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'Kudos & Wet Willies,' Cowboys disaster edition

Eli Manning has to shoulder a lot of the blame for the Giants' loss to Dallas on Sunday. (AP Photo)

Unfortunately, it was more of the same from the New York Giants Sunday. The Giants showed again that they just aren't good enough to compete with the big boys, dropping a 31-20 decision at home to the 8-1 Dallas Cowboys.

Let's review, 'Kudos & Wet Willies' style.

Kudos to ...

Jeremy Shockey. Yes, No. 80 is still one helluva weapon when when the Giants choose to use him. He abused Dallas safety Roy Williams Sunday, finishing with a career-high 12 catches for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Gibril Wilson. Led the Giants defense with 10 tackles and an interception. Terrell Owens' 50-yard touchdown catch looked like a mistaken ready by rookie Michael Johnson, not Wilson.

Brandon Jacobs. The beastly 265-pound running back didn't have his way with the Cowboys. He did, however, run hard and was effective, picking up 95 yards on 23 carries. His numbers would have been better if the Giants hadn't been behind late.

Big Blue View Nation. More than 100 comments during and immediately after the game! Way to go, gang! That was easily our best game-day participation since Week 1. Thanks for dropping in.

Wet Willies to ...

Eli Manning. The Giants needed Eli to step up Sunday, and it didn't happen. His line (23-of-34, 236 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) looks acceptable. If you watched the game, though, you know that Eli did not measure up in a big spot. Three inexcusable delay of game penalties and two sacks at the end of the first half that were his fault and changed the momentum. The biggest difference Sunday was that the better quarterback, Tony Romo, was playing for Dallas.

Michael Johnson. I love Johnson, and I think he is going to be a terrific player. The rookie 7th-round pick had a terrible day, though. He messed up on the long Owens' touchdown, vacating the middle, had a late-hit penalty and missed a tackle on Marion Barber that could have given the Giants the ball back when they still had a chance.

Sam Madison. The Giants left Madison one-on-one with TO most of the game, and TO won the battle with 6 catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

More post-game thoughts

Clearly, the better team won the football game. The Giants have some weapons, do lots of things well and are improving, but it's apparent the Cowboys are -- along with New England and Indianapolis -- are among the three elite teams in the league.

That said, the two holding penalties the Giants took in the second half were devastating. One negated an 83-yard kickoff return by Ahmad Bradshaw, the other a touchdown by Brandon Jacobs. The shame of both plays was that neither penalty actually helped the runners since they occurred away from the play.

The Giants did catch a couple of breaks Sunday with Arizona defeating Detroit and Philadelphia sneaking past Washington. The Giants and Detroit Lions are both 6-3, with Washington right behind at 5-4.

To say the least, next Sunday's game in Detroit is huge. The Giants need to win, or they start to face a potential free-fall like the one they suffered last season.