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Giants-Cowboys, things we learned: Worst 16-game season in franchise history now likely

Let’s look at that and what else we learned on Sunday

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Shane Vereen can’t reach a deep throw from Eli Manning.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The worst 16-game season in franchise history is now easily in reach for the New York Giants. After Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys the Giants need a win and a tie over their final three games to match the previous 16-game worst, a 3-12-1 record in 1983.

Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said he was “really proud of the men in that locker room after all we went through this week.”

It didn’t matter, though. The Giants weren’t good enough on defense, giving up touchdown of 81, 50, 20 and 15 yards. They weren’t nearly efficient enough on offense, either. Locked in a 10-10 game at halftime and needing to be nearly perfect to function on offense, Giants’ receivers (Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Roger Lewis Jr.) dropped three well-thrown balls that would have resulted in drive-sustaining second-half first downs.

Gettleman could be GM

Former Giants executive and Carolina Panthers GM Dave Gettleman could be in line to be the team’s new general manager. The Giants could hire Gettleman at any time, since he was fired in July and is currently not affiliated with any NFL team. They would have to wait until the offseason, and receive permission, to interview candidates currently employed by other teams.

Remembering Rhett

After being targeted only 14 times with 11 receptions in the first 12 games, tight end Rhett Ellison had four catches on Sunday. His 1-yard touchdown reception from Eli Manning was his second TD of the season. That is a career-high for the six-year veteran.

Spags played it conservative

Spagnuolo had a couple of chances to gamble, and passed. With the score 3-3 in the second quarter, the Giants had fourth-and-3 at the Dallas 37-yard line. Rather than go for the first down or try the 55-yard field goal, he chose to punt. Brad Wing hit the ball into the end zone. Trailing 17-10 with 4:42 to go, Spagnuolo also chose to punt on fourth-and-8 from the Dallas 46.

On the Giants’ first possession, they had first-and-20 at the Dallas 23-yard line after a holding penalty on Jon Halapio. They chose the safe route of three straight running plays, which led to a 39-yard Aldrick Rosas field goal.

Darius Powe gets his shot

Powe looked like he was going to make the 53-man roster in preseason before suffering an ankle injury and getting waived. The Giants brought him back to the practice squad in October, and added him to the active roster this week.

Powe, 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, started while Tavarres King and Travis Rudolph were both inactive. Powe caught two passes for 13 yards. Sadly, it looks like his season is over. He was on crutches in the locker room after the game with what a broken right foot.

An Odell Beckham sighting

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Odell Beckham on the sidelines during Sunday’s game.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was seen around the locker room during the week, sans the walking boot he has been wearing as his fractured ankle healed. Sunday, he was on the sideline during the game.

Conspiracy theorists will say that had something to do with McAdoo being gone. I prefer to look at this way — without the boot he was healthy enough to be on the sidelines to support his teammates.

Eli Apple inactive again

Whatever is going on with 2016 first-round pick Eli Apple continues to be a mystery. Apple was inactive for the fourth consecutive game on Sunday, and each week the Giants have offered a different explanation.

First, his mother’s brain surgery that caused him to miss practice time the week before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Then, not enough practice time. Then, apparent back and hip injuries. This week, not enough snaps in practice.

Spagnuolo said “the hope” is that Apple will play next week against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“The decision there was because he just didn’t get enough reps during the week,” Spagnuolo said. “I talked with him earlier. He’s going to be ready to go next week and hopefully we’re up and running.”

Apple issued this tweet after the game:

30 without 30

The Giants’ streak of games without scoring 30 points has now reached 30 — 29 with Ben McAdoo as head coach and one running his offense without him.

The Giants had a promising opening drive — 18 plays, 62 yards, 9:24 off the clock — the led to a field goal. They also had an eight-play, 63-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter.

In the second half, though, they punted the first six times they had the ball. Manning was intercepted on the final two possessions, with the game already out of reach.

What there was of the Giants’ crowd — there were a lot of empty seats at MetLife Stadium, and lots of others occupied by Cowboys’ fans — roared when Manning took the field for the first time. The longer the game went, though, the more inept the offense became.

“Offensively, we had to make some big plays. Left some out there, so it was definitely a frustrating game being that close. Our defense was playing lights out. They were playing lights out all game,” said Engram. “It was really frustrating as an offensive player, as an offense, that we came up, that we can’t play complementary football. We didn’t today as an offense. Defense, they played unreal. We got to be better. It’s that simple. We got to help them out.”

It’s been a long time since the offense had really been able to do offer much in the way of help.