Put the coroner on speed dial, Dallas’ Super Bowl hopes are flatlining. And you can thank the Giants.
It feels good to be a Giants fan today. We’re first in the NFC East, at 5-2. The Cowboys are 1-5, last in the NFC East with playoff hopes all but dead and gone.
There’s a lot of good to take away from a game like this. The Giants showed outstanding toughness and resiliency by battling back from an early 10-0 deficit, and later a 20-7 deficit with 8:53 left in the second quarter. The offense seems to be able to score whenever they want, against whomever they please; and the defense has the ability to constantly overwhelm opposing quarterbacks. Plus, we beat Dallas, and that’s always a good thing.
But, there’s still some negatives to take away. The way the Giants started the game was awful. While we did stage a comeback, we went down 20-7 after allowing a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown. We turned the ball over five times (3 interceptions, 2 fumbles). Once things stop going our way all of a sudden, these turnovers will start costing us games quick. We were fortunate on Monday night, but there may come a time when we can’t overcome that. And for the second straight week the Giants let a beaten team back into the game and made the game far closer than it ever should have been. We could have beaten Dallas a lot worse than we did. It’s not a time to be picky, however.
It’s a time to rejoice. “Celebrate the wins,” Tom Coughlin said. “That’s all I can tell you.”
Ahmad Bradshaw leads the entire NFL in rushing, with 708 yards, after Monday’s 24-carry, 126-yard effort. He is now averaging 101.1 yards per game. The last time a Giants back led the NFL in rushing was Eddie Price in 1951. Whoa.
Brandon Jacobs also had a good game, with twelve carries for 75 yards, and one touchdown on a 30-yard run that was pretty much handed to him by the Cowboys defense. The fact that Jacobs danced on the star in the end zone made it so much sweeter.
The first two Giants’ drives ended the same way: interceptions off of receivers’ hands, that were thrown a bit off target. Dallas capitalized early on, and before you could force from your anger the words “what the !@#$ Eli”, the Cowboys were up 10-0. There were a couple more throws that took a year off of Tom Coughlin’s life, but other than that Eli was phenomenal. He finished the night 25-of-35 for 306 yards and four touchdowns. He made some incredible throws and was in command for much of the night.
The receivers stepped up and had a huge night. Hakeem Nicks finished with nine catches, 108 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys simply had no answer in their secondary for Nicks; and really nobody seems to have an answer. Steve Smith finished Monday night with nine catches, 101 yards and one touchdown, and Mario Manningham added 3-for-40 and one touchdown.
The offensive line will go largely unnoticed, but they were the reason the Giants were able to dominate on offense and control the clock. Manning was sacked only once, and there were consistently holes to run through all night. DeMarcus Ware beat Dave Diehl once or twice, but that was it and Diehl surprisingly held his own. The old guys up front are still getting the job done.
All in all, the Giants dominated the stat sheets offensively. They totaled 497 yards, scored 41 points, averaged 6.8 yards per play, and held the ball for 37:31. They ran 37 times for a total of 200 yards; that’s smash-mouth, Big Blue football.
On WFAN on Tuesday in his weekly segment, Antrel Rolle had this to say: “I don’t think, I know it, we are the best team in the NFC. Hey, we are the best team in the NFL and that’s hands down….Our defense is the best defense in the business, no doubt about it.’’
That’s a big statement. And the Giants need to back this up. This is one of the craziest years for the NFL in recent memory, and both conferences are wide open. Everyone made a big deal about Bucs’ coach Raheem Morris saying his team was the best in the NFC; but when in comes down to it you could probably make a case for it. You are what your record is, and if the season lasted just six games the Bucs would get a first-round bye in the playoffs. Sounds looney, but that’s the 2010 season.
Now is the time for this defense to back up the big statement by Antrel. We were 5-2 at one point last year, too, and that turned out great. That being said, this is a much different team from last year. The defense gave up 28 points to what the experts call one of the more talented offenses in the NFL, so that must count for something. Dallas’ rushing attack was non-existent, partially due to the fact that they were playing catch-up through the air for much of the fourth quarter, and mostly due to the fact that the Big Blue front seven simply can’t be run on.
Osi finished with two tackles and no sacks, but his impact was felt much greater on the field than on the stat sheet. He was flying around, running a high motor, and wreaking havoc all night. He never got to Tony Romo or Jon Kitna, but he was breathing down their necks constantly. Osi is a presence once again. And Barry Cofield is becoming the anchor in the middle of the d-line – two tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles.
Tony Romo left the game after what was revealed to be a broken collarbone. Romo threw a pass, and then didn’t have a chance – Michael Boley was coming full speed, unblocked right at him. Romo landed on his left shoulder and Boley heard him “let out a little scream.” All Romo can remember is how much trouble he had breathing.
The Big Blue defense has KO’d five quarterbacks.
In the last two decades, the Giants are 5-16 coming off of a bye. Well then, that bodes well for a trip to Seattle…
The Giants rallied off 31 unanswered points after being down 20-7.
In games at the new Cowboys’ stadium, the Giants are averaging 37 points per game.
Dallas was 0-for-10 on third downs, and were out-rushed by the Giants 200 to 41.
The Giants enter their bye week at 5-2, atop the NFC East. After the bye, Big Blue heads to the Pacific northwest for a game against the Seattle Seahawks.