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Giant Takeaways: Giants Lose Winnable Game Against Cowboys

The New York Giants losing streak now hits five games. New York fell to the NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys 37-18 on Monday night, live from MetLife Stadium.

Don’t let the score fool you, the Giants were very much in the game for three quarters. It was until the fourth quarter when the wheels truly began falling off. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott would find an inexcusably wide open Amari Cooper down the middle of the field for a 45-yard touchdown.

With the Giants down 30-18, they slowly but surely worked their way downfield. However, quarterback Daniel Jones’ case of “fumble-itis” returned, as he was blindsided by defensive end Dorance Armstrong. Jones coughed up the football, allowing Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis to take it to the house for the 63-yard touchdown with 25 second remaining. A truly painful way to end a painful game.

Here are some takeaways from yet another Giants loss.

That Cat

The Giants held a 9-3 lead at one point in the first half. Things were going smoothly….until a stray cat ran onto the field, interrupting game action.

Ever since the cat darted across the field, the Cowboys went on to outscore the Giants 34-9.

At least the cat got into the end zone…unlike the Giants.

Failure to Capitalize on Cowboys Blunders

There was perhaps no better way to start the game if you were the New York Giants. On the very first play of the game, Prescott threw an interception right into the waiting hands of safety Antoine Bethea, putting the Giants in scoring territory.

The end result? A field goal and three points.

Later on in the second quarter, Giants safety Jabrill Peppers forced Cowboys receiver Randall Cobb to fumble the ball after a huge hit, allowing Bethea to recover.

Field goal. Three points.

In the third, Daniel Jones scrambled for a 14-yard gain out of bounds, and were gift-wrapped an extra 14 yards on a taunting penalty from safety Xavier Woods, putting them in the red zone.

Field goal. Three points.

Those are three opportunities in which the Giants could have scored touchdowns. Instead of 21 points, New York settled for nine. Overall, the Giants had five red zone trips, and scored one touchdown, opting for field goals at the 2, 7, 8, and 10-yard lines.  Which leads us to our next takeaway.

Shurmur Coaching Scared

Each time the Giants entered the red zone, no matter how explosive and efficient they looked, they faltered at the goal line. The finger can be pointed at one person: head coach Pat Shurmur.

The play calling by Shurmur did nothing but further dig them into a hole. Unimaginative plays, such as running Barkley up the middle on first and second downs for measly yardage. That or opting for short pass attempts up the middle of the field when needing more than three yards to get the first down or score.

When he should be aggressive, he opts for a conservative approach. When the situation calls for a conservative play call, Shurmur chooses the gung-ho option.

More than anything, Shurmur showed he had zero faith in the offense by going for four field goals. That did nothing but instill confidence in the Cowboys in terms of getting back into the game, which they did.

In order for this offense to grow, especially in a lost season, there simply needs to be more assertiveness on Pat Shurmur’s part.

Danny Turnovers Returns

With each passing loss, Daniel Jones is further examined under the proverbial microscope. While he can throw through tight windows and rollout for a scramble, his one flaw keeps reemerging.

Turnovers.

In the closing minute of the first half, Jones threw two incomplete passes, before lobbing a deep throw to rookie Darius Slayton. Instead of hitting his fellow draft classmate, the football floated into the hands of safety Xavier Woods.

That would be Jones’ only interception of the game, but not his only turnover.

During the third quarter, Jones decided to go for the first down on a scramble on a third-and-six play. As he stretched out his hand for the marker, Woods forced the fumble, allowing former Giant Darian Thompson to recover.

Finally was the aforementioned fumble in the final 30 seconds of regulation.

In eight appearances this season, Jones has accounted for eight interceptions and eight fumbles. While turnovers are a given for a rookie signal caller, his propensity to loose control of the ball is one of major concern that he needs to address this upcoming offseason.

Solder and Remmers Create Disastrous Tackle Duo

If one thing truly benefits a rookie quarterback, it’s quality offensive tackles.

General manager Dave Gettleman paid big bucks for Nate Solder to protect Eli Manning and Jones’ blindsides, while opting against selecting a right tackle in a tackle-heavy NFL Draft in favor of Mike Remmers. The results, have not turned out the way that Gettleman wanted.

Solder was burned by a third-string defensive end in Armstrong on the strip-sack on Jones in the fourth quarter. Remmers, on the other hand was bullied by DeMarcus Lawrence and Michael Bennett on numerous occasions.

While the offensive line is better than the days of Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart occupying the line of scrimmage, they are still struggling in protecting the quarterback. Gettleman’s master plan is still a work in progress, and he needs to find a solution this offseason, especially with a boatload of cap space at his disposal.

Run Defense Still Ineffective

The Giants boast a plethora of defensive tackles, with the goal of stopping the run. Gettleman even made a splash move by acquiring Leonard Williams to bolster the defensive line.

Even with the addition of Williams, the Giants defensive line had no answers for Cowboys stud running back Ezekiel Elliott. You might as well have called Elliott “Moses” on Monday night, because the Giants defense parted like the Red Sea. On 23 carries, Elliott rushed for 139 yards, averaging 6.04 yards per run.

Elliott’s comments after the game only further add insult to injury.

“I mean that was the easiest 140 yards I ever gained,” Elliott said, via Todd Archer of ESPN. “I don’t really know if I broke a tackle. I just ran inside the scheme and those guys just mauled them up front. So I mean thanks to them for making it easy on me today. Gotta love the big fellas.”

The “big fellas” Elliott mentioned are his offensive linemen, who created holes for the running back, as well as protected Prescott in the pocket.

It just goes to show that no matter how many defensive tackles you throw at the line of scrimmage, it doesn’t mean you can stop a superstar rusher like Elliott.

What’s Next?

The New York Giants bring their 2-7 record on the “road,” as they face the 1-7  New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Like the Giants, the Jets are coming off an embarrassing loss to the tanking Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon. It’s a battle between two teams looking for “bragging rights,” with the spotlight focused on two head coaches that have failed to impress in Pat Shurmur and Adam Gase.

Get ready, because this game is going to be a doozy.

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Scott Rogust
General Editor and New York Giants Lead Writer.
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