Giants vs. Cowboys: Final Report Card, Player Grades for New York
For a second, it looked like Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys pulled off the impossible.
The speedy wide receiver appeared to have hauled in a game-winning 37-yard Hail Mary from quarterback Tony Romo, only to see it overturned by the spot of his hand landing in the New York Giants' endzone. The G-Men took six Cowboys turnovers and held off a 24-point second-half to win by a 29-24 mark Sunday.
The Giants improve to 4-0 all-time at Cowboys Stadium, and stand alone atop the NFC East at 6-2 after week 8. Dallas, meanwhile, is relegated to 3-4.
It certainly wasn't pretty, but New York escapes with a Texas-sized W. Check here for final report card grades for key Giants.
Eli Manning: C-
Sunday was Manning's obvious blemish on a stellar 2012. True, Eli's receivers failed to find separation in Dallas' lauded secondary, but Manning's reads and release were still way off.
Manning failed to reach the end-zone Sunday and at one point was 8-of-21 in passing. Aside from a 56 yard bomb to rookie Rueben Randle, Manning struggled to open up the vertical pass and never really found a rhythm.
Eli finishes 15-of-29 for 192 yards. True, his lone interception of the day can be chalked up to a huge hit from safety Gerald Sensabaugh, but this one was certainly underwhelming for the defending Super Bowl MVP.
Henry Hynoski: A+
Hynoski continues to plow through a monster season, delivering the lead block for Andre Brown's 2-yard touchdown run. Hynoski's able to reach the second level and overpower defenders with serious strength.
Andre Brown: A+
You can't ask for much more here. Brown took just 3 carries for 21 yards, and delivered the Giants' first touchdown of the game. With Ahmad Bradshaw putting out a lackluster Sunday, one has to wonder why Brown wasn't more involved in the Giants' backfield.
Ahmad Bradshaw: B
Bradshaw averaged 3.5 yards a carry with a busy workload Sunday. True, he didn't have many holes to work with, but Bradshaw still went down easier than usual in this one.
He failed to really reach the second level and find the open field, and he wasn't able to get a much-needed first down with three carries at the end of the fourth quarter.
Rueben Randle: A
Randle's 56-yard grab in the game's first series set the Giants up for an early 3 points. He finished the game with a team-high 68 receiving yards, and caught both of his targets.
Hakeem Nicks: C+
Nicks was held in check Sunday, blanketed largely by rookie corner Morris Claiborne. He finishes with 46 yards on four catches, but aside from a 29-yard gash, he had a very minimal impact on this one.
Domenik Hixon: C
The deep element of Hixon's game was off, and he finished with just 26 yards on three catches.
Victor Cruz: D
A surprise stinker from the Giants' most dynamic player.
Cruz saw a team-high 8 targets, but notched just 2 receptions for 23 yards. Cruz was out-muscled on in-routes and failed to really get position on Cowboys corner Brandon Carr. His disappearance really cost the GIants' offense in this one.
Bear Pascoe: A
Pascoe continues to be a game-changing blocker, delivering the stuff on LB DeMarcus Ware that lead to Randle's big play in the first. Pascoe's been keeping the pocket clean from the outside, and is one of New York's unsung heroes in 2012.
Martellus Bennett: B-
The explosiveness of Bennett's game has seemingly vanished. In his return to Dallas, Bennett caught four balls for just 29 yards.
Chris Snee: A
Snee continues to be one of Big Blue's best blockers. Snee's right side won out Sunday.
Sean Locklear: A-
Locklear was beat on the edge a few times, but remains to play at a high level. Locklear kept Dallas DE Kenyon Coleman locked up Sunday.
Will Beatty: B+
Beatty continues to be a surprising success, and churned out another solid game Sunday. He sprung Ahmad Bradshaw for a few of his longer runs in the fourth quarter.
David Baas: B-
Baas was pushed around by nose tackle Jay Ratliff Sunday, but paved the way for interior runs late in the game.
Kevin Boothe: B-
Boothe continues to struggle picking up linebacker blitzes, and failed to shift on DeMarcus Ware's only sack of the afternoon. Still, the Giants allowed just one sack all game.
Jason Pierre-Paul: A+
The undisputed MVP of the D-line Sunday, "J.P.P." took over Cowboys Stadium with his first career interception, taken for a touchdown in style.
Aside from his "pick six," Pierre-Paul contributed a sack, a pass deflection, and four total tackles. "J.P.P." had his way with Dallas tackle Tyron Smith Sunday.
Linval Joseph: A+
Joseph continues to build on his breakout season with two more sacks of Tony Romo Sunday. Joseph's ability to clog the middle and break the pocket is certainly earning praise around New York.
Chris Canty: A+
Canty was all over the field Sunday, tacking on his first sack of the season in his second game back from knee surgery.
Justin Tuck: D
Tuck couldn't crack the stat sheet in week 8, and was called for an offsides penalty in the fourth. After a big week 7, New York's defensive captain took a few steps backward this Sunday.
Keith Rivers: A+
Rivers was a huge fill-in for injured middle 'backer Chase Blackburn, and finished second on the team with 7 tackles.
Chase Blackburn: A
A hamstring injury hindered Blackburn Sunday, but the veteran 'backer still finished with 5 tackles and a QB hit. Blackburn continues to be one of New York's most aggressive defenders, and rattled Tony Romo on a crucial third down late in the second quarter.
Mathias Kiwanuka: A
While "Kiwi" failed to register a tackle Sunday, he came up with a big forced fumble on RB Felix Jones.
Michael Boley: D+
Boley was torched by TE Jason Witten all game, allowing a slew of big third-down catches. He does finish with 6 tackles and a quarterback hit, but his shoddy pass coverage nearly cost the Giants the ballgame.
Stevie Brown: A+
Brown enjoyed a phenomenal week 8, coming away with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Brown continues to get underneath routes and has a knack for jumping plays and creating opportunities. He also lead the Giants with 8 total tackles.
Corey Webster: B+
Webster came away with an interception and five tackles, but failed to contain the big pass. He was solely responsible for a 30-yard Dez Bryant reception in the second half.
Prince Amukamara: D+
It was a rough afternoon for the second-year corner. Prince was burned a few times by wideout Miles Austin, and was called for pass interference in the third quarter.
Antrel Rolle: D+
Rolle had just two tackles, and was nowhere to be seen over the top. The veteran safety continues to disappear as a center fielder.
Jayron Hosley: D
Hosley was called for three penalties in this one, including a defensive holding call that negated a Justin Tuck sack. The rookie DB was responsible for most of Miles Austin's busy stat line.
Lawrence Tynes: A+
Tynes was as reliable as ever Sunday, connecting on all 5 of his field goal attempts, 4 of which came from beyond 35 yards. The veteran kicker continues to boot long kickoffs as well.
Steve Weatherford: A+
Weatherford averaged over 47 yards a punt in a busy Sunday, maxing out at 59 yards. He pinned Dallas inside its own 20 on two occasions, and didn't have a touchback.
David Wilson: C
Wilson averaged just 21.5 yards a return, and failed to really make the impact he's capable of in this one.
Overall Game Grade: C-
The Giants were thoroughly outplayed beyond the first 20 minutes of game time, and Tom Coughlin and Co. failed to make necessary mid-game adjustments. With a struggling running game and an ineffective zone, play-calling become all the more standard, and it seems that the G-Men were too comfortable with their big lead.
A win's still a win, but this was far from assuring from Big Blue.
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