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Five Plays That Doomed the Giants vs. the Cowboys

The Giants were destroyed by the Dallas Cowboys, and these five plays were a big reason for that.

Many plays broke the Giants' chances at upsetting the Dallas Cowboys, but here's a look at the five biggest culprits.

No 5. 3rd-and-8, NYG 49, 11:59, Q2

The Play: Prescott to Lamb touchdown pass.

In real-time, many looked at this touchdown pass and blamed cornerback James Bradberry (who has received a lot of undue criticism this season).

He was in press coverage on Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb. Lamb releases outside and is able to get a little separation on Bradberry, who is trying to stay connected but is trailing. A perfect pass by Prescott finds its way into Lamb's hands as he runs untouched into the end zone.

At the end of the play, Julian Love comes into the picture. That’s when we realize that Love was supposed to be over the top in coverage.

The reason why Bradberry was pressing is that he was supposed to have help over the top. Love not only misreads the play but takes a horrible angle to cover the route and, as a result, leaves Bradberry stuck by himself. That turns a 3-0 deficit into 10-0.

4: 3rd-and-4 DAL 24, 11:14, Q3

The Play: Giants settle for a field goal after Mike Glennon's fumble.

The Giants have performed well on opening drives or drives after halftime, and this was no exception. Even with Glennon in and no Barkley, they were moving the ball well.

On 3rd down and a very manageable four yards, they needed to pick up this first down to keep the momentum going and hopefully score a touchdown that would tie the game up at 17 all.

The snap hit him in the hands, but as he turned to possibly hand it off, he lost grip on it, and it went flying. He was able to get on the ball before the defense recovered it. The Glennon fumble hurt because it pushed the ball back nine yards and ended the opportunity to keep the drive alive and out of the Dallas offense's hands.

Even though the Giants made the kick, it was an opportunity missed. In the next series, Dallas scored another touchdown and elevated their lead from four points to ten.

3: 1st-and-10 NYG 25, 7:11, Q3

The Play: Deep pass intercepted by the Cowboys.

Down 11 points in the third quarter is not a time to panic, but you need to take advantage of your opportunities. First down, and the Giants have a play-action pass called.

The design was great because they were lined up with three tight ends to the right of the formation and CJ Board to the left. Not only is this running personnel and formation, but the presence of Board does not indicate that a pass is coming.

They get good protection on the play, and Evan Engram draws significant attention running an intermediate route which leaves Board one on one with the cornerback Diggs, and he has a step on him.


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New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) looks up to the scoreboard after failing to score late in the second half. The Giants fall to the Rams, 38-11, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in East Rutherford.

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Glennon holds on to the ball for a beat too long and then underthrows it to Board, allowing Diggs to catch up, bump Board off, and intercept the pass.

The poorly thrown ball resulted in a turnover when it should have been a touchdown or massive gain. The Cowboys added a field goal on the next possession; that’s a 10-point swing.

No. 2. 3rd-and-Goal DAL 9, 13:08, Q4

The Play: Rush comes up short of the end zone.

Kadarius Toney was a playmaker all day for the Giants. The only thing he did not do on the day was score a touchdown, but he should have.

On this third-down play from the nine-yard line, Toney is lined up as the quarterback, and they run a quarterback counter. He fakes the ball to the running back, going left, and he goes right following Left tackle Nate Solder and left guard Matt Skura who were both replacing starters.

Skura gets a good initial hit on his man but does not continue to block him, so he is able to make a tackle on Toney at the two-yard line. If he stayed on the block a second longer, Toney Walks into the end zone untouched.

That touchdown would have brought the Giants to within a touchdown to tie the game and kept them in that game. Unfortunately, the fourth-down play was a quarterback rollout that did not find the end zone. The Cowboys would score on their next possession.

No. 1. 3rd-and-1 DAL 48, 8:42, Q4

The Play: Big play on third down puts an end to the final comeback attempt for Giants.

The defense had another opportunity to get off the field and give the ball back to the offense down two scores with a good amount of time. It was third down, and the Cowboys chose to go play-action pass.

Adoree Jackson was man to man with CJ Wilson out wide. On the snap, Jackson does not get any redirection on Wilson, and Wilson is able to separate from Jackson. Prescott throws a 35-yard pass and drops it where Wilson was the only man able to get it, and the Cowboys pick up a first down.

With a fresh set of downs, they could take more time off the clock. Ultimately they scored in two more plays which made the lead 24 points. It was the final straw that broke the already weary and severely injured back of the Giants.

Final Thoughts

There were positives to take from the game. Despite massive losses due to injuries, this Giants squad continued to compete.

Offensively, Glennon was competent in relief, and maybe as the game got away from New York, he made a few more mistakes. Toney's play between the whistles continues to impress, but his ejection may point to the immaturity that kept him off the field to begin the season.

There continue to be elements the Giants can build on, and when they put it all together, we know their capabilities. Unfortunately, they are dealing with key injuries on both sides of the ball. 

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