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‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review of Giants-Cowboys: Song remains the same for Giants

Let’s review Sunday’s fifth straight loss

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New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

For the New York Giants, it’s the same sad song. Another losing Monday. Let’s review Sunday’s 37-34 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in our traditional ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ style.

Kudos to ...

Jason Garrett — Credit where it is due. The Giants’ offensive coordinator called a terrific, creative game on Sunday. The Giants scored a touchdown on a reverse to Evan Engram. There was a nice gain on jet sweep by Engram. There was a two-point conversion pass to left tackle Andrew Thomas. There were more downfield throws than we had seen over the first four weeks. There was a third-down handoff to fullback Elijhaa Penny, his first carry of the season. Garrett seems to have figured out what the Giants can do well running the football, and there was a nice mix to his play-calling.

“I thought overall Jason put together a good, aggressive game plan. We were taking shots down the field, our guys made plays, we put them in a position to go out there and win a football game,” coach Joe Judge said. “Overall, I’ve got to watch the tape, but I liked the way we called the game today. It was aggressive, we gave our guys shots down the field and guys made plays when we needed them to.”

Graham Gano — The Giants’ placekicker went 4 of 4 and tied an NFL record by becoming the first player in Giants’ history to kick three field goal of 50+ yards in a game. Gano made kicks of 55, 50 and 54 yards as well as a 28-yarder. The only other Giants kicker with multiple 50-yarders in a game is Raul Allegre, who booted field goals of 53 and 52 yards at Philadelphia on Nov. 15, 1987.

Kyler Fackrell — The Giants’ edge defender made like a running back after intercepting a tipped pass, weaving his way for a diving 46-yard touchdown that gave the Giants a 14-3 lead less that 10 minutes into the game. Fackrell also had a tackle for loss and a pass defensed. The only thing he couldn’t do was run fast enough to prevent a Dallas touchdown on a pass to quarterback Dak Prescott.

Darius Slayton — The second-year wide receiver had a huge day with 8 catches for 129 yards, including a brilliant, one-handed 29-yard grab to open the fourth quarter. Debate all you want whether Slayton is a No. 1 receiver. He is a really good player, regardless.

Devonta Freeman — The veteran running back was a workhorse for the Giants on Sunday with 17 carries for 60 yards (3.5 per carry). His long run was only 9 yards, but he was effective between the tackles all day. His 4-yard touchdown run was a great example of power running. Freeman also caught two passes for 27 yards.

Logan Ryan — The veteran defensive back played well, as usual. This, though, is for his class reaction to the Dak Prescott injury and his determined vow that “I’m not running anywhere. I’m here. I don’t care what the record is. I’m here. I’m going to lead our troops.” Losses aside, each week it becomes more obvious why the Giants wanted to add Ryan to this team.

Wet Willies to ...

Blake Martinez — The inside linebacker and defensive captain is a really good player and generally a tackling machine. You just can’t whiff on the tackle of Amari Cooper Martinez missed in the game’s final minute, turning what should have been a short gain and a third down into a 15-yard completion and a first down. That got Dallas started on its game-winning drive. At least Martinez owned it:

“Definitely a tough one,” he said. “Obviously, you want to make all the plays possible, just a classic game of inches – you hesitate, think he’s going to underthrow him, possibly have a chance for a pick, instead I just need to go make the play.”

Cameron Fleming — A veteran player who has been part of a lot of winning teams in his career, Fleming’s illegal shift penalty wiped out a touchdown on an otherwise perfectly executed fake field goal by the Giants. It was subtle, but Fleming was definitely not set at the snap. A player who has been around as long as Fleming has shouldn’t make that mistake.

Andrew Thomas — I don’t really know what to say after Thomas’s performance on Sunday. It wasn’t good. At all. Per Pro Football Focus, the rookie left tackle gave up a ridiculous nine pressures.

Thomas has been struggling with speed to the outside and counter moves to the inside. On Sunday’s Daniel Jones sack/fumble for a Dallas score, Thomas barely got a hand on Demarcus Lawrence as he blew past him to the outside.

As PFF’s Mike Renner wrote, “The signs of improvement you’d hope to see from a youngster as the season goes on weren’t there in this one.”

Daniel Jones — I was going to give Jones a ‘Kwillie.’ There were lots of moments of brilliance from the second-year quarterback. There was the fact that he was hit 10 times and pressured a staggering 19 times in 35 drop backs. So, there were lots of good things, and lots of running for his life that wasn’t his fault. Still ...

Same old, same old with Jones. When he’s hit, he doesn’t hang onto the football. Not Jones fault that Thomas is struggling. It is Jones’ fault that he left the ball where Lawrence could swat it out, costing the Giants 7 points. Jones has now fumbled in four straight games and has 22 fumbles in just 18 NFL games.

With the game in his hands at the end, Jones also could not engineer a game-winning drive. He nearly threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage with the game tied at 34 and the Giants in possession with 1:56 to play. He made a couple of questionable decisions to throw the ball to Dion Lewis, and while scrambling on third down missed an open Lewis to force a punt.

“I think we made the play on the first (down), and Darius (Slayton) made a good play coming back to the ball. Probably should’ve thrown it away on that check-down to Dion (Lewis), the first one. And then the second one, trying to get something and get out of bounds. And the third down play, got to find someone and make a play there for us. Tough situation, ball’s in our hands and we got to find a way to win the game,” Jones said.

Jones couldn’t summon any magic Sunday, something even Andy Dalton managed to do. If he is going to be the Giants’ long-term answer at quarterback, he has to find a way to win at the end of games like Sunday’s.

Kwillie to ...

Markus Golden — Giants fans have been clamoring to see more of Golden, who played sparingly in the first four games after leading the Giants with 10 sacks a season ago. With Oshane Ximines on IR with a shoulder injury and Lorenzo Carter possibly lost for the season with an Achilles injury, they got their wish Sunday. The results were decidedly mixed.

Golden recorded a half-sack and a pair of quarterback hits in a season-high 57 snaps. He also committed a critical face mask penalty with the Giants leading 34-31, kick-starting a drive that saw Dallas tie the game at 34-34 on a Greg Zuerlein field goal, and was burned a few times by being out of position and giving up the edge.