by Jeb Kush
First off, the Giants lost this game because of their lackluster offense. Eli had a horrendous 5.7 average yards per attempt and it seemed like the Giants offense was terrified of attempting passes of more than 15 yards without Odell in the game. Eli threw a pick to go along with the stagnant performance, and the Giants couldn’t get anything going on the ground either. Paul Perkins was their leading rusher. Guess how many yards he had? 16. Oh, but that was probably on just a few carries, right? Wrong. He had 7 carries and ended the night with 16 fucking yards. This man averaged like 2.2 yards per carry. The absence of a running game was evident in terms of ball possession as well, as the Giants were only able to run 6 plays during the entire first quarter.
Now, the uninspiring running game was not all Paul Perkins’ fault as the Giants O-line looked horrendous. Eli was consistently pressured and the Giants rarely got any push on run plays. It didn’t help that Brandon Marshall and Eli were on the wrong page incredibly frequently. Marshall’s first catch occurred with less than a minute to go in the game. Manning and Marshall also both fucked up on two key third downs. On the first fuck-up, Marshall ran a deep curl route and started to work inside behind the closest linebacker but Manning thought Marshall was going to sit in the open zone behind the linebacker, and thus the ball was thrown behind Marshall and landed incomplete. On the second fuck-up, Marshall was wide open in the flat and Manning assumed he was going to turn up-field and basically convert his flat route into a wheel route. This plan came as a surprise to Marshall. Marshall never turned up-field and the pass was thus thrown behind him to the wrong shoulder and fell incomplete.
If you look at this game, you realize the Cowboys played well but they didn’t do anything spectacular to win. Dak showed superior decision making, but showed only mediocre execution. If not for a touchdown pass that old man Witten stumbled into the end zone with, Dak would have had a statistically worse passing night than Eli. Early on, Dak whizzed a ball over Dez’s head that would have been an easy quick slant TD. Brice Butler then bailed out Dak later on a deep ball that forced Butler to make a diving grab instead of allowing him to sprint into the end zone.
The reason the Cowboys ended up winning was not because of Dak, but because of the dominance the running game. While the Giants D-line rushed the passer exceptionally well most of the night, their run defense looked like aged pasteurized milk from Switzerland. Zeke ran for an 100 yard performance that looked far too easy to those of us watching. It seemed as though defenders never even made contact with him until he was 7 yards past the line of scrimmage.
The one positive for Giants fans is that the defense flew around and made plays consistently. Janoris Jenkins got the better of Dez Bryant for most of the game and it showed. Dez repeatedly got frustrated with his lack of separation from Jenkins and the two of them were talking shit to each after seemingly every play. The D-line rushed well for the most part, and Landon Collins was all over the field. Collins even made the first tackle of the game, taking down Cowboys return man Ryan Switzer on the opening kickoff.
Sidenote: Props to Terrance Williams for his progression throughout the years. He used to suck. Had a catch rating in the fucking high 60s in Madden.