The Giants didn't get much sleep Sunday night, and not only because of the gut-wrenching loss.

Their charter flight from Dallas home to Newark was delayed 21/2 hours because of mechanical problems and did not take off until 4:30 a.m. ET, arriving in New Jersey on Monday around 7:30 a.m. -- just as the sun was rising, blame-placing headlines were being read and sports talk radio callers were demanding their hides.

"There was not much sleep, nobody got any sleep,'' Tom Coughlin said of the team's disposition Monday. "The guys were tired, and they were sad, they were disappointed . . . It was a different kind of day, let's put it that way.''

It was the kind of experience that even the veteran leaders needed help rising up from.

"I think I've probably been one of the most devastated in the defensive meeting room,'' said Cullen Jenkins, a captain for the game. "I had a lot of guys coming to me trying to pick me up and help morale because it was tough. You go out there and you fight, we fight as hard as we did, and we put ourselves in position, and we just couldn't close it out and finish it.''

Added Eli Manning: "It hurts, but it's supposed to hurt when you play your tails off and do a lot of good things and don't come out on top.''

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And, to pile on, don't come home on time, either.

'D' not up to speed

Six of the Cowboys' 10 longest offensive plays of the game came in the final 8:01, when they ran two hurry-up drives for touchdowns. The pace of those plays likely put a strain on the defense's on-field communication, especially because it mostly flowed through two players making their NFL debuts.

Middle linebacker Uani' Unga and safety Landon Collins were the only defensive players on the field for every snap. Coughlin said he thought they played well overall, but promising is not the same as proficient.

"Toward the end, we did have a couple plays where the communication wasn't the best, but I think that was more to do with just the players not being on the same page with their responsibilities and their checks,'' Jenkins said. "We have to anticipate calls from each other and just be on the same page.''

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Giant steps

Coughlin did not have an update on this week's status of LB Jon Beason (knee) or WR Victor Cruz (calf), neither of whom played Sunday night . . . LT Ereck Flowers suffered an ankle injury in the game but played every snap. Coughlin said he was pleased to see the rookie fight through the injury. Flowers had an MRI on Monday . . . The Giants haven't won a season-opening road game this century. The last time they did it was in 1999 at Tampa Bay.