Giant Takeaways: Giants Upset Bid Fails, as Cowboys Escape With Win
The New York Giants lost their “Super Bowl,” as they fell to the Dallas Cowboys 36-35 on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
New York was hoping to earn a victory on their season finale, and with a little over two minutes remaining in the game, it looked to be trending that way. However, just like in ever late Giants lead throughout the season, it ended in heartbreak for the team in “Big Blue.”
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott worked his way downfield, and in hopes of retaking the lead. It all ended on fourth down, as Prescott would complete a pass to wide receiver Cole Beasley in the back of the end zone. Officials originally ruled the catch out of bounds and a turnover on downs. However, after further review, it was determined that Beasley had his knee down inbounds, resulting in a touchdown. Instead of going for the tie, Prescott hit Michael Gallup for the successful two-point conversion.
The Giants were set up in great field position, thanks to the kick return from Cody Latimer. Yet, quarterback Eli Manning was unable to get the team within field goal range, as they went four-and-out to seal their 11th loss of the season.
Here are some takeaways from New York’s season finale:
Eli’s Giant Finale?
The talk all week surrounded Eli Manning, and whether Alex Tanney or Kyle Lauletta would receive some looks on Sunday. That wasn’t the case, as Manning played the entirety of the game, and for the most part, played decently.
Manning completed 24 of 41 pass attempts for 301 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and one fumble. The start to Manning’s day was a dreadful one, as he threw a pick into double coverage on the opening drive, then surrendering the ball thanks to Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. The second half proved to be a difference maker for Manning and the offense. He continued his strong rapport with tight end Evan Engram, who hauled in five passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. Besides Engram, Latimer had a breakout game with the Giants, as he had two clutch one-handed catches in the game.
Yet, everyone will be talking about the final drive, in which Manning could not hit any of his four targets, resulting in the loss.
If head coach Pat Shurmur has anything to say about it, he believes Manning still has plenty of good football left in him.
“Absolutely. I do,” said Shurmur. “I expect all the players to be back at this point. I think everybody thinks I’m nuts, but I’ve seen the good in Eli and I believe in the good, especially in the quarterback position. I believe everybody around him has to do their job as well. I certainly hear things, but I believe in him.”
Despite the praise from his coach, Manning is not sure what the future holds, and will wait to see what the organization wants to do next.
“We will figure it all out,” said Manning, as the football world should know more about his status following the conclusion of Super Bowl LIII.
Saquon Breaks Numerous Records
The rookie season Saquon Barkley has had has been nothing short of remarkable. Barkley showcased everything he brought to the table at Penn State, and translated it to perfection at the pro level.
Barkley rushed for 109 yards and a leaping goal-line touchdown on 17 carries, while catching four passes for 33 yards. As a result, the rookie broke numerous records.
On his second reception of the day, Barkley broke Reggie Bush’s reception record that was set back in 2006. By game’s end, Barkley notched 91 on the season, which ties the record set by teammate Odell Beckham Jr. back in 2014.
Barkley joined rather elite company on Sunday. He’s now the third rookie running back in NFL history to record over 2,000 scrimmage yards. Barkley accomplished the feat on his 68 yard run in the third quarter. Now, he sits in immortality alongside Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James.
Despite the work he put in to achieve these records, Barkley attributes his success to those who block for them. Whether that’s his offensive linemen or his tight ends. Without them, he wouldn’t have broken these records, in his mind.
“It doesn’t mean so much to me,” said Barkley. “Obviously I’m not going to lie to you, it’s an amazing feeling, it’s awesome to accomplish those things. That’s stuff that you dream about as a little kid, but you can’t do that by yourself. It’s a team thing. When you get a record of anything, it’s a team thing, so you definitely have to give credit to my offensive lineman, first and foremost, but also the quarterbacks, wide receivers and the coaching staff… And the tight ends.”
Fixing Defense Will Be Priority This Offseason
The main catalyst for the Giants’ loss was that the defense couldn’t stop Dallas’ offense.
New York’s defense has been riddled by injuries ever since the first day of training camp. Rookie Sam Beal suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during his first practice. Landon Collins tore his labrum back in Week 13. Add a concussed Alec Ogletree to the mix, and defensive coordinator James Bettcher had his hands full on Sunday.
The Giants surrendered 419 total yards on Sunday to the Cowboys, who were resting Ezekiel Elliott, Zack Martin, and Tyron Smith. Blake Jarwin looked like the second-coming of Jason Witten, as he scored three touchdowns in the game. His third score showcased how poorly the Giants have been defending the tight end position. After Jarwin’s reception, Curtis Riley looked to be lowering the shoulder for a hit, but instead decided to pull up, which allowed the tight end to run 39-yards for the score. As a result, Riley was benched for the remainder of the game.
Olivier Vernon would have his way with Prescott, albeit due to lining up against Dallas’ backup linemen. He would record 2.5 sacks and six quarterback hits in the game. Yet, it still wasn’t enough, as Prescott still completed 27 of his 44 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns.
While many believe the Giants most important area of need is the quarterback position, the defense needs equally as much attention, and best believe general manager Dave Gettleman is going to address it this offseason.
Pick Six for Giants
The moment “tanking fans” have been waiting for: the Giants’ official draft order.
New York holds the sixth overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. With Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert returning for his senior season, the Giants “Plan A” can be officially scratched off the board. Now, they will have to re-think their strategy heading into Nashville, Tenn. this April.
Will th Giants address the quarterback position with the likes of Dwayne Haskins, Daniel Jones, Drew Lock, or Will Grier? Or will they address the defense with the likes of tackle Ed Oliver or cornerback Byron Murphy?
If last year showed us anything, it’s that Gettleman will be secretive in his draft approach. Nobody will know the direction they take until commissioner Roger Goodell announces the selection.
Brace yourselves for a busy offseason for the 5-11 New York Football Giants.
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