Imagine two weeks ago if someone had told you Kadarius Toney would be the Giants’ best player on the field against the Cowboys, and by a very large margin. Welp, that’s where we are. Toney is an electrifying player who set a Giants rookie record with 189 receiving yards, threw a pass on a receiver option and ran the ball on a direct snap, but all of that wasn’t close to compensating for all of the injuries the Giants sustained. Neither were the two touchdowns scored by Devontae Booker, who replaced Saquon Barkley. Backup quarterback Mike Glennon played fine for a backup, completing 16 of 25 passes for 196 yards but he was intercepted twice, including one for a late touchdown. Even before Daniel Jones left the field with a concussion the Giants looked out of step on a pair of deep pass attempts to John Ross that were incomplete. Their longest non-Toney play of the game went for 18 yards.
There were a few moments early on when it seemed as if the defense would be able to carry the Giants. Lorenzo Carter’s tip and interception on the first series, a near interception on another tipped ball by Quincy Roche and a fumble recovery on a botched snap by Reggie Ragland kept the score close. But when the Giants put their best cornerback on Dallas’ best receiver, James Bradberry against CeeDee Lamb, and Bradberry got beat for a 49-yard touchdown that made it 10-0, it was pretty clear there was no hope for that to sustain. "That’s definitely a phase that has to be a weapon for us," Joe Judge said of the defense, while acknowledging that they are not. Dallas’ 44 points (seven of which came from their defense) were the most allowed by the Giants since a 51-17 loss to the Rams in 2017 and the most in a road game since a 49-17 loss at Minnesota in 2015. The 515 yards allowed was the highest since the Saints gained 608 yards in a 52-49 victory in 2015 and is tied for the ninth-highest total ever given up by the Giants. Yuck.
Graham Gano has gone from the most consistent kicker in Giants history to a shaky adventure each time he lines up. His streak of 37 straight made kicks ended at New Orleans and his streak of three consecutive made kicks ended on Sunday when he missed a 54-yarder in the first quarter. Gano did connect on a pair of 51-yarders later in the game. The 18-yard punt return allowed to CeeDee Lamb was tough, but that drive did not result in any Cowboys points. The Giants did try an onside kick at the end, which was recovered cleanly by the Cowboys.
There’s not much coaches can do when they lose as much firepower as the Giants did, but getting the ball to Toney in as many ways as possible seemed like a shrewd strategy that the Giants stuck with as much as they could for as long as they could. Judge seemed angry with Toney’s punch that caused his ejection, and he has to be unconditional in his foolish penalty mandate, but he probably could have cut the kid some slack and been happy that at least someone on the team had enough spunk to stand up to the Cowboys. Just before halftime, when the game was still within reach and the Cowboys led 17-10, the Giants received the kickoff with 36 seconds left and all three of their timeouts. They ran one play and then stood around and watched the rest of the time drip off the clock before heading to the locker room. It wouldn’t have made much of a dent, but leaving the three timeouts unused and not even trying to score points there seemed defeatist. Defensively the Giants are a mess. They’re not fooling anyone, they’re not covering anyone particularly well and they don’t even have injuries as a crutch to lean on. Not that there are any extra sets of crutches lying around the team. The offensive players are using all of them.