Jobu reviews the Giants’ loss to the Cowboys and laments what is probably the end of their playoff hopes.
I think I’d feel a lot better if the Giants were 0-11. When they started 0-6, we kind of gave up as a fan base, and started just trying to find ways to enjoy the games. At first, we wanted to just win one. When we got that, then it became about getting revenge on the Eagles. When we achieved that, it became all about making sure we didn’t lose to the terrible Raiders. All of a sudden, we were only a couple games back, with a game against the injury depleted Packers. Once we beat them, the hope was fully back. The division, somehow, was still in reach, with a big home game coming up against Dallas. The new goal was reaching .500… That all died on Sunday afternoon.
Death by Turnover
The Giants only had one turnover during this game, and it was what basically did them in. Early on in the first quarter, Victor Cruz caught a short pass from Eli near the sidelines. He was basically held up and mugged by the Dallas defense (completely legally, they just wouldn’t let him go down), and the ball was stripped out and returned for a touchdown to put the Giants in a 7-0 hole. Without that TD, Dallas doesn’t win that game.
However, that wasn’t the only thing that helped the Giants give this game away. Twice in the first half they had drives stall near the goal line. They had to settle for just six points out of those drives. Even one TD in that situation, and the Giants win that game. The worst was the run play on 3rd and goal from the 10. What the hell kind of play call was that? Was Kevin Gillbride on drugs? Did Eli see something he didn’t like in the defense and audible (after taking a bunch of drugs)? The Giants basically ran the ball up and down the field at will, and kept coming out of possessions with nothing to really show for it.
Andre Brown was brilliant again, rushing for 127 yards on just 21 carries, while Brandon Jacobs chipped in 9 carries for 75 yards of his own. For those of you with degrees in math, that’s 202 yards combined on the ground for the Giants. When’s the last time you remember the Giants rushing for over 200 yards in a game and losing?
Eli actually did alright on his own, completing 16/30 for 174 yards and two scores. Nothing to write home about, but at least he didn’t throw any interceptions. He even led them on a big fourth quarter drive to tie the game on a TD pass to Louis Murphy. The Giants even converted a 2-point conversion for that tie! All in all, the Giants just needed a little more gumption when it mattered most, and they would have won the game. It’s a real shame.
Stupid Penalties Ruin A Good Game
The Giants defense actually played pretty well in this one. They allowed two passing touchdowns, which were the first two passing TDs they’d allowed since the game against the Bears in Week 6, and they also allowed the Cowboys to run for 104 yards on just 20 carries, but 14 points in a game is not bad at all. What was terrible was all the stupid penalties they managed to get called on them. At one point, late in the third, Mathias Kiwanuka got called for roughing the passer (although it was questionable). On the next play (the next play!), Antrel Rolle needlessly shoved DeMarco Murray out of bounds for another 15 yard personal foul. Those 30 yards kept the Cowboys drive going, and Tony Romo ended up throwing a 2-yard TD pass to Jason Witten to give the Cowboys a 21-6 lead at the time. If one of those penalties isn’t called (preferably the Rolle one), the Giants maybe don’t lose that game. The ‘Boys might have still scored that TD, but the couple of minutes they would have needed wouldn’t have made their last drive possible.
That’s my next disappointment. The Giants tied the game with 4:45 to go. Another big hold, and Eli would have had a chance to redeem himself with a game winning fourth quarter drive. Maybe he would have converted, and the Giants would be 5-6 right now. Instead, the defense pretty much let Romo traverse down the field at will, and the Cowboys ended up with the game winning field goal from Dan Bailey from 35 yards out. They say football is a game of inches, and they’re right. With just a couple of bounces here and there, we’d be one game back of the Eagles.
Why Should We Keep Watching?
Here’s the thing, my friends. You never know what’s going to happen. Sure, the Giants are now 4-7, 2 games back of both Dallas and Philadelphia, who are 6-5. Worse yet, they have lost two games to the Cowboys, who are also undefeated in the division, which means they need to end up with more wins than Dallas at the end of the year. The Giants basically can’t afford to lose any more games, unless something goes horribly wrong for the Eagles and Cowboys. Meanwhile, the Giants play the Redskins next, followed by the Chargers, the Seahawks, the Lions and the Redskins again. That’s not an easy road if they’re going to win out.
We should keep watching though, at least through one more loss (for those of you who aren’t super hard core fans). The Cowboys and Eagles aren’t that good. Tony Romo has a reputation as a bit of a choke artist, and Nick Foles and the Eagles can’t really be locked into the playoffs either. I think the Seattle game will be the one that decides if the Giants can accomplish the impossible. Assuming they get their acts together and get by the Redskins and the Chargers (who are coming off of a big win against the Chiefs), Seattle is going to be the make-or-break game.
My brother asked me this week how I thought the Giants would manage to make us get our hopes up again for the ultimate failure. I’m not sure how they’ll do it, but I’m fairly positive they’ll end up losing to the Redskins to close out the year in a win-and-you’re-in game. Has to be the way this season ends, right?
Keep watching, friends.
Featured image courtesy of: Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger
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