Sunday, October 19, 2014

Giant load of trouble after Big Blue loss to Dallas


Now, the New York Giants are behind the proverbial eight ball. It was just two weeks ago at 3-2 the Giants looked like a team that had revived its season after a hideous 0-2 start with convincing wins over Houston, Washington and Atlanta. Two weeks later the Giants have two losses to the top two teams in the NFC East, if not the top two teams in all the NFC.

The Giants were barely competitive against the Cowboys. They hurt themselves with penalties, drops and really, really bad defense in their 31-21 loss in Big D. Big Blue had no answer for Cowboys back-up tight end Gavin Escobar, who had two touchdowns, and even less answers for running back DeMarco Murray who gashed the Giants for 128 yards and a score.

It was an overall bad late afternoon for the Giants, who were badly exposed up front on both sides of the football.

In the second quarter it was looking good for the Giants. After Dallas was called for pass interference on a fourth and one at the Cowboys 38, the Giants took full advantage. Andre Williams chugged down to the five yard line for 22 yards on first and 10. Two plays later Eli Manning hi Odel Beckham Jr. for a nine yard touchdown to tie it at seven.

Later in the quarter, Prince Amukamara stepped in front of a Tony Romo pass and picked it off deep inside Dallas territory. On the next play from scrimmage, Manning connected with Daniel Fells on a 27 yard touchdown to give the Giants their only lead of the day.

Everything went down hill from there.

First Murray gashed and dashed the Giants for 21 yards to set up Tony Romo with a short field to hit Terrance Williams on an 18-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14.

At this point the entire Giants offense went into a proverbial deep freeze. Three times in the second half the Giants had time consuming drives, and twice they resulted in nothing but a missed opportunity.

Their first drive of the third quarter ate 5:26 off the clock for all of 22 yards. It was a drive that was marred by two hideous penalties on the Giants offensive line which all but ruined the drive, as the Giants finally stalled at the Dallas 43.

Their second drive of futility ate up 4:55 for only 44 yards on eight plays that ended in a Steve Weatherford punt.  These time consuming drives did more to help the Dallas Cowboys cause than it did for the Giants own efforts.

Dallas took full advantage of the Giants futility. With the sun in his face, Romo hit a pass to Dez Bryant down the sideline for a 44-yard gain to the Giants 45. After Romo found Bryant again for 17 more yards to the 26, he found a wide open Escobar in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Dallas 21, Giants 14.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter, and Big Blue added sloppy to their hideous day on offense. A fumble by tight end Larry Donnell gave the Cowboys the football at the Giants 27. Romo and the Boys went right to work. First Romo hit Dez Bryan for 24 yards to the one yard line, then Murray plowed in from one yard out to make it 28-14.

What happened next defies logic. For whatever reason the Giants decided to have the most cavalier and relaxed drive anyone would ever see from a team down 14 points. The Giants took the ball with 9:11 to go in the game. They needed a quick score, but instead took their sweet time eating up four minutes of clock for an 11 play 80-yard drive with about 35-40 seconds between each play. Before they knew it, the game was coming down to the final minutes and the Giants, still, hadn't scored a touchdown.

It would have been their third straight drive of time consuming futility, if it were not for Manning's fourth and goal touchdown pass to Odell Bekham Jr. to cut the deficit to 28-21 with 5:34 to play; but thanks to lack of urgency by both Manning and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo the Giants lost this game long before that touchdown ever took place.

New York (3-4) is now in crisis mode. They have lost two divisional games, and MUST put together a winning streak, or their season could be on the brink of total collapse. They have two weeks to think about it too, with a bye week next Sunday. Almost 1/2 way through the season it looks like the NFC East will send two teams to the playoffs. If the Giants want to make it three teams from the East, the better get their act together and fast. 

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