Having reached the playoffs in 2022, the Giants were hoping to build on last season. However, on Sunday night, it was the Dallas Cowboys who established themselves as a Super Bowl contender with a dominating display in wet conditions.
The Giants didn’t start too badly, as they drove down into the red zone on their first possession. However, the drive stalled after a bad snap by rookie center John Michael Schmitz and the ensuing field goal attempt was blocked and returned for the opening touchdown.
From there, things went from bad to worse as quarterback Daniel Jones was under constant pressure. Jones was sacked seven times overall and was held to just 104 passing yards, with two interceptions including a pick-six.
It was 26-0 by halftime and the Cowboys extended their lead to 33 on Tony Pollard’s second touchdown run of the game early in the third quarter. KaVontae Turpin’s touchdown run further extended the lead to 40 on the first drive of the fourth quarter before the Cowboys mercifully took their foot off the gas and rested most of their starters.
Here are the key takeaways…
– In his first game since signing his big contract extension during the offseason, things couldn’t have gone much worse for Jones, who didn’t complete a pass to a wide receiver until there was less than seven minutes left in the third. While he made some good plays with his legs on the opening drive, Dallas soon adjusted to this, and he struggled to find a way to handle their constant pressure.
– The pick-six wasn’t Jones’ fault, on that play Saquon Barkley had the ball in his hands, but it was jarred loose by a Trevon Diggs hit and popped up into the air right to DaRon Bland.
– The Giants are banking on right tackle Evan Neal to show some improvement this season, but he struggled to stay in front of his man from the outset with Dorance Armstrong beating him easily for a first half sack. Neal and right guard Mark Glowinski had issues all day picking up stunts as he also had an early holding penalty.
– This was one of those games where nothing seemed to go right for the Giants in any phase, including on special teams. The usually reliable Graham Gano even shanked a short field goal in the first half, after his first attempt had been blocked and returned for the opening score by Noah Igbinoghene.
– One bright spot was that the Giants’ rookie cornerbacks didn’t give up much in their first NFL action, although that was mainly because Dak Prescott didn’t need to take many downfield shots. Tre Hawkins gave up a big pass interference penalty and was schooled by CeeDee Lamb on a good route for an 18-yard gain early in the fourth quarter. Deonte Banks was removed from the game as he was suffering from cramps but did break up a pass in the end zone in the first half.
– In his first game with the Giants, linebacker Bobby Okereke was quiet with just two tackles in the first three quarters. He did force a fumble in the red zone, although this bounced right to a Dallas player, typifying the Giants’ luck on Sunday night.
– With four of their next five games on the road, the Giants will need to turn things around very quickly otherwise they risk falling out of the race very early in the season.
The Giants try to get their season back on track as they head out on the road to face the 0-1 Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Sep. 17 at 4:05 p.m.