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5 noteworthy plays in Giants’ loss to Dallas Cowboys

Let’s look at the plays, or sequences of plays, that mattered

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are swept by the Dallas Cowboys after their Week 15 21-6 home loss. New York’s offense was unwatchable with Mike Glennon as the signal-caller. The veteran quarterback threw three interceptions as the Giants’ defense attempted to keep the game competitive.

The Giants benched Glennon in favor of Jake Fromm, who led an impressive scoreless drive at the end of the game. After the game, Joe Judge stated there would be a “conversation” about the quarterback position if Daniel Jones can’t dress for next week’s game in Philadelphia.

Judge showed uncharacteristic aggressiveness in the game. He sent his offense on the field to attempt a fourth-down conversion around the Giants’ 30-yard line three separate times. On the final try, Matt Peart committed a false start penalty that forced a punt. I honestly don’t hate the aggressive nature, and it’s something the fan base has clamored to see for awhile.

The decision seemed to deviate from his recent punting choices, but it certainly worked in the Giants’ favor on the opening second-half drive where Devontae Booker gained 31 yards on a fourth-and-1.

That Booker rush, plus a 15-yard horse-collar tackle, helped the Giants with their second field goal. The Giants have now lost their last three games by double-digit points. The offense is difficult to watch, the defense is heavily relied upon, and the Giants’ chances of winning seem improbable every Sunday.

Similar mistakes plague the Giants. Terrible execution coupled with poorly timed penalties and lousy quarterback play is the downfall of the current Giants. There were way too many self-inflicted wounds all season. We witnessed it again in week 15. Here are the five plays, or sequence of plays, that led to this 21-6 Giants’ loss.

Play(s) 1: Glennon’s mistakes

The Giants struggled to do much on the offensive side of the ball but having a turnover-prone quarterback exacerbates the issues. Mike Glennon threw three interceptions.

The first interception wasn’t as much Glennon’s fault, rather another terrible pass-blocking play by right guard Will Hernandez (71). On a third-and-5 in the first quarter, Demarcus Lawrence (90), as a 3-Technique, works his way through the inside shoulder of Hernandez, who appeared to be expecting a looper into his A-gap. Why Hernandez decided to ignore the immediate threat, I don’t know. Glennon attempts to throw the ball and gets hit by Lawrence, popping the ball in the air for an easy interception.

The second interception was another aggressive throw from Glennon where he seemingly didn’t account for a deep defender. Off the play-action, Glennon attempts to find Sterling Shepard deep with two defenders in the area. Glennon throws the ball behind Shepard and right to a defender who easily intercepts the pass. Throwing the ball to this location against that coverage is not wise.

Before being benched, Glennon’s third interception came on this broken play. The pocket’s integrity is compromised on second-and-10, so Glennon attempts to escape. Inexplicably, he rolls to his left and awkwardly lofts an under thrown pass in the direction of Trevon Diggs (7). The interception was ruled an incompletion after a solid defensive effort from Kenny Golladay (19), but it was overturned. The Giants aren’t a good football team, and they’ll never win football games with this many mistakes from the quarterback position.

Play 2: Barkley’s fumble

The sequence of plays right before halftime is undoubtedly a microcosm of the 2021 New York Giants. After a long 16-play, 68-yard drive, the Giants held the Cowboys to three points - a win for the defense. The Giants received the football with 1:39 left in the half with a couple of timeouts. The Giants run two screens to Saquon Barkley; the offense has little confidence in Glennon, and these plays are easily diagnosed. This sequence of plays set up this Saquon Barkley run.

New York used a timeout to allow its offense an opportunity to score points. That, in and of itself, is fine. However, mistakes and poor execution prove to burn the Giants once again as Barkley fumbles the football and allows Dallas to expand its lead. The Cowboys took advantage of the error and kicked a field goal to take a 12-point lead into halftime. When it rains, it pours, and the Giants can’t seem to do much right on offense.

Play(s) 3: Dallas touchdowns

The Giants’ defense only allowed two touchdowns — more than enough to defeat a hapless Giants offense.

Ezekiel Elliott (21) scored on a draw play up the gut for the game’s first points in the first quarter. The Dallas offensive line and tight end Dalton Schultz (86) did a great job climbing to the second level and giving Elliott an easier path to score.

Schultz scored the second touchdown. Dallas was in 13 personnel and used a play-action pass where Schultz broke away from Logan Ryan (23). It was the final score for the Cowboys just before Dallas missed the extra point.

Play 4: Quarterback sneak

As previously mentioned, Judge was more aggressive in this game. Down 15-6 with 4:31 remaining in the third quarter, the Giants run this quarterback sneak that Dallas easily stops. The Giants hoped Glennon could use his frame to just fall forward, but he’s late to get low, struggles to find a crease, and the Giants’ line doesn’t get much push.

Play(s) 5: Devontae Booker runs

Both of the Giants’ field-goal drives were set up by Booker runs that went for 28 and 31 yards, respectively. Booker bounces the first run outside of poor blocking and then outran a few defenders for the impressive gain. The second play was on fourth-and-1 - a HB pitch with pre-snap motion from Shepard. Darius Slayton (86) did an excellent job blocking down on the nickel defender, while Matt Skura (67) was excellent kicking out Diggs.