- Vincent Zahler
Week 1 Review: Offense Sputters, Leaves Defense Gassed: Giants 3 Cowboys 19
Same old story, same old song and dance. The elephant in the room regarding the Giants offense the last years had been the fact that it's been largely "Beckham or bust". That sentiment remained true as the Giants visited Dallas with Odell Beckham standing on the sidelines.
Pitiful offensive line play, particularly on the right side of the line, left the offense gasping for air. Right tackle and guard Bobby Hart and John Jerry were beaten early for a sack by DeMarcus Lawrence and a holding penalty. Constant pressure and lack of running lanes limited the offense to just two first downs, 49 total yards and under 10 minutes in time of possession.
While the defense put up tremendous effort, they were understandably gassed and eventually allowed Dallas to wear them down with Ezekiel Elliot behind the most powerful line in the league. Even through the air, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense found success with a long pass to Bryce Butler, a questionable long pass interference against Janoris Jenkins, and a touchdown pass to the now Dallas Cowboys all-time leading receiver Jason Witten. Putting on a "bend don't break" type performance, the defense held the Cowboys to mostly field goals and the Giants went into the tunnel at halftime down 16-0 and the game wasn't that close on tape.
Eli Manning was planted by DeMarcus Lawrence again to open the second half but suddenly the Giants offense awoke. The drive that followed the sack took more time off the clock than the Giants offense did in the entire first half. Sparked with a long pass to Roger Lewis the Giants offense managed to work their way to a 1st and goal but failed to get into the endzone much ado to a sack by Charles Tapper. Aldrick Rosas kicked in his first NFL points to end the drive.
Going into the 4th quarter, while it still looked bleak, hope was not dead. The Giants defense managed to keep the Cowboys offense in check but the offense managed to miss a golden opportunity in a 3rd down play where Eli rushed a throw to a wide open Brandon Marshall who looked to have nothing in front of him but turf. The Giants simply couldn't put it together offensively and the defense began to break down.
On the ensuing drive the Giants kept getting close but couldn't get that much needed turnover. Cole Beasley snagged a pass behind his head for a first down and Elliot was able to move into Giants territory with a long screen play. The defense then stiffened and stopped the Cowboys offense at the 40 forcing a punt.
With just 8:26 left in the game, and starting in their own 10 somehow there was still a chance...
First play of the drive was an encouraging 31 yard pass to Evan Engram. However, hopes for a comeback were dashed as Anthony Brown jumped in front of Sterling Shepherd and intercepted the pass from Eli. Dallas would eat up the the clock as a winded and worn down defense struggled to hold back an Ezekiel Elliot who routinely made defenders miss en route to over 100 yards rushing. While they were able stop Dallas from getting back into the endzone, Dan Bailey stuck a fork in the Giants with a final field goal making the score 3-19.
A garbage time drive featured a bunch dump offs to Shane Vereen, a whiff and hold by Ereck Flowers who played well up till that point, and Brandon Marshalls first catch as a Giant. This drive fittingly ended with a false start.
Odell Beckham should be back on the field for the next game against the Detroit Lions on Monday night. Hopefully the Giants offense can finally get their act together with OBJ back in the lineup to avoid another embarrassment in front of a national audience on primetime.