The Giants defense may have been on the field for too long due to lack of offense, but they are not using it as an excuse for allowing 19 points in their loss to the Cowboys on Sunday night.
In the first half, the defense saw 47 plays from the Cowboys as the offense couldn't get anything going. The unit, which many believe to be one of the best in the NFL this season, looked fatigued. However, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn't want to hear that after the game.
"At some point you have to suck it up," Rodgers-Cromartie told The Post. "You just have to find a way to get off the field. We didn't get off the field enough."
Many commended the Giants for allowing just 19 points with Dallas having possession for over 30 minutes. But LB Devon Kennard understands that those points resulted in a loss, and that's all he cares about.
"There's no moral victories here," Kennard said. "We take pride in shutting people down and we let them score too many points. If they can't score they can't win."
Defensive captain, LB Jonathan Casillas, noted that the defense should be the ones to help out the offense, not the other way around.
"When we find our offense struggling or trying to figure it out, then we've got to play a little bit tigheter, make sure we get off the field quicker to get the offense more possessions to give them momentum," Casillas said. "If we gave them the ball one more time then maybe they score and it changes momentum into our favor."
As for positives, the defense all agreed that sophomore LB B.J. Goodson flourished in his first career start. The Clemson product amassed 18 tackles, with 14 of them solo. It was an impressive outing, but one that his fellow linebackers expect him to produce each week.
"I didn't know it was that many, but I saw him in on a lot of plays," Kennard said. "It's impressive, but I'm not all that surprised, because he's a guy that takes a lot of pride in tackling well."
Casillas added on Goodson, saying, "He controls our defense. He's dying to go get down there and stick his face in it."
What did Goodson think of his performance? He didn't care, as it took a backseat to the team loss.
"Honestly, that's not even what's on my mind now," Goodson said. "It doesn't matter."
The Giants allowed 392 total yards, including 129 on the ground in their season opener. They aallowed 88.6 yards rushing per game last season, which was tied third in the NFL.
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It's good to see the Giants defense not pointing the blame at the offense -- even if they should be. They take pride in being a shutdown group, and 19 points is more than their 17.8 average last season. That won't cut it in their eyes.
However, their performance is telling for opponents the rest of the season. No matter how good this unit is, fatigue is a universal killer. And it showed when the Cowboys ran a no-huddle offense virtually the entire game. The no-huddle forced the Giants to keep the same 11 men on the field, and the Boys just wore them down enough to kill clock and charge down the field.
To allow just 19 points with the amount of time they spent on the field with the same group is absurd. And if Dan Bailey wasn't a machine from 55 yards and in, this might have been a closer game.
As for individual performance, Goodson was thoroughly impressive, and that is something the Giants haven't been able to boast about when it comes to their young linebackers for a while. He was on a mission even at his most tired, and he proved he can thrive in a starting role. Dalvin Tomlinson also impressed me in his first start, though he wasn't touched on as much.
But overall, Week 1 is not a loss the defense should be burdening. The offense needs to do a better job of putting drives together to allow them to catch their breath, because the Giants should realize that their opponents are only going to follow in the Cowboys' footsteps and run no-huddle offense to wear them down. It's the only way they can get the edge on this championship-caliber defense.