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5 plays from Giants’ loss to Cowboys: None of them are good

This was a debacle

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants lost badly on Sunday Night Football in front of the nation. Murphy’s Law delivered an unsought humble pie to New York as Dallas defeated the Giants 40-0; everything that could go wrong went wrong for the Giants.

Even plays with speckles of encouragement ultimately failed; Dallas forced several fumbles on completed passes that were scarce. Nothing went as planned for the Giants after their initial offensive drive that showed signs of life. Too bad the end result was devastating:

Play 1: Special teams hurt

The Giants’ offense started the game with an impressive 11-play, 48-yard drive that positioned Graham Gano for a 45-yard field goal. Unfortunately, the safety Juanyeh Thomas jumped through two protectors to block the field goal before former Dolphin cornerback Noah Igbinoghene scooped up the live ball and ran it back for a touchdown. It was a deflating play, but plenty of PSI was left to depress the hope New York had to compete in this game.

Play 2: Pick 6

Two drives later, on third-and-19, Daniel Jones threw a Pick 6 that bounced off running back Saquon Barkley’s hands after a punishing hit delivered by Trevon Diggs. Before the end of the first quarter, the Giants found themselves in a 16-0 hole. Brian Daboll said it well after the game:

“We had issues with every area we could have issues with tonight.”

Play(s) 3: Lack of protection

A video is unnecessary for this play, for most of the Giants' offensive plays would suffice the description. New York could not protect Daniel Jones, and the quarterback was constantly under duress. Jones was pressured on 62% of his dropbacks. He was sacked seven times, threw two interceptions, and the Cowboys forced five fumbles.

The pressure by Dallas forced Jones into the lowest aDot (average depth of target) since Jake Fromm started for New York in 2021:

Jones also didn’t have a good game. No one on the Giants did. However, the issues in protection for the Giants have persisted for over a decade. It’s disappointing to see them manifest in this manner on Sunday Night Football, after the amount of capital New York has spent on the offensive line.

Play(s) 4: More turnovers

The Giants turned the football over three times with two interceptions (one is shown in Play 2) and an Isaiah Hodgins fumble after a 24-yard catch - the longest completion by Daniel Jones. The interception below is Jones reverting back to rookie mistakes where he tries to do too much; being down by 19 in the first half can have that effect. Here are the other two turnovers:

Play 5: Evan Neal

No videos for this, although there were several problematic examples. This loss was not a great start for the second-year tackle, as Jones was pressured early and often. The right side of the line was an issue for the Giants all game, and Evan Neal struggled in the matchup. It wasn’t just that Neal was losing to Micah Parsons or DeMarcus Lawrence, but he lost to Dorance Armstrong and other rotational pass rushers throughout the game.

Similar issues from last year plagued Neal. He lunged; he didn’t bring his feet with him, and his timing wasn’t precise. If Neal continues to be a liability at right tackle, the Giants will have serious questions about the former Alabama star and his longevity at tackle. Neal’s development is vital to the success of today’s Giants, and New York has to receive a better product on the field than what we witnessed vs. Dallas.