It’s hard not to wonder what might have been if only the New York Giants had played as good of a game as they talked leading up to their critical division showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who kicked off the chatter by declaring that the Giants would "put it on" the Cowboys, was virtually a non-factor in the game, coming up with just one tackle.
Safety Antrel Rolle, who backed up Pierre-Paul’s prediction that the game would be a blood bath, finished tied for first in total tackles with six.
However, when he moved to the slot cornerback spot due to injuries, he was one of the contributors who couldn’t stop the Cowboys’ game-winning drive.
Well, at least cornerback Terrell Thomas, who was indifferent about whether his declaration that “we’re gonna win this game” made the Cowboys’ bulletin board, played a solid game.
It didn’t matter, however, as the Giants’ season-long struggles in the red zone and on third down, and the defense’s struggles against a healthy NFL starting quarterback, were obstacles that they couldn’t overcome in a game that they desperately needed to win.
The loss drops the Giants to 4-7, and, even worse, gives the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Cowboys, who are also 4-0 against NFC East foes for the first time since 2007.
While the Giants are not mathematically out of the playoffs, it’s time to face facts. This team, as currently configured, is going nowhere this year.
Still, that’s a hard truth to swallow, as in the dejected Giants locker room, there were still embers of hope flickering, albeit in hushed tones.
“We’ve got five games left and we have to win every one. That’s the only way that will possibly give us a chance,” said quarterback Eli Manning during his postgame press conference.
“We don’t know if that’s going to be good enough, but that’s the only way.”