There will be no ‘Kudos’ for the New York Giants in this ‘Kudos & Wet Willies’ review. Not a single unit, player, or coach is worthy of having anything nice said about them after the pitiful display by the Giants in Sunday night’s 40-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Wet Willies to ...
Offensive line — Terrible. Overmatched. Helpless to give Daniel Jones any chance at all.
Jones was sacked seven times, and had at least one sack nullified by penalty. He was hit a dozen times. He ran 13 times, and the overwhelming majority of those came when he was desperately trying to avoid the relentless Dallas pass rush.
Not a single Giants’ offensive lineman was above reproach.
Andrew Thomas had a devastating false start that killed the momentum of the Giants’ first drive, and was the beginning of a night filled with an unbelievable number of mistakes. He also had a holding penalty. Thomas did not play up to his usual standards, though the hamstring injury he apparently suffered likely had something to do with it.
Rookie center John Michael Schmitz botched a snap right after Thomas’s false start. Schmitz seemed unsteady snapping the ball all night, as Jones had to perform gymnastics to catch a few snaps.
Right tackle Evan Neal had a rough night, not providing much optimism as he tries to rebound from a rough rookie season. Guards Ben Bredeson and Mark Glowinski didn’t do much to slow the Dallas pressure, either.
Did the decision to rotate Bredeson, Glowinski and Josh Ezeudu all the way through training camp hurt the line’s cohesion? Was this just a difficult night against a defense that could pin its ears back and rush Jones because of the big early lead Dallas earned? Is this offensive line just not good?
I don’t know, but this was an awful beginning.
Daniel Jones — As I said above, the quarterback had no chance to have a successful night. The first interception, Daron Bland’s pick 6, wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t Saquon Barkley’s, either. Trevon Diggs just made a great play, knocking the ball from Barkley before he could secure it.
Jones was obviously rattled. The second interception, throwing across his body while almost out of bounds, was a desperation throw that never should have been made. Jones had a couple of other throws that probably should have been intercepted. It’s hard to blame him since you can probably count the times he could actually set up properly to throw on one hand due to the porous pass protection, but Jones obviously lost his composure in the face of the pressure.
Offense — The Giants were charged with five fumbles, though they lost only one. Jones was intercepted twice. The Giants got shut out. In the second half, the Giants never crossed the 50-yard line in five possessions, though they did at least reach it once. The wide receivers caught a total of five passes for 41 yards, though a lot of that isn’t their fault. You can’t throw to wide receivers when the quarterback barely has time to catch the snap.
Special teams — Yikes! A blocked field goal that turned into a 58-yard touchdown return on the Giants first drive. On ‘X,’ former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes pinned the blame on offensive lineman Josh Ezeudu for missing a block. Later, Graham Gano stunningly missed a 36-yard field goal. Turns out, Gano was kicking in pain after getting cleated in the kicking foot after the blocked field goal.
Defense — Where was the pass rush? The Giants did not sack Dak Prescott. They haven’t sacked a Dallas quarterback now since the 2021 season. They have no sacks against Dallas in the last three games, while the Cowboys have 15. The Cowboys punted just twice in nine possessions, scoring six times and turning the ball over on downs on their final possession in the closing seconds.
The secondary had a tough night. Rookie Tre Hawkins committed two penalties, a 37-yard pass interference and a hold. Tae Banks played OK, but suffered cramping and didn’t play in the second half. Adoree’ Jackson appeared to get picked off on a 49-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb.
The Giants never really came close to making any type of big stop or game-altering play. Wink Martindale talked recently about the defense having the potential to be one of the best in the league. It certainly didn’t look that way Sunday night.
Brian Daboll — Anyone who has been reading Big Blue View for a while knows I hate putting coaches in the ‘Kudos and Wet Willies.’ When a team opens a season playing like that, though, you have to question pretty much every decision made by Daboll and his staff leading up to the game.
Did they make a mistake not playing starters more in the preseason? Jones played one series all preseason. Did they make a mistake not settling the offensive line sooner? Did they spend too much time in the preseason backing players off to try and reach Week 1 healthy?
I don’t know. I just know that when a team that appears to have an improved roster plays that badly, a game where they were embarrassingly inept in every phase, that falls at the feet of the head coach. The Giants even wasted a pair of timeouts in the first 12 minutes because of issues getting personnel on the field.
Daboll also has to be criticized for losing sight of the big picture and not getting Jones out of the game long before he did. Daboll said after the game he kept putting Jones out there hoping the Giants would put together one good confidence-building scoring drive. The only thing was going to happen with Jones continuing to play was that Jones was going to get hurt. Thankfully, he escaped harm.
Did Daboll not see that Jones had no chance to make that happen? Did he not see his quarterback taking big hit after big hit and running for his life the entire fourth quarter? There was no excuse for Jones to be in the game once it got to 40-0. None.
I tried to say this in my post-game ‘things I think’ column, but at 2:30 a.m. might not have clearly made the point. On the schedule, this is one loss in a 17-game season. In that respect, the Giants can downplay it.
In reality, though, it was much more than that. This was a HUGE game for the Giants. They entered the game having lost 11 of 12 to the Cowboys and 12 of 14 to the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles.
After an offseason of optimism, this was the Giants’ chance to show that they had made progress, that they were moving toward making the NFC East a three-headed monster at the top.
Instead, the Giants were embarrassingly non-competitive. It was obvious that the gap between the Giants and the league’s top teams is still massive.
I still feel good about the long-term direction of the Giants with Daboll and Joe Schoen in charge. The big thing the Giants need to do, though, is prove that they can be competitive with the best teams in their own division.
Sunday night they showed they still aren’t even close.