In truth, Sunday's 35-14 victory by the New York Giants over the Dallas Cowboys was not a fair fight. Right from the start it was obvious that the only chance the Cowboys had Sunday was if the Giants gift wrapped the game for them.
The Giants did make enough mistakes, particularly with some sloppy offense, to allow Dallas a glimmer of hope through three quarters.
In the end, though, the 7-1 Giants are too good and the 5-4 Cowboys are too beat up, disorganized and disheartened right now to stay with the defending Super Bowl champions.
Honestly, I was amazed at how bad the Cowboys looked. Quarterback Brad Johnson was old and inept, and his replacement -- Brooks Bollinger -- was unprepared and overmatched. Obviously, they miss Tony Romo.
They also have a slew of other injuries. That, however, doesn't excuse the unbelievably bad offensive line play, and the disorganized, often half-hearted effort they seemed to give on defense.
Anyway, the victory means the Giants are firmly in control of the NFC East halfway through their schedule. Let's do our traditional 'Kudos & Wet Willies' before turning our attention to next Sunday night's game in Philadelphia.
Kudos to ...
Brandon Jacobs: The Cowboys tried to contain Jacobs early by crowding the line of scrimmage. A quick scoring drive, mostly in the air, ended that. Jacobs then pretty much had his way with the Cowboys, rumbling for 117 yards and a touchdown on his standard 17 carries.
- Derrick Ward: Had 63 yards and a touchdown of his own on just 12 carries. He also caught two passes for 26 yards. Not to keep beating on this subject, but what exactly does Ahmad Bradshaw give the Giants that they aren't already getting from No. 34?
- Steve Smith: This guy just flat out cannot be covered one-on-one. He runs some of the most precise, creative pass routes I have ever seen, has fabulous hands and just enough speed. Smith added five catches Sunday to his team-leading total of 34, and scored the first touchdown of his NFL career.
- Eli Manning: Three touchdown passes and a 16-for-27 game throwing the ball. He didn't have to do a lot, but he did pretty much what he wanted to do.
- Kevin Boss: An opening-drive touchdown catch for Boss, who is becoming an increasingly important target for the Giants in the Tom Coughlin named 'Green Zone.' Finished with three catches for 30 yards.
- Corey Webster: Two interceptions, the first on a great grab of an errant throw by Johnson.
- Justin Tuck: Punch this guy's ticket to the Pro Bowl right now, if you haven't done that already. Had 2.5 sacks Sunday, giving him 8.5 for the season. Also made six tackles.
- Danny Clark: The veteran linebacker made nine tackles Sunday, and was seemingly in the Dallas backfield on almost every running play. Kawika who?
Michael Johnson: Five tackles, including a couple of terrific ones in the open field, and some excellent plays in pass coverage for the second-year safety.
Wet Willies to ...
Eli Manning: Three touchdown passes, yes, but Eli threw a pick-six (that might have been Plaxico Burress's fault) and lost two fumbles. Eli did a lot of good things for the Giants Sunday, but while he was doing them he also managed to keep the Cowboys in the game. A classic 'Good Eli/Bad Eli' game. In Manning's defense, he was under more duress than he is used to.
- Pass protection: The offensive line blew the Cowboys off the ball in the running game, but allowed Eli to be sacked four times. That was disappointing after not giving up any sacks in the previous two games.
- John Carney: Got a touchback on a kickoff that skipped through the end zone, but his kickoffs were terrible. Most of them barely crossed the 15-yard line, and the Cowboys were always starting from close to or beyond their own 40. Luckily for the Giants, Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger were playing and Tony Romo wasn't. I have supported Carney all season, but those kickoffs are simply unacceptable.
- Kevin Gilbride: Yes, Eli had a couple of bad fumbles. Gilbride has to take a hit, though, for an overly aggressive approach when the Giants were comfortably ahead. He never should have been throwing in some of those situations. Especially not at the end of the first half, up two touchdowns and starting at their own 17. Gilbride and the Giants were lucky Steve Smith's fumble did not lead to disaster. Giants mistakes, largely caused by an overly greedy offense, let the Cowboys hang in the game longer than they should have.
- Michael Matthews: Two holding penalties for the backup tight end. That can't happen when the only reason you are in the game is to block.