For most of the game, the Giants had a weak rushing attack, and Eli Manning was not his traditional self in Cowboys Stadium.
After the 56-yard Rueben Randle catch on the opening drive, it almost seemed as if the Giants would just steam roll the Cowboys, playing without middle linebacker Sean Lee. But that drive only yielded a field goal.
The Cowboys’ offense kept turning the ball over early, but the Giants’ offense could only manage field goals. Andre Brown scored the offense’s only touchdown late in the first quarter to give the team a 13-0 lead.
The Giants kept getting the ball with great field position, but field goal attempts were the theme of the day. Still, a 23-0 lead should have never been relinquished.
Two offensive statistics stand out in this game for the Giants offensively. Big Blue was just 1-of-4 on scoring a touchdowns in the red zone, while the Cowboys were 3-of-4. The Giants also only converted on 3-of-15 third-down attempts.
Ahmad Bradshaw was vocal this past week about wanting the ball more, and he carried the ball 22 times for 78 yards. He was mostly ineffective early on, but he did pick up the pace when the Giants were trying to take time off the clock in the fourth quarter.
When Bradshaw fumbled in the second quarter, the momentum completely shifted to Dallas, who then scored 24 unanswered points. Bradshaw fumbled against the Browns early in Week 5 but then turned in a 200-yard performance. That wasn’t the case against Dallas.
The Giants’ receivers had a few costly dropped passes, which affected Manning’s stat line. However, the much-improved Cowboys’ secondary limited what Manning could do.
Victor Cruz had a tough day. Manning targeted him eight times, but he only managed two catches for 23 yards on the day.
Following a Stevie Brown fumble recovery and leading 26-24 with 6:40 to play, the Giants could have taken a nine-point lead had they scored a touchdown. Bradshaw had a few good runs, but again the offense settled for a field goal to give the Giants just a five-point lead.
After Brown’s second interception of the day, the Giants’ offense needed just one first down to end it. But Bradshaw was ruled short of the first down on a third-and-three play, much to the chagrin of Tom Coughlin, who was absolutely livid at the referees’ spot.
Dallas had a chance at the end, but the Giants got help from instant replay on the Dez Bryant catch that was ruled out-of-bounds.
Big Blue has to feel good that they were able to hang on for the win in this game. But overall, the lack of killer instinct in settling for field goals in the red zone – or as Coughlin refers to as the “green zone” – has to improve as the Giants schedule heats up.