This weekly segment could easily be called 'Giants vs Cowboys: Five Key Turnovers' this week. Despite all of the bad plays that were made, the New York Giants showed some things that were good to see in Sunday's game. The wide receiver corps looks like it's going to be among the league's best, especially if Rueben Randle's training camp progression is an indication of an emerging star (which it looks like it very well may be), and if Hakeem NIcks is going to stay healthy (which is to be determined). The other thing that was good to see is that the defense was not bullied on Sunday night, in fact I thought they played well. It's tough to look good at all when you spend practically an entire half on the field as they did in the first half. With all that being said here's a look back at the five key plays from Sunday night's turnover fest, which had a football found both hands of Da'rel Scott late in the fourth quarter, would probably have a much more positive spin.
Eli Manning throws an interception on the first play of the game
This was a bad turnover and even though it wasn't a back-breaker because the defense was able to come through with a big stop and hold Dallas to a field goal, it set a tone for the first half of the game-and was part of an on-going effort to wear the Giants' defense down early.
This was a bad turnover. The Giants had regrouped after the first interception and were about to capitalize shortly after NIcks and Manning had connected on a 57-yard pass play, a play in which Nicks showed some escapability and speed that was sorely lacking last year. This play was eerily reminiscent of the fumble that occurred against the Cowboys in the first game last year that sent David Wilson to Tom Coughlin's doghouse for the rest of the season. It was Wilson's first carry of the season, but hopefully not a sign of things to come.
David Wilson fumbles on the Giants 27-yard line and it's recovered by Dallas
He fumbles again! This was a deflating play for Giants fans as they watched their talented running back build his own doghouse. Wilson's fumble had a cumulative effect that might have shown up later in the game by thrusting Scott into the lead role for the rest of the game and putting him in place on the final drive of the game. As Collinsworth pointed out, if Wilson or Brown is in on Manning's late screen pass is it complete? Was that Scott tipped pick six a matter of bad timing because the quarterback and running back didn't spend a lot of training camp time perfecting that play?
Manning throws a touchdown pass to Cruz to bring the Giants within six
This play was huge because it brought the GIants within six points, and gave you a feeling that the Giants could pull out this game, and as an aside, despite having Peyton Manning on my fantasy football team and watching him put up a whopping 66 points -- my fantasy team was actually losing and losing big heading into the Sunday night game, which all changed thanks to Cruz and his three touchdowns. This play brought the suspense back into the game which had been missing after watching the Giants serve up the football to the Cowboys defense for the first half of the game.
Da'rel Scott tips a screen pass which is returned 49 yards by the Cowboys for the game-winning touchdown
The Giants get the football back down 6 points with 2:41 seconds left on the clock at their own 17-yard line, but they're going to win this football game. Manning is going to march this team right down the field and the Giants are going to escape Jerry World with a victory. I know it, you know it, and the Cowboys defense knows it. After a 26-yard completion to Randle the excitement sets in. Eli checks the play and sets up the screen beautifully, here comes a big play. The pass from Manning, oh no, Scott's not paying attention! Don't tip the ball in the air!! Oh no!!! Expletives!
There were a lot of other big moments in the game, which is what you would expect from a Cowboys-Giants game. The Ryan Mundy interception and return to the 1-yard line was perhaps the most frustrating play in the game, well more of what followed from the Giants with them not being able to punch the ball in the end-zone. The play where Amukamara collided with Mundy was also a huge play that could potentially cost the Giants some points in this upcoming week vs. the Broncos. The Trumaine Mcbride "muffed punt" (though it's hard to assign him any real blame that's how NFL.com's play-by-play classified the play) was another big play and tough break for the Giants that led to a gimme touchdown for the Cowboys up 17 late in the third quarter. Hopefully next week when we're talking about the five big plays, we're not discussing five of the seven touchdown passes Peyton Manning just threw on the Giants.