Was it a Giant mess or a Giant misstep?
The Giants are working to put the pieces back together from their 19-3 debacle against the Cowboys in Arlington Monday night. Is it time to end the dream of a Super Bowl run or simply hit the pause button?
For the first half in their game against Dallas, the Giants looked like a team hesitant to play their game with a few changes due to Odell Beckham Jr’s highly publicized injured ankle. It’s likely they knew early enough that Beckham wouldn’t play, and they would have to resort to Plan B.
However, the other parts of Plan A didn’t materialize well. Their offensive line’s issues of the past again resurfaced, and Eli Manning and the rest of the offense looked totally out of rhythm and sync.
As a result of the inept offense, the defense spent over 10 minutes on the field in the opening quarter and a good chunk overall of time before halftime. To their credit, they did manage to keep the Cowboys within striking range despite being behind 16-0 at halftime and being outgained 265-49.
For whatever reason, the Giants opened the second half with the level of performance expected as the start, as they pieced together an effective mix of plays that provided them with a nearly 10-minute drive.
Unfortunately, it only resulted in their lone points of the night, a 25-yard field goal by rookie kicker Aldrick Rosas. A few plays earlier, Manning suffered his third sack of the night that took the momentum from the drive and typically symbolized their ineffectiveness throughout the night.
Here are a few takeaways from the game:
RECEIVERS: First-round draft pick Evan Engram had a good night and gave the national audience a few glimpses on how he can eventually be a major weapon. He caught four passes for 44 yards.
On the outside, Sterling Shepard proved his worth as he caught seven short completions for 44 yards. However, Shepard was often double covered and took his share of hits. Running back Shane Vereen emerged as Beckham’s option, hauling in a team-high nine balls for 51 yards.
Brandon Marshall was targeted four times and caught one for 10 yards, but he and Manning appeared to have timing and compatibility issues.
OFFENSIVE LINE: They took a beating from the start, as Dallas appeared to control both sides of the ball. They did manage to regain their footing, but their lack of consistency will continue to be questioned.
The Giants generated only 35 yards rushing (2 first downs on the ground) and only 233 total yards. Manning looked uncomfortable in the pocket most of the night.
Head coach Ben McAdoo basically agreed that the line had issues, but said there wouldn’t be any changes. They will, however, have to tight it soon as things don’t get any easier. Detroit comes to the Meadowlands Monday night with rookie promising pass rushers Anthony Zettl and Jeremiah Ledbetter.
DEFENSE: They did spend plenty of time on the field and didn’t look as dominating as predicted. Yet, middle linebacker B.J. Goodson had a strong game in the middle and continues to develop. He had a team-high 18 stops.
Jason Pierre-Paul and Damon Harrison were kept under control. Both of them had five tackles, but Ezekiel Elliott had 104 of his team’s 129 rushing yards. Olivier Vernon had the lone sack on the night.