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Giants-Cowboys “Kudos & Wet Willies” review

Let’s assess the good and the bad from Sunday’s latest loss

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Rhett Ellison celebrates his touchdown catch.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Another game, another loss for the New York Giants on Sunday as they continue their march toward the worst 16-game season in franchise history. Let’s get to the “Kudos & Wet Willies” from a close-for-three-quarters 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.


Kudos to ...

Wayne Gallman — Was the Giants’ primary running back on Sunday, which may have partially been due to Orleans Darkwa playing through illness. Whatever the reason, Gallman responded. He had career highs in carries (12, yards (59) and receptions (7).

Rhett Ellison — Four pass receptions tied a career-high for the blocking tight end. His 1-yard touchdown catch was his second score of the season, which is a career-high for the six-year veteran.

Wet Willies to ...

Giants’ lack of aggression — It would be cruel, and wrong, to give Steve Spagnuolo a ‘Wet Willie’ in his first game as interim head coach. Last week was incredibly difficult and Spagnuolo handled it with grace. The Giants also appeared prepared and read to play on Sunday.

What has to be criticized, though, is Spags’ conservative decision-making during the game. Punting on fourth-and-3 from the Dallas 37-yard line with the score 3-3 in the second quarter? Absolutely had to go for the first down there. You can argue that the Giants also should have gone for it on fourth-and-8 at the Dallas 46-yard line with 4:42 to play and the score 17-10. Also, there was that first possession of the game. First-and-20 at the Cowboys’ 23-yard line and the Giants run the ball three straight times? They basically give up and accept the field goal? Mike that’s on offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, but it’s still far too passive.

Critical drops — With the score still tied at 10-10, Roger Lewis Jr. and Sterling Shepard both dropped perfectly-thrown third-down passes that forced punts. Catches would have given the Giants first downs in Dallas territory. With the score 17-10, Evan Engram dropped a ball that would have been a first down. As slim as the Giants’ margin for error is on offense, you have to make the plays that are supposed to be made.

Big plays allowed — The Giants gave up an 81-yard touchdown on little more than a dump off pass to running back Rod Smith, a 50-yard touchdown to Dez Bryant thanks to a missed tackle by Brandon Dixon (who otherwise played well) and a 20-yard touchdown to a completely uncovered Jason Witten.

Right side of the offensive line — It almost feels unfair to give individual ‘Wet Willies’ to Jon Halapio and Bobby Hart — they shouldn’t be playing to begin with. Halapio was a sieve at right guard and ended up rotating with veteran John Greco. He also committed a key holding penalty on the Giants’ first possession. Hart didn’t give up any sacks to Demarcus Lawrence, but Lawrence got two hits and six total pressures on Eli Manning. He was in the quarterback’s face all day.

Kwillie to ...

Eli Manning — It’s ridiculous to criticize the quarterback for his two late-game interceptions. The game was already out of reach and at that point you take more risks. Manning had a really good first half, except for missing a wide open Ellison with the Giants using an unbalanced line on their first drive. He also had a couple of near misses in the third quarter on deep balls to Lewis and Shane Vereen, though since he was running to his left and throwing across his body it’s tough to criticize the one to Vereen. Some good from Manning, and a nice reception for him from the crowd at the beginning of the game, but not enough.