What now for the 4-7 New York Giants? After Sunday's season-crushing 24-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys Giants' head coach Tom Coughlin did his best to avoid acknowledging that the Giants' playoff dream is all but dead.
"We have a five-game schedule left. Every game is critical. We have to prepare and work as hard as we possibly can and stay together, try to win football games," Coughlin said. "We lost a game that we were all excited about having a chance to win, but it’s gone. We’ve got five games to play. Let’s go win five games and let’s give ourselves a chance to hold our heads up high."
Quarterback Eli Manning said the Giants have "got to win five."
"I think our mindset is we've got to win five. We've got five games left and we have to win every one. That's the only way that will possibly give us a chance. We don't know if that's going to be good enough, but that's the only way," Manning said. "Again, you can't trade anything differently than what we've been doing the past few weeks, and take it one game at a time. Next week we're at Washington - another big one in the division. We've got to go in there and find a way to win."
Defensive end Justin Tuck also acknowledged that the Giants need to win out to have any hope of making the playoffs.
"We probably need to win now and get to 9-7," tuck said. "The reason that we had a meaningful game tonight is because we took it one game at a time. That’s what we’ll continue to do. This is definitely a setback, but that won’t deter us from going out next week and preparing to win a football game down in Washington."
Cowboys enjoy shutting Giants up
The Giants foolishly chirped all week leading up to Sunday, guaranteeing a victory (Terrell Thomas) and talking about spilling blood (Jason Pierre-Paul). The Cowboys waited to respon until after they had shut the Giants up by basically shutting down their season. And, yes, they enjoyed responding.
"I just finished eating a Giant. They said blood would be shed, right? It’s Giant’s blood, from the Giants. I don’t know which one it is, but I ate him – it was all of them."
-- Cowboys' defensive tackle Jason Hatcher
"They were 4-6. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a 4-6 team talk like that. You know what? Sometimes you just have to be quiet."
-- Cowboys' cornerback Orlando Scandrick
"I could tell by their words leading up to it that they were confident. That’s what makes the game great. It was a big buildup, but we understood that the game was going to be played on Sunday."
-- Dallas quarterback Tony Romo
Cowboys Rolle over Giants on winning drive
As we pointed out Sunday night, on the final drive of the game the Cowboys took full advantage of the groin injury suffered in the fourth quarter by Giants' cornerback Trumaine McBride. When McBride went out the Gants initially replaced him with Jayron Hosley. On the game's final drive, Terrell Thomas moved from the slot to McBride's spot on the outside, Antrel Rolle moved to the slot and Ryan Mundy took over at safety. On two of the three critical third downs the Cowboys converted during their winning drive they managed to get Dez Bryant matched up on Rolle, and got the ball to him for first downs both times. On the third conversion Rolle fell down trying to cover Cole Beasley.
On the Channel 9 post-game show, Amani Toomer correctly pointed to this matchup as decisive:
"What it came down to at the end was the Cowboys going after Antrel Rolle," Toomer said. "Every time you have a safety on a wide receiver it’s a mismatch. The Cowboys saw that. They went to that mismatch on their fourth-quarter drive. The lack of depth in the Giants secondary ended up being the main factor why they lost."
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