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New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys: PFF Review

A Pro Football Focus-based review of the devastating 24-21 New York Giants defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was difficult to stomach. Fresh off a four-game win streak that had New York Giants fan hopes soaring, the team came down with a thud on Sunday in a 24-21 loss to the hated Dallas Cowboys.

As one would expect, Pro Football Focus was not too pleased with the Giants and it showed in the grades. I have to admit some of these were interesting, and some of these echo the thoughts of what many Giants fans have already thought about the team's strengths and weaknesses. I'll let you, my friendly reader, draw your own conclusions. Without further ado:

Offensive MVP

Kevin Boothe (+3.2) - What? An offensive lineman is the highest graded player on the offensive side of the ball? Yep. Boothe is one of 4 offensive linemen that scored over +1.0 in the run game, as he was dominant at the point of attack from the center position. He graded out at +3.1 run blocking and allowed only one QB hurry as he had no issue transitioning from guard to center. This is in stark contrast to last week, where Boothe had a -1.9 grade (doing particularly badly in the run blocking department) at left guard.

Key Offensive Contributors

Justin Pugh (+2.1) - Pugh is yet another offensive lineman to grade out well in this game. However, he did not make his mark in the run game. Rather, he was near flawless in pass protection where he only allowed one QB hurry for the second straight week as he continues his torrid ascent. I don't think I heard Pugh's named called once yesterday. Ditto George Selvie, and that's a great thing for Eli's health.

Rueben Randle (+1.4) - Randle had a nice day. Zero drops, ran correct routes, and Eli Manning had a 104.2 rating when throwing to him (and that doesn't count drawing a PI flag as well). He made some plays with his legs and gave Giants fans some hope that he can continue to develop into an impact player at the position. He abused Morris Claiborne when matched up against him.

James Brewer (+1.3) - Brewer is the third offensive lineman who made it into the positives this game. He filled in admirably at left guard and showed some real skill. Brewer was flawless in pass protection. He allowed nothing in 25 pass block snaps. He also was able to create some running lanes for Brown and Jacobs.

Bear Pascoe (+1.1) - Much like Boothe, Pascoe makes a trip straight from the "Offensive Villians" section to getting a positive grade. This was pretty much all run blocking for him, as he lined up with John Conner in certain sets to pave the way for a 200-yard rushing performance.

Offensive Goat

Victor Cruz (-1.7) - It can certainly be questioned whether Cruz should be the worst graded player of the game on offense, but I don't think there's much doubt that he deserves to be dinged for his perfomance on Sunday. He was graded negatively for his fumble, as well as his inability to get open. He caught only 2 passes for 27 yards on four targets.

Offensive Villians

Will Beatty (-1.4) - Beatty was again graded positive in the run game. In fact, he graded out at +2.1. But he was absolutely horrendous when it came to pass protection, allowing five hurries on 34 pass blocking snaps.

Defensive MVP

Terrell Thomas (+3.3) - I think it's fair to say this was Thomas' best game this year. He graded out positively in both run defense and pass coverage. He allowed a paltry three catches for 25 yards, with his only misstep being the 20-yard TD to Jason Witten. He also had four stops. This is especially impressive given the increased duty he had when Trumaine McBride went down.

Key Defensive Contributors

Cullen Jenkins (+1.9) - This was fairly obvious. Jenkins did some great work in the pass rush game, notching two QB sacks and another 2 hurries. At times seemed like the only person interested in putting Romo into the turf, so for that, we thank him.

Ryan Mundy (+1.2) - Mundy did pretty much everything in this game, grading mildly positive in pass coverage, pass rush, and run defense to put up a respectable score. In only 18 snaps, he was credited with three tackles, one QB hurry, two defensive stops, and zero missed tackles. Not bad.

Defensive Goat

Mathias Kiwanuka (-4.6) - I don't think anybody is surprised to see this. Kiwanuka provided nothing while pass rushing, notching half a sack and a QB hurry in 43 pass-rush attempts. He also missed a tackle, and was heavily marked down for his two personal foul penalties.

Defensive Villians

Jon Beason (-4.4) - Some will be surprised to see Beason so low. I don't think he should be considered THIS low, but he certainly had a bad game. He was not good in coverage and was heavily dinged for his play against the run, where he missed as many tackles as he made (two). He also rushed the passer six times but came up empty.

Prince Amukamara (-3.2) - Amukamara was graded poorly on his pass coverage, where he allowed a few too many completions and also committed a penalty. I am of the opinion (and my opinion only) that this grade was a bit too heavy-handed for his play, which was certainly disappointing but not as awful as this would suggest.

Antrel Rolle (-1.5) - Sensing a common theme here? Rolle graded poorly in pass coverage, and after that last Dallas series, I can see why. He also got marked down for his personal foul penalty. It was a frustrating day for everyone in the secondary not named Terrell Thomas, Ryan Mundy or Will Hill (who graded out average).

Jacquian Williams (-1.4) - Williams gets marked down here for what you'd expect. Decent showing in the pass game, but inadequate in the run game as Dallas ran down his side and he wasn't totally up to the task.

Jason Pierre-Paul (-1.3) - One week from being the defensive MVP and DPOW, JPP's visage was on a milk carton on Sunday. He was more or less invisible for his 27 snaps, in which he recorded no pass rush and one tackle. That tackle he made, however, was a defensive stop.

Justin Tuck (-1.3) - Tuck managed to get a sack and three more hurries, but it took him 40 pass-rush snaps to do it, earning him a pretty bad pass rush grade. He did, however, record two stops in the run game.

Special Teams Impact Performers

Josh Brown (-1.3) - This was simply for Brown's inability to gain any touchbacks, as most of his kickoffs didn't even make it into the end zone.


The offensive line managed to create 126 yards of rushing BEFORE CONTACT. That means Brown and Jacobs had that many yards untouched, as they only broke two tackles between the two of them en route to the best running performance of the year. That's an incredible number.

The Giants managed to convert only 12 pressures into four sacks. That's pretty astonishing, and it shows that the box score can lie. This was NOT a good game for the pass rush.

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