it for a TD. A very heady play by Pascoe.
Incidentally, two of the hardest tackles of the night were made by Bradshaw on Terrance Newman following his interception and by Jacobs when he body slammed Keith Brooking following his interception.
The Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: The Giants’ receivers were active early and often in this game. The big three of Manningham, Smith and Nicks were targeted 29 times on Monday night. While Hakeem is getting the accolades after another multi touchdown performance (targeted 14 times, 9 catches for 108 yards and 2 TDs), really the star was Steve Smith, who had a stellar game in the middle of the field. Smith caught 9 of 11 passes thrown his way for 101 yards and 1 TD. Smith’s 32 yard catch over the middle in double coverage when he managed to out-leap the defenders and come down with the catch was an extremely key play in the game. At the time, the Giants were down 20 – 7. The play invigorated the offense and got Manning going on his hot streak as they completed the drive for their second touchdown of the night.
Both Manningham and Nicks once again displayed incredible toe-tapping ability on the sidelines with seemingly impossible catches that kept drives going. Manningham caught 3 passes for 40 yards and a touchdown in which he made an incredible move between two defenders to get into the end zone. One thing to keep an eye on as the season goes forward is whether Nicks learns to carry the ball against his body. Too often he holds the ball like the proverbial “Loaf of Bread”, and sooner or later he’s going to lose one. That should be an area of concern and a coachable situation.
As much discussion that was given to how the Cowboys may have the best receiving corps in the business (with an overachieving Austin Miles, an underachieving Roy Williams, and rookie Dez Bryant), it sure appears that more attention should be given to the growing prowess of the Giants receiving corps. One intangible that is noticed often by BBI’ers but isn’t spoken of often by the talking heads is the outstanding downfield blocking and Z in blocking the Giants get from their wide receivers. Though young, all three are among the best in the league at this.
The tight ends, Travis Beckum and Kevin Boss, were not targeted much in this game as Eli elected to play outside the numbers and over the top while at times taking the crossing routes by the wide receivers. Shawn Andrews continues to excel in the running game as the second TE on both running and receiving plays.
Offensive Line: The Giants offensive line had arguably their best game of the year. Against one of the best defensive front sevens in the game, the line opened up holes seemingly at will, pulled to make pancake blocks in both the running and passing blocks, never let the Cowboys set the edge. In the passing game, the line gave up just 1 sack to DeMarcus Ware and company, and just two other QB hits (none by Ware) in 36 drop backs by Eli. C Shaun O’Hara, with occasional help from his guards, effectively neutralized All Pro NT Jay Ratliff all night long. Teams do not run up 500 total yards against Dallas. They do not run for 201 yards and a 5.4 ypc average.
Guards Chris Snee and Rich Suebert had stellar games leading the backs to the hole with exceptional blocks pulling both ways. Snee seemed to be in the Cowboys secondary all night. Additionally, the Giants WR screen plays worked to perfection due to them getting out and making the initial blocks to spring the receivers.
Enough can’t be said about how well Ts David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie performed against Ware, Marcus Spears, Igor Olshansky, and Anthony Spencer. They were, for 95% of the night, non factors in the pass rush.
Finally, how about Shawn Andrews playing the blocking TE? Honestly, there seems to be no reason whatsoever to move Pascoe back to that position when Hedgecock is ready to return. This is working, and there is no sane reason to change it.
Defense: The Giants defense saved this game. Yes, the Giants gave up 35 points but if you look closer, it wasn’t the defenses fault. First, the defense only gave up 28 points, as the special teams accounted for giving up 7. Second, the defense twice held the Cowboys to 2 field goals after they were set up in Giants territory following turnovers. Finally, 2 of Dallas’ touchdown ‘drives’ started at the Giants 5 and 15 respectively. In between, the defense forced two turnovers and 6 consecutive 3 and outs by Dallas. On the night, Dallas had only 2 sustained drives, one of 11 plays and the other of 8 and both came in garbage time.
Statistically, the Giants now have the number 2 defense in the NFL, number 1 in the NFC. The Giants are number 3 in the NFL against the rush, giving up an average of 87 yards per game. They’re number 2 in the NFL against the pass, allowing 177 yards per game through the air. They’re 3rd in the league with 27 sacks. Though they’re in the middle of the pack with 7 interceptions, they lead the league in forced fumbles (15) and recovered fumbles (9).
Once again, the Giants’ standing game plan of stopping the run first was in full effect. While the Cowboys didn’t have to do much to earn the 20 first half points that they got, they had no chance at all during the other 4 drives in the half. The Cowboys gained just 36 yards rushing and only had 75 total yards and went 0-4 on 3rd down.
The 3rd quarter was total domination for the Giants defense. Dallas had 4 drives, all 3 and outs resulting in a punt, and gained just 12 yards. In fact, due to penalty, Dallas had a net of 2 yards in the entire quarter.
Front 7: The Giants have learned that they can rely on their front four to get significant pressure on the opposing QB. Though the Giants still send a variety of blitzes from the linebacker, safety and CB positions, on Monday night they mainly got after Tony Romo and Jon Kitna with their down linemen. They did LB Michael Boley more often than usual, and he ended up with a sack and 3 QB hits. The Giants ended up with 3 sacks on the night, but also had 7 QB hits.
The interior of the line, specifically Canty and Cofield, had outstanding nights. Canty had 3 tackles, all at the line of scrimmage while Cofield had 2 tackles, a sack, a pass defensed and 2 forced fumbles. The light is on; Cofield is playing superb football this season. Umenyiora, Tuck and Paul-Pierre all had solid games and provided constant pressure on the QB as well as keeping the Dallas backs from going wide at any point in the game, turning them in to the heat.
The linebacking corps, led by Michael Boley (4 tackles to go with his sack and 3 QB hits), effectively took primary target (targeted 13 times) TE Jason Witten out of the game. Although Witten had an early TD when Boley unwittingly released him into a void in the coverage and also had 9 catches for 95 yards, he was completely invisible on 3rd down. Containing Witten is priority number 2 after stopping the running game, and the Giants did a very good job of keeping him underneath the coverage for short gains. Taking away his longest gain of 24 yards, Witten averaged about 6 yards per catch.
Of 40 passing attempts, the Cowboys attempted to go to their wideouts only 21 times, completing just 7 of them for 92 yards. Much of that came late in the game, as well. That is all you need to know about the lack of time that the Cowboys QBs had to throw the ball. The front 7 did a magnificent job of getting the Cowboys to get rid of the ball.
Defensive Backs: As noted in the last paragraph, the Cowboys wideouts caught just 7 passes for a total of 92 yards. Not once did Terrell Thomas or Corey Webster allow themselves to get beaten deep, nor did they allow the extremely speedy Dallas receivers do anything with the ball after the catch. Thomas played a very physical game, which is exactly what he said he wanted to do in his interview posted on Giants.com last week. Thomas tied for the team lead with 6 tackles and also had a pass defensed.
As for Webster, during the game the crack announcing team (you, like me, could listen to them all day every day, can’t you?) delivered a statistic that opposing teams have only thrown against Webster 25 times, completing just 9 of them. Webster is a Pro Bowl caliber DB. He took Miles Austin completely out of the game (though Austin did drop 2 passes). Webster had just 2 tackles and 1 pass defensed, and you hardly heard his name called all game. Just how you like it.
The safeties continue to dominate play for the Giants. Antrel Rolle had another steady, solid game. Early on, he set a tone with a hard tackle on Jason Witten. Witten never saw Rolle coming as he crossed the middle, and that’s exactly the kind of situation where a receiver gets lit up by a defensive back. Instead of going for the kill shot, Rolle led with his shoulder and planted Witten legally, and hard. That’s leadership, folks. Rolle, a hard-nosed player who likes to attack the ball carrier with malice, considered the situation and the stakes and chose to be a team player and avoid a possible penalty, fine, or suspension. And, as mentioned, it was a hard tackle that set a tone. Soon after, Terrell Thomas had a similar hard tackle.
Deon Grant was the lucky recipient of a 10 yard sack on John Kitna by following a stunt by Barry Cofield. Kitna held the ball for seeming a minute before Grant got to him. He also did a great job of following up the play after his initial hit on Witten just before the half. He didn’t make the tackle, but got back up and into the play and when Barry Cofield forced a fumble, he was astute in picking up the loose ball despite the whistles blowing. That resulted in a fumble recovery following a booth initiated review, which led to 3 more Giants points before the half. The Giants are taught to jump on every loose ball, regardless of the whistle, and on that play it paid off. Grant has proven to be one hell of an offseason pickup. Thought to be a depth move, Grant has become an integral part of the defense.
Kenny Phillips was active as the free safety, keeping the Cowboys from exploiting the middle of the field.
Special Teams: Who was the player that donned Lawrence Tynes’ uniform and went out there kicking the hell out of the football? Tynes had a phenomenal night. Tynes was flawless on his 5 extra points, and also hit 2 FGs, a career long of 53 and another from 26 yards out. Amazingly, the 53 yarder came after making a 43 yarder that was called back for a hold right before the half.
If that wasn’t enough, how about the kickoffs? Tynes kicked off 8 times, reaching the end zone on 6 and causing 3 touchbacks. Yes, 6 kickoffs into the endzone…and 3 touchbacks…in the same game.
The kickoff return team also had a very solid night, holding the Cowboys to just one long return of 41 yards by Owusu-Ansah. Overall, on 5 returns, the Cowboys averaged just 19.2 yards. The best play of the night was a fake lateral by Dez Bryant after he brought the ball out of the endzone. Chase Blackburn didn’t buy the fake and planted Bryant at the 8 yard line.
Matt Dodge deserved better. His 69 yard punt against the right sideline at the Cowboys 3 yard line should have been covered rather easily. However, even though they effectively removed half the field from Bryant reserve WR Duke Calhoun (the gunner on that side) took a poor angle and no one else could get to the speedy Bryant before he was in the clear. Other than that, Dodge had just 2 other punts and both were wisely kicked out of bounds.
Darius Reynaud is not the answer as a return man for the Giants. Granted, the blocking isn’t exactly the best in the league but when you have 6 opportunities to return a kick and can’t crack anything longer than a 16 yard return, something’s got to change. As Corner Forum contributor DelBlue91 posted on Wednesday and as I’ve been reporting in these reviews since pre-season, the Giants are losing the battle of the ‘hidden’ yardage you gain or lose on Special Teams.
“We all know and see how bad our special teams have been this year, even though this past week Tynes and Dodge both took some nice steps forward in their respective kicking games. I wanted to see some numbers on return yardage and field position and here they are:
Average Kickoff Return Yardage- 17.5 yards (tied for last in the NFL with the Browns)
Average Punt Return Yardage- 5.9 yards (30th in the NFL)
These numbers I think (are) more important:
Average Starting Field Position for our Offense- 29.5 yard line (19th in the NFL)
Average Starting Field Position for our Defense- 34.3 yard line (30th in the NFL)
Our Net- -4.8 yards (30th in the NFL)
Just some statistics that I found interesting”
That’s pretty much the story. Two areas during a football game where you can change the balance of power are in special teams and in the turnover battle. Right now, the Giants are winning despite the great odds against doing so when you’re performing poorly in these areas.
Coaching: Tom Coughlin has lost this team. Fire him. The players have tuned him out. Fire him. He’s old and his methods are no longer effective. Fire him. Blah, blah, freakin’ blah…
HC Tom Coughlin deserves high praise for keeping his team poised and under control in a hostile environment against a desperate team after going down 20 – 7 in the first half. With everything that could go wrong going wrong, he settled the offense down and refused to abandon the running game. It was also nice to see him congratulate Matt Dodge on the sideline after his second punt, showing the kid he’s got confidence in him. Finally, how about the staff not only realizing that the first man to touch the punt that was downed on the 1 yard line did so illegally, but also realizing it was a challengeable play?
Another great defensive game plan from Perry Fewell, basically eliminated the Dallas running game along with their vertical passing game.
Offensive Player of the Game: Despite the three interceptions, Eli Manning deserves the nod for catching white hot fire in the second quarter of this game and leading the Giants to 31 unanswered points over an 18 minute period spanning the 2nd and 3rd quarters. As mentioned, at one point in that span Manning completed 18 of 21 passes.
Defensive Player of the Game: Barry Cofield and Chris Canty share the DPOG honors this week as the interior of the Giants line completely dominated and shut down the Dallas running game and also was able to get consistent pass rush. When those two play like they did on Monday night, opposing offenses will be completely 1 dimensional.