I won’t re-hash the whole game Notorious-Ohm has done a great job of capturing the five key factors that led to the Giants’ loss here:
My thoughts are this:
We desperately need depth at the centre of the D-line. By the end of the 3rd quarter the Defensive tackles looked done in.
The defence looked strong against the run in the first half and whiffed badly on a few plays in the second half – notably the 48 yard run that should have been a 4 yard loss. Murray evaded tackles by Kiwi and Tuck in the backfield, got some blockers and almost went the distance. The running style and broken tackles was what my friend Danny would describe as “slippery business”. The Giants need to wrap up on tackles and stay with the play.
For a deep and vaunted linebacking corps we looked slow at times flowing left and right against slant routes and slow later in the game to step up and plug the A & B gaps.
The secondary was already in tatters, Corey Webster (1st string) and Micheal Coe (4th string) starting on either side at cornerback. This often meant the 3rd receiver (Kevin Ogletree) was lined up against a special teamer or a Safety (usually Rolle) – as a result he had a big night. The situation got worse in the 3rd quarter when Coe went down with a hamstring injury meaning Justin Tryon would be matched up against Ogletree & Miles Austin (a huge mismatch which led to two key plays – a 34 yard TD to Austin on a first and 30 and a completion to lose out the game on a third and 10 to Ogletree). There was no excuse for Webster – who is our best corner- to miss badly on a 40 yard TD from a double move by Ogletree or a big play for 40 yards by Dez Bryant either.
The Pass Rush looked strong, but if you are banged up in the secondary the rush has no time to get home. Romo was looking for short slants and swings and connecting on them all night. In fairness to him he played a great game and was phenomenal at improvising when a play broke down and he escaped the pocket. We have to face Freeman, Newton and Vick in the next few weeks who are also excellent out of the pocket – this will be a real test of rush lane and assignment responsibility of the D-line.
Offensively we struggled and sputtered. The line needs to shore up in pass protection and get downhill and violent in run blocking. They didn’t open any holes for Bradshaw all night he was running into a wall of bodies all game long – they need to get more ‘push’
The pass game struggled a bit. Nicks looked rusty and maybe a tad slow in his first action since breaking his foot, Cruz looked distracted and made one key drops – he acknowledged it was a poor game for him – albeit he would have had a TD but for a non-call by the refs on a clear pass interference on a 3rd and goal. Domenik Hixon however looked strong and made the catch of the game in double coverage to set up a TD. If he had arms an inch or two longer then he’d have had a touch down of his own earlier in the game on a slightly over-thrown ball from Manning.
The run game struggled behind poor offensive line play and 1st round draft pick David Wilson fumbled on his second carry – a toss play on the Dallas 29 (within field goal range) it didn’t lead to Dallas points but it was critical. Wilson seemed to take it hard – this is good in one way: he cares about his mistakes, but he needs to have a short memory and not dwell on mistakes – just get out and correct them. He ruled himself out of the game with how he responded.
So the ‘champs’ came back to earth with a bump, they have 10 days to put it right before a home game against the Buccaneers. They need to win their next one as going 0-2 will put them well behind the 8-ball in a division with (what appears to be) a much improved Dallas team and a dangerous Redskins and Eagles in it. They have the toughest schedule in the league this year and they need to play with more intensity and less mistakes – most of all they badly need help at cornerback!
One last thing; the replacement referees looked shoddy and out of their depth – hopefully this situation gets sorted soon. Kiwanuka reportedly said ‘I haven’t been held this much since I was a baby’