In the past we would provide a detailed recap of the game. The effort to provide Ultimate22, a comprehensive and objective recap of player performance, seeks to replace the coverage in large part. Still, there are MACRO THEMES that need to be summarized here. This recap is not trying to catch ALL the points. Please add more in the comments that I did not mention here.
1) The latest CBA signed a little over a year ago continues to water down the quality of the NFL. To see grown men, athletes in the prime of health, AT NIGHT WITHOUT LATE SUMMER HEAT, gassed in the second half... it is what you get at the beginning of the season in the NFL in 2012. Sad but true. The Giants defensive performance eroded as the night wore on. Was part of this the injuries at CB? Yes. But the pass rush dwindled due to fatigue, and we hope the data will bear that out. This is the kind of information that can quantitatively assist us and put some meat on those bones, supporting what we qualitatively witnessed.
2) How many times have we laid out the blueprint here on this NY Giants blog of how to gameplan Tony Romo? The edge rushers need to be particularly mindful of pocket contain, because the entire world knows that Romo is much better OUT OF THE POCKET, on the run, than inside the pocket. Pressure up the middle makes it harder for him to see the field, and that (in part) led to his lone INT vs Boley.
3) We said yesterday that the replacement refs would change the dynamic. They called much less offensive holding. I believe that Offensive Line holding was called much less, as compared to WR/TE holds etc.. One person at the game reported that members of the Giants DL were getting mugged out there with no calls. We saw a few. Did you notice the mock cheers for the refs late in the game when holding was finally called against Dallas?! The Ultimate22 will hopefully catch more of this. It is what it is, as this by itself was not the reason why the Giants lost. It didn't help, but you better not blame the refs for the loss. (And yes, the Cruz hold at the goal line was nasty, but this is what we talked about yday with the 25% variable of luck.)
4) The Giants beat themselves, as usual. The Wilson fumble, 3 Victor Cruz drops, 2 penalties on Cruz, 1 or 2 Bennett transgressions (not diving for a makeable catch is a big pet peeve of mine), Kiwi and Tuck not making a critical tackle, many CB mistakes, fill in your favorite here.
5) Everyone loves the overachieving Chase Blackburn, including me. But the time has come to put this guy back on the couch. He is a liability out there. Who would you rather have on Ogletree in the red zone in a zone passing scheme, Blackburn or Williams?!
6) DISGUISE YOUR BLITZES. This is poker, fellas. Romo would get a read on blitz and then adjust. The way to foil this and get him off his "tell" is to do what the Giants did last season vs Brady in the regular season win vs the Patriots- you show a blitz and then drop out of it ON OCCASION. This makes it harder for the QB and the protections to know ANYTHING about what is truly coming. It worked tremendously against NE and its absence vs Dallas was a killer.
7) It's Groundhog Day. Must be another complaint about Gilbride not using enough small ball. When the Giants began using it, they rattled off an 89 yard drive. Long pass plays to Hixon happen because they are set up by dinks and dunks. If this was used a great deal more in the first half, the Giants would not have had to struggle offensively nearly as much...
8) Because the running game is horrid. The short yardage running game is even worse. Success came a little more in H2 because the Giants passed the ball, used more small ball passing AND THEN ran it selectively with draws and outside stuff which kept the Cowboys a little more off balance. But on 1st and 10 between the tackles? Ugh. Once again, these are things that we look forward to tracking with Ultimate22. The data will be accumulated in coming days.
9) There are many positives. The Defensive Line, the Linebackers, the short yardage stops, TE contributions... if this were a lengthier recap we would highlight more of the good (and the bad), but suffice it to say that the Giants have more than enough to be very competitive this season. Coughlin is good at pointing out mistakes and giving players the opportunity to play better. THE DL WON'T GET GASSED and the team will be able to improve from this. It wouldn't "hurt" to get healthier at DL and CB, not to mention OL etc..
10) I really like Keith Rivers. Yes, he whiffed on Romo, but he covers ground like Giants LBers haven't covered ground in MANY YEARS. Refreshing.
11) Wilson's fumble is one reason why I don't like drafting RBs high. You can't get these guys enough playing time early on. (The coaches were 100% correct to bench him after the fumble.) The Giants have done a fabulous job over the years of drafting late and finding undrafted RBs that are fine. It is a passing league. The best thing about Wilson should be for small ball underneath IN THE PASSING game.
12) Nicks looked like a decoy out there. He will get back to 100% and will help the team out much more than he did last night.
13) David Diehl needs to get moved back to Guard. Unfortunately this is what happens when you don't have enough Offensive Tackles. Who warned about the problems on the Offensive Line?
14) I am sure I left out stuff. Please feel free to add more.
I like what I saw from Bennett, he was anxious to see him run route and catch balls. He was at least as good as any TE we've had lately ...
I'm not so sure about the dive he didn't made, the man is 270 or something, easier said than done ... This one is just as much on Manning as it is on Bennett.
Good to see Hixon "back". I'm still baffled some people wanted that UDFA who had 1 kick return negated by a hold (can't remember his name) over him ...
The secondary was as pathetic as expected, no surprises there.
Lots of shuffling going on in the LB corps, 5 guys had 24 snaps or more. Rivers and Boley did very well, Kiwanuka and Williams were meh and Blackburn wasn't good enough.
Great game from Pierre-Paul, not much stats to show for but great impact. And he looked alone on that "best DL in football".
Boy am I glad we resigned Bernard !
All true, but does anyone doubt that if the Giants had stopped that last pass and got the ball back to Eli with two minutes left, we would have gone to overtime? Benching Wilson for the entire rest of the game was cutting off one's nose to spite one's face. Both offensive and defensive lines wore out in the second half.
Not the worst loss I've seen, but pretty uninspired at times. As Collinsworth pointed out, some Giants players looked gassed in the second half. Especially the DTs. No longer were getting any inside push; made it easy for Romo to sit in the pocket OR escape outside. We need Canty and Austin back yesterday.
Cruz needs to concentrate, and Nicks definitely didn't look completely healthy. With 11 days to be ready for the next game hopefully that won't be an issue moving forward. Blackburn looked slow and clunky out there.
As usual I was cursing Gilbride at various points in the game. MAYBE one screen? MAYBE one flare (that Bradshaw dropped)? Lots of long-developing routes with Eli under pressure. And running the ball at all the predictable times in the predictable ways.
Eli was good, not great. The refs missed several holds (worse than the ones the "normal" refs don't call). But as was said, I wasn't taking as close a notice what was going on on the other side of the ball, so maybe it went both ways.
The secondary was terrible. Saw Rolle take awful angles twice, Webster was sub par, and Tryon looked like the 5th corner that he is. No Hosley at all in those situations? Didn't see him in much on defense.
Well, there are 15 games left. Getting some guys back from injury on defense will help. Eli will get on the same page with the WRs. The loss is disconcerting, but the team should compete all year long.
@CommanderShepardHosley took 28 snaps on defense, that's a pretty good number for a rookie 3rd rounder.
Sheez it feels like an eternity since I've commented. However, I've followed every post diligently. Which also begs for the question, where were the preseason updates? Last year there were much more, but this year they were about as frequent as Gilbride uses screens.
Anyways, we lost the game purely because of terrible playcalling by gilbride (mainly on the Boley Int which gave all the momentum back to Dallas (the fat ryan fist pump on the sideline)), no push at the point of attack by our O line, and the atrocious play by Webster mainly and partly by Tryon. To echo Bob Papa this morning on sirius morning drive, Coe actually didn't play bad it was Webster whom was beat by Bryant for 39 yds on that 3rd and 1, Webster who was torched by Ogletree on one TD pass, and then Tryon getting roasted by Austin and Ogletree. My question is WHERE WAS JARON?? I think I saw him on one kickoff coverage. Jaron along with the DT Kuhn have looked lights out in the preseason. I wouldn't be surprised if Hosley turns out to be 4 times better than amukamara. And tonight would've been a great opportunity to get him used to the speed and feel of the game. Instead we have Tryon out there whom we know will always be an albino practice squadder.
Coughlin not playing rookies is absurd. Yes I know they tried to get Wilson involved, but there has to be some trickery in playcalling. This goes back to the Gilbride playcalling why even go to Wilson on a run when we were moving the ball with dinks and dunks all through the air. Getting Pascoe and Hynoski involved more with rollouts and screens would've been beneficial and I would've loved to have seen some to Da' Rel Scott. Also, it doesn't help when the Cowgirls know that if they see Wilson it is going to be a running play.
Even with Wilson, I haven't been as impressed by Wilson as everyone in the NY area and media are. He had a few decent plays in preseason but to me he lacks the ability to make something out of nothing. Which thankfully is AB's greatest asset. AB was like a Wizard/Wiggly Worm weaving and wiggling his way around our horrible Offensive Line that was getting physically blown off the ball and manhandled, to gain 3-5 yards at times where he should've been stopped for a loss.
Also, Reese's need to ignore the O Line is finally catching up with us. I heard Baltimore let go of a good tackle (can't remember his name) but its worth a look up. Joselio Hanson may not be a bad addition as well. I realize we couldn't afford Ross, but he did play lights out and was a 1st round pick. Hopefully Webster comes back and what's the word on Coe?
The calls by the refs were ridiculous last night or shall I say the non-calls. You can't blame it solely on that but our O Line and DB's should have responded by doing the same BS. Holding the receivers and tackling the defensive linemen.
Disappointing to be sure, but fortunately not maddening. (A far cry from last year's opener where they got torched by Rex Grossman.) They got outplayed by a good team, and made enough mistakes and just couldn't get enough pressure on Romo to slow him down in the second half. There's work to be done for sure, and they'll have extra time to work on it until the Bucs game.
Positives: Yes, Rivers's activeness was exhilarating. Also, nice to see the gritty Hixon back out there. Hope he doesn't get hurt again.
Worst negative: Losing to a team that was called for as many penalties as Cowboys were.
3-0 Giants till late in the first half, then each team adjusts offensively and the Giants D couldn't stop Dallas after that. From there 24-14 plus the clinching first down on the last drive. All three levels of defense failed: not enough pressure or contain from the line, poor run support from the LBs and the DBs repeatedly torched. There were times Blackburn was invisible. The Jints offense came to life a bit, but your observation was spot on: they didn't have the run and needed to establish short passing to compensate. Too little too late against a Dallas team that didn't fold. (Is this a new chapter for the 'Boys, finishing outplaying a good opponent??)
It's hard to see much good about this game, except outstanding catch by Hixon. Bennett showed big pluses and some minuses, hopefully the minuses get ironed out. Too many drops from Cruz and Nicks apparently still hobbled.
Bottom line is that the Cowboys adjusted far better than the Giants, and outplayed them for the last 2 1/2 quarters, especially Dallas O v. Giants D. The Giants have retooled from far worse losses, so let's hope they figure it out.