Today, the Cowboys beat the Giants and likely ended their chances of making the playoffs. Dallas clinched it in the final seconds on a 35-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.
Full game grades and analysis are below.
Dallas - 24
New York - 21
Game Analysis for the New York Giants
Pass Offense: The passing game was inconsistent, but Eli Manning came through in the game-tying fourth-quarter drive with a huge third-down conversion to Victor Cruz, who made an excellent catch in traffic over the middle. The touchdown two plays later to Louis Murphy was well executed by a scrambling Manning.
Also, a game without an interception from this unit deserves a pat on the back, given its issues in this area in 2013.
Run Offense: It is very rare for a team to rush for 200 yards and lose, but the Giants accomplished that feat today.
It wasn’t a perfect performance, though, since they were ineffective running the ball inside the red zone and Andre Brown failed to convert a short 3rd-and-1 on the Giants next-to-last drive of the game.
Pass Defense: As a whole, this unit wasn’t terrible but they failed miserably on the most important series of the season—Dallas’ game-winning field-goal drive.
They allowed the Cowboys to convert three first-down passes on 3rd-and-long situations and four first downs overall. The pass rush was nonexistent, even the one time they blitzed, and the coverage was soft.
Run Defense: It was a weak performance by a unit that had played well for most of the season. Poor tackling and a tendency to allow the Dallas running backs to go untouched until several yards past the line of scrimmage were the two biggest reasons why.
Special Teams: They didn’t have any big plays, but excellent work nonetheless by this unit. Steve Weatherford’s punting and the efforts by both coverage teams were particularly impressive.
Coaching: The coaching staff shouldn’t take any blame for the final drive since the defense simply didn’t execute. However, the Giants reverted to the sloppy and undisciplined play that defined their six-game losing streak. The 11 penalties, which included several of the 15-yard variety, were especially troubling.
|New York Giants Game Grades|
|Positional Unit||1st-Half Grade||Final Grade|
|vs. Cowboys Week 12|
First-Half Analysis for the New York Giants
Pass Offense: Victor Cruz’s fumble is the key play of the half and was a case of carelessness by the wide receiver. He was fighting for extra yardage short of a first down on a first-down play. Ball security is far more important than an extra yard or two in that scenario.
Run Offense: Today's was easily the best first-half effort by this unit all season. The backs accumulated over 100 yards rushing through consistent gains and long runs.
However, Andre Brown’s five-yard loss on first down from the 5-yard line during the Giants second goal-to-go drive hurt Big Blue in a critical situation. They were forced to settle for a field goal on the drive.
Pass Defense: New York's pass rush has tallied three sacks, and its secondary has covered the Cowboys wide receivers fairly well. They have been hurt, however, by screen passes to Murray and Dunbar as well as the Jason Witten touchdown catch.
Run Defense: They haven’t been tested much, with only seven carries by Dallas, but they have not looked good in the limited action they've seen. DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar each have runs over 15 yards, including a 30-yard gallop by Murray.
Special Teams: Steve Weatherford and the punt coverage are the story for special teams today. Weatherford’s first punt traveled 68 yards with no return. His second attempt went 50 yards and the coverage unit dropped Dallas’ punt returner Dwayne Harris for a four-yard loss.
The third and final punt of the half was also well executed by both Weatherford and the coverage team.
Coaching: The two offensive penalties on third-down plays in the first quarter and Cruz’s fumble bring back memories of the Giants' 0-6 start. The coaching staff has to take some blame for these blunders.
However, kudos to Kevin Gilbride for sticking to the running game when the Giants fell behind 14-3. He probably ran once too often, though, on 3rd-and-goal from the 10-yard line in the second quarter.