Giants Fall to Cowboys, 37-18 as Red Zone Offense Sputters
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Week 9 edition of the New York Giants proved to be not much different than the Week 1 group that was beaten by the Dallas Cowboys down in Arlington.
This week, the Giants lost 37-18 to the NFC East division rivals on Monday Night Football, their sixth straight loss to Dallas. The Giants have now lost five games in a row in a third consecutive season and fell to 25-39-2 on Monday Night Football that includes a 9-11 mark at home.
As he did in that Week 1 meeting, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, fresh off a Week 8 bye, lit up the Giants defense, which entered this game ranked in the bottom six in points surrendered, yards, passer rating, and big plays.
The good news, if you want to call it that, is that the Giants had a lead, however brief it was, for the first time since their September 29 win over Washington.
New York had gone 20 quarters of football in which they were always in catch-up mode, so if one is looking for the smallest sliver of progress, this would undoubtedly be it given that it came against a Cowboys team that has been behind in just five of those quarters.
Other than that, the Giants had no answers for the Cowboys, to whom they lost their sixth straight game. New York’s struggles were a combination of a sputtering offense and a defense that had no answers in stopping the Cowboys running game, as led by running back Ezekiel Elliott, who had 23 of the team’s 30 rushes and 129 of their 172 rushing yards.
They also converted just one of five red zone attempts, and their top playmaker, Saquon Barkley, was only able to run for 28 yards on 14 carries, while coming up with 67 receiving yards on six receptions, including a long of 65.
The pass defense wasn’t much better. Dak Prescott completed 22 of 35 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns to one interception for a 101.7 rating.
Two of his touchdown passes, to receiver Amari Cooper and tight end Blake Jarwin, went for 40+ yards against a Giants pass defense that, coming into this week’s game had surrendered nine such pass plays of 40+ yards, tying them for third-most in the league (with the Eagles).
Neither was the ball security, which continues to be a problem for Jones, who now has 16 turnovers for the season. Jones threw an interception this week and lost two fumbles, the Cowboys converting the three Giants miscues into 13 points.
The Giants did start with a bang on the very first play of the game with safety Antoine Bethea recorded his 25th career interception against Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to set up a 1st-and-8. Unfortunately, the Giants couldn’t convert on the turnover and had to settle for a 21-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
The Cowboys looked like they were in control on the ensuing drive, but a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb was nullified due to offsetting penalties.
The Cowboys settled for a 35-yard field goal to knot things up 3-3 midway through the first quarter.
The Giants remain one game better than Washington (1-8) in the race for the division cellar. The Cowboys meanwhile improve to 5-3
Rosas Misses Again
One year after a Pro Bowl performance, kicker Aldrick Rosas continues to struggle. He missed a PAT in the second quarter, his third straight game in which he’s missed wither a PAT or a field goal attempt.
Twice during the game, the Giants found themselves trailing by that missed point, but ultimately the Cowboys, who have now won 45 straight games when leading by seven or more points in the fourth quarter, broke it wide open to where that missed PAT no longer affected the game.
Cowboys Come Roaring Back at the Half
The Cowboys, down 12-3 with 2:53 left in the second quarter, came roaring back within the final 52 seconds of the half, scoring 10 points to take a 13-12 lead.
The first of those points came on a 42-yard strike from Prescott to tight end Blake Jarwin. The score was Jarwin’s sixth career touchdown catch and his fifth against the Giants.
Jones, whose turnover issues resumed this week, threw a bad interception on a deep pass intended for Darius Slayton. Cowboys defensive back Xavier Woods picked off the pass and returned it 29 yards.
That turnover set up the Cowboys final scoring drive of the second quarter, a 52-yard field goal by Brett Maher, who has now converted 10 of 14 field goals of 50+ yards this season.
The Real “Big Cat”
The Giants acquired Leonard “Big Cat” Williams this week from the Jets, but it was a black cat that ended up stealing the thunder from Williams’ debut.
The feline came out of nowhere and darted onto the field in the second quarter, temporarily delaying the game. Security guards tried to corner the frightened animal, but it eventually ran off into one of the tunnels.
A MetLife Stadium spokesperson later reported that the cat had darted under a seating section and that once it was safely captured, it would be taken to a veterinarian. Meanwhile, the cat, which unfortunately wasn’t mic’d up, was said to have impressed scouts in attendance with its elusiveness and speed.
As was announced Sunday, receiver Sterling Shepard was inactive after being readmitted into the league protocol. Don’t be surprised if the Giants shut him down.
If the Giants do shut down Shepard for the season, don’t be surprised if they use that roster spot to activate cornerback Sam Beal from injured reserve.
The Giants have until Wednesday to activate Beal, their third-round pick in the 2018 supplemental draft, who has been on IR this year with a hamstring issue.
If they decide not to activate Beal, he will remain on injured reserve for the rest of the year, and the Giants will have squandered one of their two annual “temporary IR” designations.
The Giants “visit” the 1-7 Jets on Sunday at 1 p.m.