The New York Giants fell to the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington on Sunday afternoon 35-17. While the majority of the game was plagued by poor secondary play and a lack of touches for Saquon Barkley, there was one glaring positive to take away from the competition.
Quarterback Eli Manning showed that he can still be effective signal collar in the NFL. While he did have a bit of garbage time success, as usual, he did rack up 306 yards and one touchdown on 30 completions. On the night, Manning utilized tight end, Evan Engram, significantly.
Engram tallied 116 yards in the score on 11 receptions in the game. He was one of the bright spots for the Giants, but Manning’s performance was the most promising.
Some may object against that argument, but the fact of the matter is that the Giants failed to stop the Dallas on offense, which kept head coach Pat Shurmur and his group off the field.
Despite the paltry loss, the Giants are a better team. Why? Because they now have a foundation of youth that is gaining experience, albeit struggling in the process.
Cornerback DeAndre Baker and rookie interior lineman Dexter Lawrence both struggled to make a difference in the game. Amari Cooper burned Baker on a touchdown pass, and Lawrence was a non-factor through the game. The offense, unfortunately, was unable to gain any momentum without defensive help.
Important offensive analysis:
After scoring on their first possession of the game, the Giants didn’t score again until 11:02 was left on the clock in the third quarter. They didn’t find the Endzone still until Wayne Gallman scored on a rush with 2:49 left in the fourth quarter when the game was simply out of reach.
Shurmur struggled to call plays against Dallas’ aggressive defense. On a 3rd-and-2 play in the third quarter, Shurmur utilized fallback Elijah Penny instead of using his All-Pro running back Saquon Barkley. He then rolled Eli Manning out on a 4th-and-1 play to no avail. While the refs let Sterling Shepard be tackled in the Endzone before any attempt at a throw, the play call was questionable at best.
The Giants need to be more efficient next Sunday against the Buffalo Bills at home. Missing Golden Tate, their de facto number one receiver disabled them from throwing downfield and forced them to dump off passes to Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley at an elevated rate.
Despite deficiencies on offense and defense, the special teams unit played very well, which has been a priority for general manager Dave Gettleman. Next week at home, the Giants need all three groups to be in sync. The defense will be the catalyst moving forward, but a pass rush is desperately needed and the secondary needs to develop quickly for Big Blue to have any hopes for success during the 2019 season.