The Giants’ defense was fantastic and along with the special teams, did what they could to keep the team in the game. But unfortunately, all three sides of the ball need to show up for a team to win the game.
There were few winners in the game and plenty of losers as the offense put forth a performance that was, frankly, offensive.
Winner - Odell Beckham Jr. (and his agent)
One of the big storylines of the offseason was whether or not the Giants would extend Odell Beckham with two years of control left on his rookie contract. The discussion arose at a time when fellow All-World players Aaron Donald (another 2014 draft selection), and Le’Veon Bell were holding out.
Beckham didn’t hold out and was, as we all know by now, injured in the second preseason game. The Giants hope to have him back in the second week. The first week’s embarrassing offensive performance certainly had to remind them of how important he is to their offense. An extension might not be at the forefront of the mind of either party (the Giants nor Beckham), but he has leverage and his absence proves how vital he is to their offense.
Winner - Dez Bryant’s Acting Coach
Dez Bryant spent much of the first half being shut down by Janoris Jenkins, more than once asking the officials for a flag.
He finally got one late in the first half, which put the Cowboys in position to score their only touchdown of the night. His pleas must have been particularly effective and well delivered to sway the officials to throw a flag on a play where Jackrabbit did nothing wrong.
Bad PI call. Hand fighting, Jenkins gets his head turned and angles Dez out of bounds. pic.twitter.com/p6fpFFYRMp— RegularSZN Ethan (@EthanGSN) September 11, 2017
Winner - Linebacker B.J. Goodson
Jameel McClain may not have been the MIKE, but it looks like the Giants finally found one in B.J. Goodson
The defense played excellently as a whole, but the second year linebacker stood out. In his first start, Goodson established himself as a legitimate player, coming down-hill hard in the running game and showing great awareness in the passing game. Goodson showed why the Giants were excited about him leading in to this season, and it seems as though Jerry Reese found a gem in the fourth round.
Goodson finished with a monstrous 18 total tackles (16 solo), many of them hits like this:
B.J. Goodson with an all time fake out pic.twitter.com/YuBTc6msKD— ️ ️ ️ Ambassador (@UG76_) September 11, 2017
Loser - The New York Giants’ Offense
This game was an embarrassment. For the second time in two years the Giants failed to live up to lofty expectations. While the Giants did flash the potential of their weapons, namely Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, their offensive line showed all the flaws from 2016 and much of the preseason. It wasn’t all the offensive line, with skill-position players failing to execute and Eli Manning throwing a backbreaking interception. But to my eye it all starts up front. The left side of the offensive line wasn’t great, but it was good enough — it was, as was the case in preseason, the right side that dragged the offense down.
Make no mistake about it, the offense lost this game and the absence of Odell Beckham Jr. exacerbated the issues, and because of that it isn’t yet prudent to over-react. However, the offense has some fundamental problems that need addressing.
Loser - Eli Manning
Excepting a fourth quarter interception — which was a classic “Eli” attempt to make a play when few on the offense were — Eli Manning was efficient. His biggest problem was the offense surrounding him. The offensive line rarely gave him time to look down the field and he was constantly dancing in the pocket to avoid pressure. Making matters worse, they also largely failed to open holes in the running game to take some of the weight off Manning’s right arm. There were also a number of miscues from the skill position players that helped doom drives.
Manning wasn’t great, but he was about as good as the surrounding offense allowed him to be.
Loser - The New York Giants’ Defense
The New York Giants’ defense put up a valiant effort in Dallas. They played hard all game and did everything they could to deliver the win to the Giants. It wasn’t their fault they were saddled with an offense that made the Ancient Mariner’s albatross look like party balloon. The Giants have a championship caliber defense — They held a potent Cowboys’ offense to a single touchdown while playing almost an entire game’s worth of snaps in the first half alone. They, collectively, were the real losers in this game.