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Four things we learned as Giants lose to Dallas, 37-34

What can we take away from the Giants’ fifth loss?

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants came within inches of picking up their first win of the 2020 season, but came up just short against the Dallas Cowboys in a 37-34 loss. The Giants came within a missed tackle, a couple blades of grass on the sideline, and a few inches on a field goal of getting a shot at winning the game in overtime.

The Giants were able to take advantage of a woeful Dallas defense for their biggest offensive outburst of the year. But despite the Cowboys’ offense being forced into a dramatic change in the second half, the Giants weren’t quite able to slow them down enough.

What did we learn as the Giants lost their fifth-straight game?

Dak Prescott went out making history

Dak Prescott exited the game in simply sickening fashion, suffering a horrific ankle injury on a designed QB run. It was confirmed in the fourth quarter that he is already undergoing surgery to repair it. But before he went down — and the entire complexion of the game changed — Dak put together an almost completely unique stat line.

Putting the Giants-Cowboys rivalry aside for the moment, I hope every Giants fan would join me in wishing Dak a complete and speedy recovery.

The same too for Lorenzo Carter, who exited the game after the first drive with an Achilles injury.

Graham Gano makes Giants’ history

Dak Prescott wasn’t the only player to make history this game. It only took five games for Graham Gano to carve his name into the Giants’ history books. With his 55-yard field goal with 9:25 remaining in the third quarter, Gano became the first Giants’ kicker in the Super Bowl era to connect on three field goal attempts of 50+ yards in the same game.

All told, Gano went 4-4 and continues to be a fantastic pickup for a team that had big questions at kicker when training camp started.

Penalties sunk the Giants

Heading into the week, it seemed as though this game would come down to whichever team played the cleanest game. Early on it seemed as though that would be the Giants, as they took advantage of a sloppy pass for a pick-6. Points off of turnovers have been a consistent thorn in the side of the Dallas defense, and this is the fourth game in a row in which they’ve had Dallas playing from behind.

But ultimately Dallas played just a bit cleaner of a game.

The Giants finished the game with 8 penalties for 81 yards. Perhaps more importantly, two of their penalties wiped 14 points off the board, including a fake field goal turned touchdown pass. That one had Joe Judge throwing his headset and probably lucky he was wearing a mask to hide the four-letter words he had to be shouting.

The Giants had been disciplined in previous weeks, but this time their mistakes likely cost them the win.

Fourth time in four weeks

If there’s one play the Giants either need to fix NOW or rip out of their playbook altogether, it’s the stick route to Evan Engram.

For the fourth time in four weeks, Daniel Jones was caught staring down Engram on the quick pass, and it was very nearly picked off.

Again.

The previous three attempts had been to the offensive right, but this time the play was run to the left, but with the same result. Jones never looked anywhere but at Engram, and his eyes lead LB Joe Thomas directly to the ball.

The Giants had just lost possession on a sack-fumble the previous drive and turnovers on consecutive drives would have been a disaster. Fortunately, the ball glanced off Thomas’ wrist (there’s a reason why he’s a linebacker), and fell safely incomplete.

Still, this has been a consistent problem for Jones dating back to his rookie year, and it has to get fixed.

Engram has been the subject of considerable derision from Giants fans this season, but he hasn’t been to blame here. This is on the quarterback, and his decisions to throw the ball before it’s even snapped.