Giants Show Us How To Lose a Game in 103 Seconds

Any Giants fan worth his or her weight knew in their heart of hearts that Big Blue would take their collective foot off the pedal and allow Tony Romo to drive down the field and win this game with 1:40 left in the 4th quarter. You had Cris Collinsworth scrutinizing the play call on 3rd and goal when Eli faked the hand-off and rolled out to his right then air-mailed it out of the end zone to stop the clock. You had Cris Collinsworth reminding us that ‘we’ve seen this before’ when Romo led a last minute comeback victory against the Giants in MetLife, which was compounded by the graphic NBC’s Sunday Night Football crew threw up on the screen that he as a bajillion comeback victories.

tony romo dez bryant touchdown cowboys giants 2014


The Giants just flat out didn’t deserve to win this game. The offense was disjointed and uncomfortable to watch. Odell Beckham, Jr. definitely had an undiagnosed concussion after that hit from Dallas’ JJ Wilcox. Preston Parker dropped a few key passes. Rueben Randle was invisible. Larry Donnell and Daniel Fells disappeared in the second half. Eli was inaccurate and looked unsure of himself. It was the “Bad Eli” that we Giants fans have come to recognize almost from the first series of the game: making poor decisions, forcing throws, and giving us that look that’s all too familiar.

sad eli manning ny giants cowboys 2015

via Uproxx

You look at Tony Romo and you don’t see that. Romo looked under control the entire game. Even after both interceptions, the guy didn’t look flustered at all. The cameras cut to Romo after the Giants booted their millionth field goal of the game and you could just tell, Romo was like, ‘We got this’. He had that 2011 Eli Manning confidence about him. Where has that Eli gone?

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It really baffles me that McAdoo and Eli wouldn’t try to challenge Dallas’ secondary once down the field for an entire game. That’s confusing as hell. Not once. Just… take a shot. Once. The passing game averaged 5.1 per play. That’s not gonna win ballgames. I have to believe that they couldn’t take a shot with Odell after he took the shot from Wilcox (which was close to being a helmet-to-helmet infraction).  Given the new protocols put in place to protect players against head trauma, I’m shocked that Beckham was legally allowed to avoid medical staff. I watched the Browns-Jets game earlier and there was no hesitation in taking Josh McCown to the locker room for evaluation after he was helicoptered near the end zone in the first half. You want to see your players be tough, but you don’t want to see them jeopardize a career. I understand you want your best WR to stay in the game, but at what cost? Was Odell anywhere close to where he can play when he’s 100% ‘with it’? Absolutely not.

odell beckham jr ny giants cowboys 2015


There was a stat being thrown around that teams with a -3 turnover differential were 1-43. The Giants didn’t turn the ball over, no matter how hard they tried. Every time a receiver caught a ball, I screamed, “hold on to it!” The Giants D was in the right place at the right time 3 times last night, but that still wasn’t enough. The Giants got 17 points off those turnovers, when 21 points would’ve sealed the Cowboys’ fate. Settling for field goals has been the Giants crux for a long time now. When you have a playoff caliber squad like Dallas on the ropes, you better knock them the F out. And Tom Coughlin’s team didn’t do it. The level of conservative play-calling was astronomical. I don’t understand how you get a HUGE turnover in enemy territory and you DON’T immediately go for the jugular. Immediately attack the end zone.

Coming into the game, I didn’t expect the Giants to win. Not many people did. I did want the team to come out and compete. To keep the score close. Heading into last night’s game, 7 of the past 10 games were decided by a touchdown or less, so another barnburner seemed reasonable. I was genuinely surprised the defense was able to bend but not break. That long-ass opening drive was a victory for the defense.

Al Michaels and Collinsworth thought Uani’ Unga and Landon Collins would get exploited and, for the most part, they held their own. Collinsworth noted that if Jon Beason were healthy and in the game, he would’ve never allowed Jason Witten to set up shop in front of him at the goal line on the game-winning touchdown. I would probably agree with that. Hell, I think Jameel McClain would’ve played that better. That’s what you get with rookies.

tony romo jason witten cowyboys giants 2015 touchdown


But, I think Spagnoulo needs to bear the brunt of that game-winning drive. Collinsworth asked how Spags would play it and in the back of my head I knew he’d play it way too conservatively. He didn’t want to get burned and so he went with prevent. On Boomer & Carton this morning, they noted that Denver employed the same style of defense on Baltimore’s last drive and won the game, however, they neglected to note that Steve Smith Sr. dropped a touchdown pass and Joe Flacco underthrew TE Crockett Gillmore on what was the game-clinching interception. The prevent defense didn’t necessarily win the game, so much as the Ravens offense lost it.

So, why didn’t Spags continue to do what he’d done the entire game? Send pressure from the LB / DB positions, have DRC and Prince do their thing on bump-n-run man coverage and have Collins play centerfield with Meriweather patrolling the middle / mid-tier. Collinsworth stated Spags was playing with fire with cover-1 but they play soft on the outside and go cover 2 and Romo had his way with it.

I’d tweeted that the Giants D deserved the game ball and I still feel that way. Say what you will about the lack of pass rush and the Cowboys O shooting themselves in the foot and Dez Bryant being unavailable, the Giants D held their own and kept Big Blue in the game. Trumaine McBride stepped up. Despite my ill will towards Brandon Meriweather, he laid the lumber on that pick six. The Giants have been missing a presence like that for a long time. If #22 can continue to legally hammer intended receivers, he’ll be a fan favorite in no time. I’d like to see more out of Devon Kennard. Collinsworth mentioned that the Giants staff is high on him, but other than some flashes late last season, I don’t buy that he’s the disruptive force he’s been made out to be.

The horse manure pass interference call on DRC at the Giants 2 yard line turned out to be more pivotal than originally thought. That penalty came on a third down. If it’s not called, the Cowboys kick a field goal and the Giants probably win this game. Instead, the Cowboys get first and goal and the Gavin Escobar touchdown catch.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Terrance Williams

AP Photo / Tony Gutierrez

The other call that doomed the Giants was the BLATANT defensive holding / pass interference in the end zone when Cowboys SS Barry Church was mauling TE Daniel Fells. Collinsworth put the onus on Eli, saying Manning shouldn’t have thrown the ball away, but should’ve either fired the ball directly at Fells & Church huggin’ it out or taken a sack. Agreed. That’s what is so unsettling and upsetting about Eli. This is a 2-time Super Bowl MVP who pulled out ridiculous wins under unbelievable pressure and he can’t remember to take a sack or force a ref to call an obvious penalty?

ny giants cowboys 2015 goal line pass fells church


As far as the decision to pass vs. run, Collinsworth criticized the move to throw, but I don’t. The decision to fake a fun and roll Eli out to the right to 1 receiver in the pattern and the 1 received is technically a backup TE? That’s where my eyes cross. You’re gonna push all your chips into the center of the table on Fells shaking loose? Not gonna run a FB underneath or the other TE dragging across the formation or at least take a look back across the field to see if a wideout is camping out in a corner? Again, I think if Odell didn’t get his dome smoked earlier in the game, he’d been a target down the stretch.

Long story short, TLDNR version: this was a winnable game for the Giants and it’s my belief that they didn’t have the confidence to pull it out. They found themselves in a winnable game against all odds and buckled. They got nervous or scared and were just trying to survive. That’s how you lose close games. I think that mentality wasn’t just evident in the players but the play-calling and coaching.

That said, the Cowboys are in deep shit. Dez Bryant’s out for 4-6 weeks with a broken foot. Impressive D-end Randy Gregory is also out 4-6 weeks with a severe ankle sprain. Take a look at the next 4-6 games for Dallas:

Sun, Sep 20 @ Eagles 4:25 PM
Sun, Sep 27 vs Falcons 1:00 PM
Sun, Oct 4 @ Saints 8:30 PM
Sun, Oct 11 vs Patriots 4:25 PM
Sun, Oct 25 @ Giants 4:25 PM
Sun, Nov 1 vs Seahawks 4:25 PM

The Cowboys get a much-needed bye week October 18th, so they could have both Bryant and Gregory back for what could be a critical rematch at MetLife. But, in the meantime, they could go 1-3 before that rematch and then get to host Seattle. Pretty brutal. You could be staring at a 2-5 or 3-4 record heading into the second half of the season, which includes tough matchups against the Packers, Panthers, Bills, Dolphins, and Jets.

I don’t know that this game drastically changed my outlook on the Giants season. The defense appears to be less of a liability than originally suspected, but the return game is non-existent, and the offense is in trouble without Cruz. I tweeted that the Giants brass messed up by cutting James Jones and Sunday’s results prove that.

James Jones is a security blanket who is a tremendous asset in the red zone. When Odell isn’t himself and is double-covered, who can Eli turn to in the clutch? He kept looking for Preston Parker and we saw how that turned out. He can only dump it off to Shane Vereen so many times. Jones was sorely missed Sunday night. The roster seems tenuous at best. If the starters suffer injuries, the season would unravel.

UP NEXT: Sun, Sep 20 vs Falcons @ 1:00 PM

I’m very curious to see what kind of team the Falcons are this year. Atlanta has a more formidable passing attack while their run game is subpar. But, maybe the combo of Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman surprises everyone. The G-Men have had the Dirty Birds’ number over the past few years, so I expect another nail-biter, but unlike Week 1, Big Blue should prevail.


  1. […] both Romo and Bryant for a while and the Eagles’ offense looks REAL bad. I mentioned in my previous Giants post that the Cowboys could be staring at 2-5 or 3-4 entering the halfway point. I’m not so sure […]


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