Giants Piece Together Scrappy Win Over The Hardy ‘Boys

Orleans Darkwa giants cowboys nfl football 2015


You can’t spell scrappy without crap. And I probably used a harsher version of that word infinity times during yesterday’s Giants game against the Cowboys. What a weird win for Big Blue. The Cowboys were without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant; newly signed quarterback Matt Cassel was calling signals and the Giants needed all 60 minutes to pull out a scrappy 7 point victory at Met Life. I think a lot of people were somewhat surprised that the Giants haven’t beaten Dallas since 2012 and it was a former Cowboy – Dwayne Harris – that helped seal the deal.

The Giants offense contributed 13 points to the total. Eli was 13 of 24 for 170 yards. He had a big completion down the sideline to Rueben Randle, who made a Beckham-eqsue one-handed grab, and another to Dwayne Harris over the middle. He got pressured a lot and didn’t respond well to the onslaught. That one freakish quasi-interception was vintage Bad Eli. He had more than a few awful throws and made just as many bad decisions.

Manning had a wide open Randle for a first down on the left that he overthrew and another potential first down conversion fail when he couldn’t connect with an open Beckham. And, for the frickin’ life of me, I will never understand throwing 2 yard outs to Larry Donnell when you need 10 yards. Maybe if there’s a pick or a rub, then I could see how he could get free and pick up YAC, but when it’s a straight up flat route that’s going to come up short 10 times out of 10. And those godforsaken Toyota commercials were not helping.

The passing game was uneven and inconsistent. What’s most alarming is the inability to pick short yardage first downs. You get a great play on first down that puts the unit in 2nd and less than 5 on several drives and yet you either can’t run for the first down OR you have a couple of bad throws / decisions. 3rd and 2, Larry Donnell is wide the fudge open over the line to convert and you throw a dangerous ball to Beckham?

On the big completion down the sideline to Randle, I yelled in disapproval and got scolded by a buddy of mine. “How in the world can you be angry at Rueben? He just made an incredible one-handed catch for 40 yards?!?” Because he opted to run out of bounds prematurely. I yelled out of frustration because I know a healthier Randle would’ve ate up at least a dozen more yards. A healthy Beckham would’ve gone the distance. I think the majority of receivers in the league would’ve picked up more yardage, but Randle’s hamstring came into play. I get that. But it’s still upsetting. And it’s compounded by the fact that this team is waiting for Victor Cruz to come back and I don’t have any confidence that he will. Anyway, sorry, Rueben.

Shane Vereen is still absent from the passing game. 1 catch for 6 yards. Woof. Many Giants fans envisioned Vereen as Dave Meggett 2.0 (minus the off-the-field crimes) and so far, other than the last drive of the San Fran game, we haven’t really seen Shane produce. He did have a long athletic run to set up a field goal, but we all want him to be more of a weapon every drive.

The running game finally registered more than 100 yards. Rashad looked solid, but I think his hesitancy to hit the hole and explode to the second level has really irked Coughlin, which would explain why he decided to go with Orleans Darkwa – officially 4th string on the depth chart – on a few series. That’s got to be a wake up call for Williams and Jennings.

Vereen was never expected to come in and tote the rock more than a handful of times, but Williams and Jennings were tabbed for double digit attempts. 21 carries, 136 yards and the bulk of that total was from Darkwa and Vereen. Watching Orleans, you can see why Coughlin called his number. The man runs with authority and decisiveness. He has the ability to get that extra 1-2 yards that can make the difference. DreWill used to do that. Last season and maybe earlier this year, Jennings found a way to finish runs. Now, it appears Coughlin and McAdoo might stick with Darkwa.

Overall, the Giants were bad on third downs (27% conversion) and bad in the red zone (1/3). Not being able to capitalize on turnovers will ultimately lead to losses.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had two interceptions, taking one to the house and did everything in his power to take the other one there as well. I tweeted that he might hold the record for the longest premature touchdown celebration, starting his high step at the frickin’ 40 yard line with a couple guys still to beat! I had a hunch he would notch a pick six. With Prince out, he’ll need to step up and so far, it appears he has.

drc dominique rodgers-cromartie interception touchdown giants cowboys NFL 2015


Darren McFadden rushed for 152 of the Cowboys 233 yards on the ground. He had a touchdown called back on a questionable penalty in addition to a touchdown that stuck. But, Dallas needed Matt Cassell to play mistake-free football and he couldn’t. Despite 38+ minutes of possession, 27 first downs and 54% conversion on third down, Cassell’s trio of picks – one of which went for 6 – proved to be difference.

Beason led the team in tackles and Devon Kennard played fairly well in his return from injury. Landon Collins looked real bad on the touchdown pass from Cassell to Street along the sidelines. Plays like that make me think #21 could be targeted for big plays down the field. Meriweather had an easy interception on a severely underthrown, tardy heave from Cassell, but wasn’t tackling very well.

One defender who is slowly earning my respect is Trevin Wade. One play that stuck out to me was the short throw to Witten for a first down. Though the cushion was a bit much, the fact Wade came up quickly and executed a textbook form tackle was enough for me to give the head nod of approval. However, he did allow Terrance Williams to get behind him in zone coverage for a back-breaking third down conversion.

One defender who is earning his way to the bench is Jayron Hosley. On that deep ball that Meriweather fielded, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the ref threw the flag on Hosley for face-guarding. He was definitively beat on that play and a top-tier quarterback (like a Romo) would have made him pay.

For once, the Giants special teams unit won them a game! Josh Brown was perfect on field goals yet again and didn’t miss any extra points. Though, I can’t believe a veteran like him kicked the ball out of bounds to give the Cowboys the ball at the 40. Brutal.

We’ve seen really good Brad Wing and then we’ve seen really bad Brad Wing. Yesterday, Brad wasn’t all that bad, he just narrowly missed downed punts inside the 5 a couple times. A little more hang time and Harris should be able to touch it down deep in Cowboys territory. And, you have to wonder if the fact that Wing is a lefty and puts a different spin on the ball is what fouled up Cole Beasley on that last punt. Beasley had a rough day. That one pass off the helmet was straight up bizarre.

Cole Beasley muff punt fumble cowboys giants nfl 2015


Dwayne Harris went untouched on his 100 yard kickoff return touchdown. It’s been so long since we’ve seen something like that, it was astonishing. As soon as he found the hole through that first wave, he only had the kicker and one speedster to beat. I grossly underestimated Dwayne’s speed. Wow.

By the way, it’s unbelievable that Greg Hardy isn’t in prison. But, ya know, he’s a great leader who’s ultra-competitive…

Sun, Nov 1 @ Saints 1:00 PM
Before New Orleans notched their first win of the season in primetime against the Cowboys a few weeks ago, it looked like they were headed for a disastrous season that would be Sean Payton’s last. But, they pull out that game, they surprise everyone by beating the Falcons on Thursday Night Football then hold off the Colts in Indy for another eye-opener. If the Giants host the Saints, I think they have a shot, but playing down in New Orleans might get ugly.

Sun, Nov 8 @ Buccaneers 4:05 PM
I think we all chalked this up as a win heading into the season and then we all signed up for tattoos once Winston got off to a really rocky start, but then they sort of took it to the Redskins last week and now we might have a barn-burner. The Giants desperately need to tally some wins to put some distance between them and the rest of the division because they don’t have an ‘easy’ game the rest of the way.

Sun, Nov 15 vs Patriots 4:25 PM
This will be the true measuring stick for the Giants. If they can compete, then I think most everyone will renew their optimism. They get blown out and the hangover might last for the rest of the year. Tailspin alert.

Sun, Nov 29 @ Redskins 1:00 PM
Has Kirk Cousins turned the corner? You like that?

Sun, Dec 6 vs Jets 1:00 PM
If Fitzpatrick plays error-free football, the Giants are in trouble.

Mon, Dec 14 @ Dolphins 8:30 PM
With Philbin gone and Campbell at the helm, this is a different and deadly Dolphins team.

Sun, Dec 20 vs Panthers 1:00 PM
Despite losing top receivers, the Panthers offense chugs along behind Scam Newton and Hacksaw Greg Olsen. The Panthers defense might obliterate Eli.

Sun, Dec 27 @ Vikings 1:00 PM
If the Giants fail to contain Peterson, we could see records fall.

Sun, Jan 3 vs Eagles 1:00 PM
There’s not better way to start the New Year then with a critical and potentially division-deciding win over Philly.

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