The New York Giants were lured into a false sense of security after their Week 1 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. They thought they turned the page on their awful 2017 season and everything that plagued them was left behind.
Then the Giants went on the road to face the division rival Dallas Cowboys in their home opener Sunday night. This game was over for the Giants before it really began. It started with a 64-yard touchdown from Dak Prescott to Tavon Austin almost two minutes into the game. It ended with a 20-13 Giants loss that was maddening and confusing.
The Giants were not beaten physically by Dallas. Instead, they were thrashed mentally. The Giants coaching staff were outschemed and outcoached by their Lone Star State counterparts. It looked like Vince Lombardi was on the Cowboys sideline with Tom Landry and Bill Walsh.
This isn’t to say the Giants’ players didn’t stink it up. Austin made the Giants secondary look lethargic and out of place on his touchdown reception. The offensive line failed to open any running lanes for Saquon Barkley (who finished with just 28 yards) or protect Eli Manning (who was sacked six times by six different players).
In spite of the Giants’ lack of firepower on both sides of the ball, this was a completely winnable game. The offense finally played with some sense of urgency after Ezekiel Elliott scored what would be the go-ahead touchdown. Manning hit the drop-prone Evan Engram for an 18-yard touchdown with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter to cut the score to 20-10.
After the Giants touchdown, they recovered an onside kick. Six plays later, Aldrick Rosas kicks a 38-yard field goal. Unfortunately, it was too late to pull off a miraculous comeback.
The maddening quality about Pat Shurmur’s Giants after two games is that they could easily be 2-0 instead of 0-2. A week ago, they played the Jaguars better than the two-time defending AFC Champions did on Sunday. The Giants were never beaten down physically by Dallas and, in spite of their foibles, still had a chance to leave AT&T Stadium with a win.
It would be very easy to point the finger at Manning, his receivers, the offensive line, or the defense. They didn’t play very well. At the same time, Shurmur coached in a style reminiscent of Tony D’Amato, Al Pacino’s character in Any Given Sunday. It seemed he was trying not to lose instead of coaching to win.
The only good from this loss is that the last time the Giants started 0-2 was 2007. They went on to win 10 of their final 14 games, enter the playoffs as a Wild Card, win three playoff games on the road and Super Bowl XLII. It is too soon to talk about the postseason though. The Giants need to, in the words of the elder Jim Mora, just win a game.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.