Monday, November 24, 2014

Giants Blow Big Lead, Fall to Dallas on SNF


It was supposed to be the Giants night, because it was certainly Odell Beckham's night. It was supposed to be the Giants night, because they built an 11-point halftime lead, and were playing their most complete football game of the season. It was supposed to be the Giants night, because they came back late with an inspiring 93-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

It was supposed to be  a lot of things, until the Dallas Cowboys, Tony Romo and Dez Bryant pulled the rug right out from underneath Big Blue stealing a 31-28 decision in East Rutherford.

The Giants (3-8) are officially Dead Team Walking. Their playoff hopes, as slim as they were, are now gone for good. It's hard to get angry anymore because there was still so much positive that came out of this night, which makes this lose that much tougher to accept. Most notably Beckham, who had a career game, hauling in 10 passes for 146 yards and two scores. His over-the-shoulder, with the tips of his fingers-Matrix-style touchdown catch will be replayed for years to come. It was easily one of the best catches in franchise history right up there with the "Helmet Catch" of David Tyree.

There was Beckham, heavily covered by the corner, jumping up into the air, using the tips of his thumb, index finger and middle finger to grab a hold of an Eli Manning floater; all of this in mid-flight as he was bending backwards and falling on his rear end in the end zone for the touchdown. It was incredible, it gave the Giants a shocking 14-3 lead. One would think such a play might have been the turning point of the night. For a short time it was.

The Giants went into the half up 21-10, but once the second half began, Dallas turned the heat up on the Giants. As much as it was Beckham's night, it was Tony Romo's finest hour. The embattled quarterback threw four touchdowns for Dallas in the comeback victory, and was unflappable all night as the Giants failed to muster any real pass rush.

Romo delivered the first dagger when he connected with Cole Beasley for a 45-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown to cut the Giants lead to 21-17 with 6:35 remaining in the third quarter.

The Giants later got back into a giving mood on this Thanksgiving Day Week when Manning floated what should have been an easy throw to a wide open Patrick Peterson, instead into the hands of Dallas Strong Safety Barry Church, who brought the football back 45-yards to mid-field.

With renewed life Romo went right back to work. On second down at the Giants 31, Romo rolled out of the pocket and found Dez Bryant alone down the sideline. The duo connected and Bryant dashed toward the corner of the end zone for the score, putting Dallas up 24-21.

After Dallas failed to do anything with the ball on its next possession, the Giants had to do something to restore order in this game. With 9:12 to go in the game and in their playoff dreams, Manning engineered an inspiring 14-play 93-yard drive that ate over six minute of clock. The biggest play of the drive came on a second and three at the Dallas 41 when Rashard Jennings made a couple people miss and ran down the sideline for 27-yards to the Cowboys' 14. Five plays later, Manning found tight end Adrien Robinson for the score to give the Giants a 28-24 lead with 3:00 to go.

It appeared the Giants were on the cusp of pulling out their fourth win of the year, and first win against an opponent with a winning record this year.

'Not so fast,' said Romo.  While Eli Manning has received all the accolades and praise as a great fourth quarter quarterback, he has two Super Bowls to prove so, Romo has received nothing but criticism for how he's handled the pressure moment. On Sunday he had no issues. In fact, he might have been the best he's ever been in the two minute drill.

With no substantial New York pass rush, Romo picked apart the Giants. Romo hit Jason Witten for five yards on second and six, then watched DeMarco Murray gash the Giants for nine yards to spot the ball at the Dallas 38 with two minutes to go. Next, Romo zipped a pass to Beasley for 21-yards to the Giants 36, and before anyone knew it, Romo connected with Witten for 15-yards to the Giants 21. The drive was like a flash of lightening -- Romo hit Bryant for eight more yards to the Giants 13 with 1:11 to go. Finally, Romo stood in the pocket and waited, waited, and waited until he found Bryant open free in the back of the end zone. Romo hit him in the numbers for the score. Dallas 31, Giants 28 with 1:01 to go.

The Dallas fans went nuts, the Giants fans shrugged their shoulders in angst. Another one that got away.

On a night where Odell Beckham made a catch for the ages, the Cowboys saved their season and kept themselves very much alive for the division title. Dallas will play the Buttfumble (Mark Sanchez) and the Eagles on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas. The Giants are now left to play out the string with nothing to play for but jobs in 2015.

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