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Saturday, June 15, 2024

A GIANT Disappointment: G-Men Lassoed 40-0 by Cowboys in Season Opener

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By: Marvin Azrak

It was a home opener to forget for New York Giants fans at MetLife Stadium. It didn’t make it any easier that it was on “Sunday Night Football” or came at the expense of their NFC East rival, Dallas Cowboys. It was a Dallas demolition from the start, en route to a 40-0 defeat.

NY Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, 26, was playing his first game since he signed a four-year $160 million deal in the offseason. He completed 15 of 28 passes for 104 yards and two interceptions. (Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media via AP)

It wasn’t any loss; it was the Giants’ worst shutout loss at home in franchise history. And to make it even more painful, it’s the Cowboys’ largest shutout win in their franchise history.

The game started with a glimmer of hope as the Giants put together a solid opening drive. The ball made its way down to the Dallas 8-yard line. Unfortunately, they couldn’t punch it in for a touchdown. Yet that wasn’t the worst of it. Graham Gano’s field goal attempt got blocked, and Noah Igbinoghene picked up the loose ball and ran it 58 yards for a Cowboys touchdown. That play set the tone for the evening.

Cowboy QB Dak Prescott, now has 11 straight victories against the Giants. He’s tying records left and right, matching Roger Staubach’s most consecutive wins against New York. Prescott threw for 143 yards on 13- 24 passing. Tony Pollard ran for 70 yards, and CeeDee Lamb caught all four targets for 77 yards.

On the flip side, Giants QB Daniel Jones, 26, was playing his first game since he signed a four-year $160 million deal in the offseason. He completed 15 of 28 passes for 104 yards and two interceptions. Star RB Saquon Barkley did his best, rushing 12 times for 51 yards and catching three of four targets for 12 yards.

NY Giants Isaiah Hodgins (left) fumbles the ball during the second half of Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. (AP Photo/Brian Woolston)

However, let’s give credit where it’s due. Dallas was exceptional in every facet of the game.

After the early score, Dallas forced a three-and-out on the next drive, and their defense added to New York’s misery with a pick-six by Daron Bland. Talk about a rough first quarter, which ended 16-0 Cowboys.

Dallas’s defense was relentless. In the first half alone, they sacked Jones four times. It’s not just the pass rushers; their defensive backs locked up the receivers, making Jones double-clutch and allowing the rushers to feast. Micah Parsons was a nightmare, recording four pressures and a sack in the first half, even with double-teams. The Cowboys, as a team, tallied seven sacks and 12 quarterback hits. It was a defensive clinic.

Dallas Cowboys’ Tony Pollard celebrates after scoring a touchdown in Sunday’s season opener against the NY Giants. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

For the Giants, it felt like everything that could go wrong did. Penalties, blocked field goals, pick-sixes, missed field goals – you name it, they did it. The Cowboys built a 26-0 lead by halftime, and Big Blue fans were left scratching their heads.

Being forced into numerous third-and-long situations didn’t help the Giants’ cause, especially with the wide receivers lassoed all night long. In the first half, no Giants wideout recorded a catch. It was all Darren Waller and Saquon Barkley. Even when New York thought they had a big play with Isaiah Hodgins, Trevon Diggs had other plans and forced a fumble.

The Giants prided themselves on protecting the football last season. It was a crucial part of a season which saw them miraculously reach the divisional round before falling to NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Yet on Sunday, Jones threw two interceptions, and both turned into touchdowns for the Cowboys. The pick-six in the first quarter was the turning point; it started to feel like an impossible hill to climb.

The blocked field goal that turned into a touchdown for the Cowboys set the tone for the night. Our promising opening drive quickly turned sour, and it was all downhill from there. It’s a tough loss, no doubt about it.

Giants HC Brian Daboll didn’t mince words after that brutal loss to the Cowboys. He acknowledged the tough and disappointing defeat, crediting Dallas: “They just did everything better than we did tonight.” No excuses, just a stark assessment of the situation.

He recognized the mistakes that piled up, mentioning the costly plays that added to the misery: “It was 16 points early.” Daboll emphasized that there’s work to be done in every area of the team, and he’s laser-focused on improvement: “It wasn’t a good game, don’t sugarcoat it. It was a bad game, and that’s on me, and we’ll work to get the things we need to get fixed.”

And that 40-0 score? Not good enough: “40 to nothing is not a good score. So, a lot to work on, and that’s what we’ll do.” He defended his team’s effort, stating, “I don’t question our effort… Everybody gives balls out effort.”

Dallas Cowboys’ Stephon Gilmore celebrates an interception during the first half of Sunday’s game against the NY Giants. (AP Photo/Brian Woolston)

Quarterback Daniel Jones was equally critical of their performance: “We are certainly frustrated and extremely disappointed.” “We didn’t execute. We dug a hole for ourselves early on.” Jones took responsibility for his part in the loss, promising to be critical and correct the mistakes.

He acknowledged the need to own their performance: “We’ve got to own it. Own what happened out there.” The plan is to dissect the game, study the film, and make the necessary corrections. Jones didn’t shy away from self-critique: “I’m going to be very critical of myself and those situations and look to correct that going forward.”

Despite the rough start, Jones emphasized the importance of bouncing back and finding their rhythm: “It’s about getting back on the right page, executing, finding a way to make some plays.” He acknowledged that it wasn’t their best game and that there’s plenty of work ahead: “We didn’t do that tonight, and we have a lot to work on going forward.”

So, what’s next for the Giants? They’ll  regroup and aim for a better outcome in Arizona when they  face the Cardinals in Week 2. Let’s hope for a stronger showing because, well, it can’t get much worse than this, right? Right?

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