Nov 302013
 
Andre Brown, New York Giants (November 24, 2013)

Andre Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Dallas Cowboys 24 – New York Giants 21

Game Overview: This loss hurt. A victory would have thrust the Giants solidly back into the playoff hunt; a loss would effectively end their season. With everything on the line, the Giants came up short. Again. Being swept by the Dallas Cowboys, and losing to that team for the third time in the last four contests.

Fans and media can discuss and debate how a play here or there decided this game, as I will attempt to do in this column. But it would be a mistake for team management to think that the outcome of this season was simply a product of injuries and bad luck. For while luck can certainly affect the outcome of an entire season (see Tony Romo’s overthrow of Miles Austin in 2011), good teams usually make their own good fortune.

And no one should be under false pretenses. While this Giants-Cowboys game was a critically important game, it was a contest between two very imperfect, mediocre teams. It is highly unlikely the winner of this game – in this case the Dallas Cowboys – will go onto achieve playoff glory because both teams are seriously flawed.

Ultimately, the reason the Giants lost this game is the fact that they are not good enough. They are currently 1-3 in a bad division and 4-7 in watered-down League.

As for the specifics in this particular game, a closely-fought affair was ultimately decided by the following factors:

  • The Giants spotted the Cowboys a touchdown when WR Victor Cruz foolishly fought for extra yardage in a situation where he should have simply gone to the ground. It was the ninth return touchdown the Giants have given up in 11 games – three of them against Dallas.
  • The Giants were 1-of-3 (33 percent) in the red zone, being forced to settle for short field goals after facing 1st-and-goal from the 9-yard line and 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line. In a game decided by three points, those opportunities for another eight points loom large.
  • While I tend to shy away from criticizing play calling because I find such an exercise to be speculative at best and self-deceit for poor execution at worst, one does get the sense that the Giants should have stuck with a running game that accrued over 200 yards even more than they did. The Giants averaged 6.7 yards per carry and there were situations in the game where the Giants had gouged the Cowboys on a back-to-back runs only to go back to the pass. “We’re a balanced team. We play for balance,” said Tom Coughlin after the game.
  • Fans and media would not be criticizing that attempt for balance had those efforts been successful. Hindsight is easy after a loss but the Giants only managed to accrue 154 net yards passing against the NFL’s worst pass defense. The Giants only averaged 4.8 yards per pass play (in other words, the Giants averaged almost two more yards per run than pass). $21 million Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, and Rueben Randle could barely dent the League’s worst pass defense while castoffs Andre Brown and Brandon Jacobs ran wild.
  • Poor discipline. The Giants committed 11 penalties, including three personal foul penalties. And one of these erased a Cowboys’ turnover on a drive that ended with a Dallas touchdown. Also, while there is debate over whether the pre-game trash talking ultimately impacted the game or not, it certainly did not help. And it does reflect poorly on the organization and a team that had little reason to crow coming into this game. “They talked and they talked and they talked,” Dallas CB Orlando Scandrick said after shutting down Cruz. “I’ve never in my life heard a team that was 4-6 talk like that. We were 5-5, and we knew we had no room to talk…They have a great coach. I don’t have any earthly idea why he let them talk like that.” It’s hard to argue with Scandrick, who took care of business on the field.
  • Finally, while the defense held the Cowboys to just 17 points and 4-of-11 on third-down conversions, three of those third-down conversions came on the game-winning drive on the last possession of the game: a 19-yard gain to WR Dez Bryant on 3rd-and-7, an 8-yard gain by Bryant on 3rd-and-5, and a 13-yard gain by WR Cole Beasley on 3rd-and-10. With the game on the line, the defense came up short in crunch time.

So there you have it. If Cruz doesn’t hand the Cowboys seven points… if the Giants score on one more red zone opportunity… if the Giants ran the ball more… if the passing game wasn’t so impotent against the NFL’s worst pass defense… if the Dallas turnover isn’t erased by a personal foul penalty… if the defense had forced a punt or turnover on the last drive… if…if…if…

Not good enough.

Quarterback: 16-of-30 for 174 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. No killer mistakes. But not good enough. Not against this defense. Eli continues to force the ball to Victor Cruz, such as the failed 4th-and-6 play, when Cruz isn’t open. Eli didn’t lose this game, but did he do enough to win it?

Wide Receivers: Against this defense, a major disappointment. No one had more than three catches. Victor Cruz foolishly handed the Cowboys seven points and was invisible for most of the contest, struggling to get open against Orlando Scandrick. Cruz caught only two passes for 27 yards. Rueben Randle was targeted seven times, but only came down with three receptions for 64 yards.

Then there is the saga of Hakeem Nicks. Before the game, Nicks said he would play. After the game, Nicks said he could have played. But he didn’t…in the biggest game of the year…and he was missed. If Coughlin was trying to protect Nicks or punish him, he picked a bad spot. Jerrel Jernigan saw 33-of-62 offense snaps. He was thrown at seven times, but only caught two passes for 24 yards. Nicks was missed. Jernigan had a tremendous opportunity to make a statement and came up small, looking like another poor draft decision by Jerry Reese.

Louis Murphy made a nice adjustment on his 4-yard touchdown reception.

Running Backs: The irony is that the strength of the offensive football team in the biggest game of the season was a running back who has been waived/released eight times in his career and was coming off of a broken leg, and another whose knee is so bad he is having trouble playing back-to-back games. But Andre Brown (21 carries for a career-high 127 yards) and Brandon Jacobs (nine carries for 75 yards) ran roughshod over a Cowboys’ defense that seemed to want no part of them. FB John Conner abused Cowboys’ linebackers with his lead blocking.

Tight Ends: Brandon Myers had 56 offensive snaps, Bear Pascoe 17, Larry Donnell 1, and Adrien Robinson has yet to play in a game this season. Myers caught three passes for 39 yards, none bigger than his 27-yard touchdown on 4th-and-3 when two Cowboy defenders allowed him to get up and run into the end zone. I didn’t care for the play call on 1st-and-goal from the 9-yard line where the Giants, including Manning, flowed to the right and the Giants hoped to catch the Cowboys’ napping on a throw back to Myers on the left. I thought this was the wrong time to get cute. I also didn’t care for the formation where the Giants got stuffed on 3rd-and-1 in the fourth quarter. Instead of Myers being in a down position, tight to the right tackle, he had to attempt to block the linebacker, standing up, from a wider split. The linebacker shot past Myers to help disrupt the play.

Offensive Line: The offensive line did a reasonable job, especially considering the fact that OC Jim Cordle was forced to leave the game with a season-ending knee injury. Kevin Boothe shifted seamlessly to center and James Brewer was inserted into the lineup at left guard. The Giants rushed for over 200 yards. Eli was sacked twice and officially hit only three times. David Diehl, although he gave up a sack to DT Jason Hatcher, had probably his best game of the season and mauled the Cowboys on a number of short pulls to the weakside. Both tackles played well. James Brewer held up well, especially in pass protection. He did whiff on his man on the failed 3rd-and-1 attempt.

Defensive Line: It’s hard to be too hard on a defense that held the potentially explosive Cowboys’ offense to just 17 points. But the Giants played their worst run defense in weeks, allowing Cowboys running backs to gain 106 yards on 17 carries for 6.2 yards per carry. The defensive line did sack Tony Romo four times: two by Cullen Jenkins, one by Justin Tuck, and a shared sack between Mathias Kiwanuka and Linval Joseph. Kiwanuka’s roughing-the-passer penalty on Romo that erased a turnover was one of the deciding plays of the game. I’m sure everyone has their own opinion on the play, but I thought it was ticky-tack call.

Jason Pierre-Paul only played 27 snaps and was a non-factor as Tom Coughlin said his shoulder injury was clearly an issue. It’s that type of season for the Giants – just as JPP started to look like his old self against the Raiders, he hurts himself falling to the ground a play later and now seems destined to remain a non-factor for the remainder of the season.

The bulk of the snaps went to Kiwanuka (61), Tuck (59), Jenkins (43), and Joseph (42). Mike Patterson had 17 snaps, Johnathan Hankins 10, and Damontre Moore none.

Linebackers: Jon Beason (65 snaps, 4 tackles) picked the wrong time to have a quiet game. He missed some plays against the run and was victimized on occasion in the passing game by both Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray. Jacquian Williams tied for the most snap counts (65) but only had four tackles and no impact plays. Keith Rivers only had 17 snaps and one tackle. TE Jason Witten only had four catches for 37 yards, but two of those were for touchdowns. Witten had four touchdowns in two games against the Giants this season. Running backs DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar hurt the Giants with five pass receptions for 66 yards.

Defensive Backs: The defensive backs performed pretty well for most of the game. In the first half, the only wide receiver to gain any yards was Dez Bryant, who had three catches for 50 yards. The rest of the receptions were to the Witten, Murray, and Dunbar. S Antrel Rolle had a nice interception on a dropped pass by Bryant (Rolle’s fifth interception on the season). Witten did get free of Terrell Thomas on his 20-yard touchdown reception, however. Early in the third quarter, Thomas forced WR Cole Beasley to fumble. Will Hill recovered the loose ball, but the play was wiped out by Kiwanuka’s roughing-the-passer penalty. Two plays later, Rolle committed another borderline personal foul penalty, setting Dallas up on the 6-yard line. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-2, Witten scored to make the game 21-6. Dallas did nothing until the last drive of the game.

Thus, up until the last drive, the defensive backs really had done a very nice job on the Cowboys. But when CB Trumaine McBride (groin) left the game with an injury, the Giants moved Terrell Thomas outside from nickel back and moved Rolle to nickel. The Cowboys instantly began to attack Rolle with success, converting on three third-down situations and moving into easy field goal range. One wonders how the game might have gone had McBride not gotten hurt. C’est la vie.

Special Teams: The special teams unit performed very well against one of the best special teams units in the NFL. In windy conditions, Steve Weatherford had a 51.6-yard net average on five punts. That was the highest net average for a Giant with at least five punts since the NFL began tracking net average in 1976. He had punts of 68 and 67 yards. Josh Brown hit his two short field goals and Dallas was limited to 21.7 yards per kickoff return and 3.8 yards per punt return – well below Dallas’ averages.

Rueben Randle returned a punt 16 yards on his only opportunity. Michael Cox averaged 23.3 yards per return on three returns, including a long of 30. Jerrel Jernigan had one kickoff return for 15 yards.

In a nutshell, the Giants out-played the Cowboys on special teams.

(Boxscore – Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants, November 24, 2013)
Nov 292013
 
Kevin Gilbride, Eli Manning, New York Giants (September 8, 2013)

Kevin Gilbride and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

November 29, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Friday were DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), CB Trumaine McBride (groin), and RB Brandon Jacobs (knee). All three players have officially been ruled “out” of Sunday night’s game against the Washington Redskins.

“(Pierre-Paul) definitely was not himself last weekend,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin, “and there are obviously some things to deal with there from a standpoint of the injury, so he hasn’t been able to practice this week. There’s an injury and he’s dealing with it. He certainly was sore after the Packers game (two weeks ago) and he really had a tough week. It was a tough week for him. He tried to go. He wasn’t able to do the things he wanted to do and that carried over into this week.”

CB Terrell Thomas (knee) and CB Corey Webster (ankle) practiced on a limited basis. Thomas is “probable” for the game while Webster has been ruled “out.”

Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell was asked about being down two cornerbacks. “We’ll go with Jayron Hosley and we also have Charles James,” Fewell said. “They’ve practiced all week, so we’ll go that way.”

WR Hakeem Nicks (abdomen) practiced fully and is “probable” for the game.

November 29, 2013 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video clips of Friday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

Giants.com Q&A With Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Next man up by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

November 29, 2013 New York Giants Player Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Giants want Coughlin to lead them in 2014 by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks could have insured himself against injury (like Victor Cruz) — but didn’t by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Articles on the New York Giants Offensive Line:

Article on LB Jacquian Williams: New York Giants Linebacker Jacquian Williams Talks About His Progress by Patricia Traina of BleacherReport.com

Nov 282013
 
Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants (November 24, 2013)

Brandon Jacobs – © USA TODAY Sports Images

November 28, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Thursday were DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), CB Trumaine McBride (groin), and RB Brandon Jacobs (knee).

WR Hakeem Nicks (abdomen), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), and CB Corey Webster (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

Article on the 2013 New York Giants: Five Giants facing a critical stretch by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on QB Eli Manning: Time to prove Eli Manning’s status still warranted by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: Cruz: Getting Nicks back will boost passing game by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on DE Damontre Moore: Moore, Rookie Giants Pass Rusher, Finds It Hard to Break Through by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on CB Ross Weaver: Signed the day before Thanksgiving, Giants DB Ross Weaver goes from middle school to the NFL by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Nov 272013
 
Cullen Jenkins, New York Giants (November 24, 2013)

Cullen Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Sign CB Ross Weaver to Practice Squad: The Giants signed CB Ross Weaver to the Practice Squad on Wednesday.

November 27, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Wednesday were DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), CB Trumaine McBride (groin), and RB Brandon Jacobs (knee).

WR Hakeem Nicks (abdomen) and CB Corey Webster (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

November 27, 2013 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday press conference are available at Giants.com.

November 27, 2013 New York Giants Player Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Wednesday’s media sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the New York Giants Offense: How the Play-Calling Is Hindering New York Giants Offense by Patricia Traina of the BleacherReport.com

Articles on WR Hakeem Nicks:

Articles on the New York Giants Offensive Line:

Nov 272013
 
Jerry Reese and John Mara, New York Giants (October 6, 2013)

Jerry Reese and John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Approach to the Game – New York Giants at Washington Redskins, December 1, 2013: The New York Giants are not officially dead, but they are on life support. Their only chance to win the NFC East now is to run the table and hope the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles each lose three of their remaining five games.

I give the Giants’ coaching staff and players credit for not quitting despite the 0-6 start. They fought hard to get to 4-6 against some questionable competition to set up the most meaningful game of the season for them last Sunday against the Cowboys. But with everything on the line, the Giants came up short. There were swept by the Cowboys. We can only take away one thing from that fact: the Giants simply are not good enough.

Before we look at the problems, we need to compartmentalize the past. If the only highlights of the Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning era are the two Super Bowls, that era will be still considered a magnificent time in the team’s history. Two of the team’s eight NFL titles occurred on their watch. Years from now, fans will fondly remember the two unlikely and inspired playoff runs in 2007 and 2011. Nothing that happened before or since will ever erase that glory. Those teams did not win by accident or luck. They went 8-0 in the playoffs, defeated the NFC’s #1 and #2 seeds (twice) and the AFC’s #1 seed twice. Who will ever forget both NFC and NFL Championship Games?

But, the last thing team ownership and team management should do is delude themselves about the declining state of this team. And it is declining. The Giants have missed the playoffs four times in the last five seasons. The one exception was the 2011 team that just squeaked into the playoffs at 9-7. Since 2009, the Giants are 40-35 in the regular season despite playing in a terrible division in a watered-down NFL.

Who is to blame? Everyone. It’s not black-and-white issue. Jerry Reese and the front office have botched a number of drafts in a row and made a number of bad free agent and salary cap moves. The Giants are mediocre or subpar at just about every position, and particularly on the offensive line, at tight end, and linebacker. The running backs are ordinary at best. A lot has been invested on the defensive line and in the secondary, but due to age and injuries, production has not matched expectation. And most of the Giants’ impact players – Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, Hakeem Nicks – no longer play like impact players. The Giants have good defensive tackles, safeties, and Victor Cruz (and the latter helped to throw the away the Cowboy game). Eli Manning – who is taking up almost $21 million in cap space – is playing like a mediocre quarterback. He is not carrying the team like he did in 2011. Eli should be in his prime, but he has clearly gotten worse.

So you have an average talent base with an aging and injury-prone core, supposedly elite players who really are not, and only a trickle of new talent coming in. So why are we shocked?

I don’t think this is going to be a quick fix for the Giants and I think ownership and the front office will be terribly mistaken if they think it is. The Giants will only have six draft picks in the upcoming draft. You can only do so much in free agency. The team has to rebuild the offensive line, find a starting caliber tight end, probably replace Hakeem Nicks, figure out who their starting running back is, find another starting cornerback, address talent issues at linebacker, and figure out what they are going to do at defensive end. And on top of all of that, unless the figure out why Eli Manning has regressed since 2011, none of that may matter.

It’s easy and popular to blame the coaching staff – and they do deserve some of the blame – but fans need to realize that the lack of talent is the primary reason the team is struggling. You can’t really scheme around poor quarterback and offensive line play. There are not many coaches actively coaching in this game that have the skins on the wall that Tom Coughlin has. Sometimes we lose sight of that fact. As you look around at the other 32 teams and the coaching staffs on those teams, there really is not a lot to choose from. And roughly a third of them each year seem to be getting fired or on the verge of getting fired.

That said, there are legitimate questions surrounding the coaching staff. As BBI poster “blueblood” pointed out this week, have the message and messengers gotten stale? Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride have choreographed some of the most explosive and productive offenses in New York Giants’ history, but red flags continue pop up: inability of quarterback and receivers to get on the same page, red zone issues, predictability, stubbornness, and unwavering loyalty to veteran players who might be better replaced. To be frank, almost all coaches in the NFL face similar allegations from media and fans. But there is curiosity about how Eli Manning would perform in a more quarterback- and receiver-friendly system, and one that uses slightly more imagination. As Joey in VA points out, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has dramatically cut back on practice time. Perhaps the Giants’ offense is too complicated in this new NFL environment. There is also concern that the Giants’ competition – particularly within the division – has figured out how to defend the Coughlin/Gilbride offense. Coughlin is 67; Gilbride is 62. With age comes wisdom. But a fresh approach can stimulate and excite. Keep in mind, however, there is no guarantee that change will automatically lead to improvement. We sometimes have to be careful what we wish for.

On the defensive side of the ball, Perry Fewell’s defense has actually improved this year after two extremely poor regular seasons in a row. But there were suggestions again from players that the improvement came when Fewell simplified the defense. If that’s true, why does he continue to complicate it each offseason, especially when the CBA has dramatically cut back on practice time? There is a feeling that the Giants’ defense never out-smarts or out-schemes opponents for the easy sack. In tight games, Fewell seems to play scared and get too conservative. That all said, there is no denying the fact that Fewell’s star has risen with fans once he was given better players (i.e., at defensive tackle, middle linebacker, and safety)…once again suggesting that good players make coaches look good.

On special teams, Tom Quinn’s unit has been a chaotic mess all season and arguably the league’s worst.

I think the Giants are at a crossroads. Eli Manning probably has another good 5-6 years left in this league. Is he capable of reverting back to 2011 form, or was that his career year? That’s key question #1. If the cap-killing quarterback can revert back to form, the Giants need to quickly rebuild around him through the draft and free agency. Is this the right coaching to do so? This is key question #2. Will Coughlin still want to coach in three years? And relatedly, if the Giants make coordinator changes, do you want the 67-year old Coughlin, who has an inconsistent track record of picking good coordinators, making those decisions?

The Giants are a conservative organization. My guess is they retain Manning and Coughlin. And Coughlin retains his coordinators unless the organization forces Tom’s hand like it did after the 2006 season when they “encouraged” him to let go of John Hufnagel and Tim Lewis. If Coughlin and the coaching staff are retained, then the onus is even great on Jerry Reese and his staff to hit a home run in the draft and free agency. If they don’t, then we’re going to continue to see 7-9, 8-8, and 9-7 football or worse as the talent base continues to erode.

The Coughlin-Manning Super Bowls were not that long ago. But it’s time to stop living off of those laurels. It’s a bad division in watered-down NFL. The competition is not as tough as some would lead you to believe. A truly well-run organization with a good quarterback should be a perennial contender in this environment.

Nov 262013
 
Jim Cordle, New York Giants (September 30, 2012)

Jim Cordle – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Place Jim Cordle on Injured Reserve, Promote Stephen Goodin from Practice Squad: The New York Giants placed OC Jim Cordle on season-ending Injured Reserve on Tuesday. Cordle tore the patella tendon in his left knee in last Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. To fill Cordle’s roster spot, the Giants signed OG/OC Stephen Goodin from the Practice Squad.

Practice Squad Moves: The Giants signed OT Steven Baker to the Practice Squad. This is Baker’s third stint on the Giants’ Practice Squad this season. The Giants also terminated the Practice Squad contract of CB Brandon Jones, who the Giants had signed in early November.

DE Mathias Kiwanuka on ESPN Radio: The audio of Tuesday’s ESPN Radio interview with DE Mathias Kiwanuka is available at ESPN.com.

S Antrel Rolle on WFAN: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBSNewYork.com

Sights and Sounds from New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Cowboys game is available at Giants.com.

Article on the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys Game: Giants vs. Cowboys rewind: Was the offense too predictable? by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Notes: The Giants have allowed 32 touchdowns this season. Nine of those have been return touchdowns (three apiece on interception, fumble, and punt returns). The nine return touchdowns are the highest allowed in the NFL thus far this season. The Giants have given up at least one return touchdown in eight of their 11 games.

The Giants’ defense has allowed 23 touchdowns in 11 games. Only seven defenses have been scored on less frequently.

Nov 252013
 
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (November 24, 2013)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

November 25, 2013 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Monday press conference are available at Giants.com.

Injury Report – Pierre-Paul and Cordle Ailing: DE Jason Pierre-Paul did not play well against the Dallas Cowboys and apparently his injured shoulder is giving him problems. Pierre-Paul injured the shoulder three games ago against the Oakland Raiders. “I think there’s no doubt (his injury is) a factor, no doubt,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He’s been injured and he’s been playing injured, he’s been playing with it.”

Meanwhile, OC Jim Cordle has a partially-torn patellar tendon in his left knee. Further testing will be done on Thursday to determine the extent of the damage. “It’s potentially something I could deal with,” Cordle said. “The doctor is coming in Thursday to re-evaluate it. It really just depends on how it is then, based on how we go forward…It’s not that bad right now, but I guess it depends on who is going to look at it. It’s definitely damaged but probably after the season it would require some attention.”

There was no word on CB Trumaine McBride, who suffered a strained groin in the game on Sunday and was forced to leave the contest in the second half.

QB Eli Manning on WFAN: The audio of Monday’s WFAN interview with QB Eli Manning is available at CBSNewYork.com

New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Articles on the Giants-Cowboys Game:

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: Nicks’ injury isn’t a hernia, but confusion remains by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Nov 242013
 
Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys (November 24, 2013)

Cowboys Win on the Last Play – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Fall Short in Game, and Season: The Dallas Cowboys defeated the New York Giants 24-21 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants fall to 4-7 on the season (1-3 in the division). The Giants now trail both the 6-5 Cowboys (4-0 in the division) and 6-5 Eagles (3-2 in the division) with five games to play. In a nutshell, unless the Giants win their remaining games and the Cowboys and Eagles both collapse, the Giants are not going to make the playoffs for the second year in a row.

The game started off slowly for both teams as the Cowboys and Giants exchanged punts twice. On the second play of Dallas’ third possession, S Antrel Rolle intercepted QB Tony Romo at the Giants’ 21-yard line. However, three plays later, WR Victor Cruz fumbled the football after a short catch at midfield, and the loose ball was returned 50 yards for a touchdown by S Jeff Heath of the Cowboys. Dallas 7 – New York 0.

On New York’s fourth possession, the Giants drove the ball 74 yards in 10 plays, but were forced to settle for a 21-yard field goal after facing a 1st-and-goal situation at the 9-yard line. The Cowboys responded with a 5-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Romo to TE Jason Witten. Cowboys 14 – Giants 3.

The Giants’ offense moved the football well again, driving 65 yards in eight plays. But again, the drive stalled in the red zone. After facing a 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line, the Giants had to settle for yet another short field goal, this time from 23 yards out.

Neither team threatened in the last four possessions of the second quarter. At the half, Dallas led 14-6.

New York received the football to start the second half and drove from their own 34-yard line to the Dallas 35. However, QB Eli Manning’s pass to Cruz on 4th-and-6 ended the drive and the Giants turned the football over on downs. Dallas then took a commanding lead by drive 65 yards in 10 plays as Romo hit Witten again, this time from two yards out. Midway through the third quarter, the Cowboys led 21-6. That drive was kept alive when a roughing-the-passer penalty on DE Mathias Kiwanuka erased a fumble that was forced by CB Terrell Thomas and recovered by S Will Hill.

The Giants immediately cut into that 15-point advantage by driving 67 yards in six plays. On 4th-and-3 from the Cowboys’ 27-yard line, Manning for TE Brandon Myers for the score. Cowboys 21 – Giants 13.

On the Cowboys’ second possession of the half, they were forced to punt the ball away after crossing midfield near the end of the third quarter. The Giants then went three-and-out, the Cowboys punted after gaining one first down, the Giants went three-and-out again, and Dallas punted the ball away again.

With just under nine minutes to play, and trailing by eight points, New York drove 58 yards in eight plays, with Manning finding WR Louis Murphy for a 4-yard touchdown with just under five minutes to go. RB Andre Brown scored on the 2-point conversion and the game was tied at 21-21.

However, the dramatic comeback was ruined when the Cowboys ended the game with a 14-play, 64-yard drive that ended with a walk-off 35-yard field goal by Dallas with no time left on the clock. The Cowboys converted on three third-down situations on the drive.

Offensively, Manning finished the game 16-of-30 for 174 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. His leading receivers were RB Andre Brown (4 catches for 11 yards), WR Rueben Randle (3 catches for 64 yards), and TE Brandon Myers (three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown). The Giants rushed for 202 yards. Brown carried the ball 21 times for 127 yards and RB Brandon Jacobs carried the ball nine times for 75 yards.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 220 net yards passing and 107 net yards rushing. The Giants sacked Romo four times with sacks by DT Cullen Jenkins (twice), DE Justin Tuck (once), and a shared sack by DT Linval Joseph and DE Mathias Kiwanuka. The only forced turnover was Rolle’s interception.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at NFL.com.

Post-Game Injury Report: OC Jim Cordle injured his knee and left the game in the first half. It is not believed to be an ACL tear, but he will undergo an MRI exam. CB Trumaine McBride was forced to leave the game with a groin injury. DE Jason Pierre-Paul had x-rays taken on his injured shoulder after the game.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Post-Game Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s post-game press conference are available at Giants.com.

Player Post-Game Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of post-game media sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

New York Giants Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were QB Ryan Nassib, RB Peyton Hillis, WR Hakeem Nicks (abdomen), TE Adrien Robinson, OC Dallas Reynolds, DT Markus Kuhn, and CB Corey Webster (groin/ankle).

Both teams were flagged 11 time.

Dallas was 4-of-11 on third down, but three of those conversions came on their game-winning field goal drive.

Nov 242013
 
MetLife Stadium, New York Giants (November 10, 2013)

New York Giants Game Day – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Article on the 2013 New York Giants: Despite disastrous 0-6 start, NY Giants’ captains never scuttled the ship by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Article on Today’s New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys Game: Cruz says Giants have winning formula to beat Cowboys by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Article on the New York Giants Defense: New, improved Giants defense set for Dallas by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on the New York Giants Special Teams: Giants require special effort against Cowboys by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Tom Coughlin is reason NY Giants have meaningful game against Cowboys by Mike Lupica of The Daily News

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on RB Andre Brown: Brown hopes Giants backfield gets hot in the cold by Dan Martin of The New York Post

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Article on LB Spencer Paysinger: Spencer Paysinger always puts the team first by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Articles on New York Giants Cornerbacks:

Nov 222013
 
Andre Brown, New York Giants (November 17, 2013)

Andre Brown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

November 22, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report – Webster Out, Nicks and Jacobs Questionable: No one missed practice on Friday. DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), CB Trumaine McBride (hip), CB Corey Webster (groin/ankle), RB Brandon Jacobs (knee), FB Jon Conner (hip), and WR Hakeem Nicks (abdomen) practiced on a limited basis.

Webster has been officially ruled “out” of the game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Nicks and Jacobs are “questionable” and Pierre-Paul, Conner, Thomas, and McBride are “probable.”

November 22, 2013 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Friday media session are available at Giants.com

Giants.com Q&A With Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Confidence in team by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

November 22, 2013 New York Giants Player Media Sessions: Transcripts of Friday’s media sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the 2013 New York Giants: Giants can finally see the finish line by Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Tom Coughlin’s savvy approach keeps New York Giants steady by Judy Battista for NFL.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Aw-Shucks Leader Lifts Giants With a New Scowl by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on FB John Conner: A Look at John Conner and His Impact on the New York Giants’ Rushing Game by Patricia Traina of The Bleacher Report

Article on WR Rueben Randle: Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle is turning into a touchdown machine by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Jason Pierre-Paul talking a big game is a good thing for Giants by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Article on CB Prince Amukamara: Amukamara out to show he can be a lock-down corner by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Articles on the New York Giants Safeties: