For the second week in a row the Giants had to settle for a fourth-quarter field goal when a touchdown would have sealed the win, and then were unable to move the ball into range to give their Pro Bowl kicker a chance to win it in the final minute. There were some great statistics (142 offensive yards for Saquon Barkley, 301 passing yards for Eli Manning), some great visuals (two one-handed grabs by Cody Latimer), and some solid performances (Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard each made tough, clutch plays). Ultimately, though, they needed two more points to win and they didn’t. Point to the two early turnovers by Manning or the 0-for-4 passing on the final drive for those.
The Cowboys rested Ekeziel Elliott and two of their starting offensive linemen and still managed to push the Giants all over the field. The Giants’ penchant for allowing big plays late in games is stunning, and allowing the game-winning TD on a fourth-and-15 pass with the team just 1:12 away from victory was the final episode of a sorry season. That was after the Giants made Blake Jarwin look like an All-Pro with three TD catches. Dak Prescott, who played the entire game, completed 27 of 44 passes for 387 yards and four TDs. The Cowboys couldn’t have asked for a better way to head into the playoffs than this confidence-boosting game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-PLUS
Cody Latimer should have been the star of the game, not just for his two one-handed catches but for his 34 yard kickoff return that brought the Giants close to midfield to start their final offensive drive. Corey Coleman looked fast returning punts for Jawill Davis (placed on IR with a knee injury). His 19-yard return was the third-longest by the Giants this season. Aldrick Rosas kicked field goals from 48 and 38 yards out. His next attempts will come, deservedly so, in the Pro Bowl.
COACHING: C- MINUS
The Giants had over a minute and two timeouts left to move the ball about 15 yards and give their Pro Bowl kicker a chance to win the game. But they never gave the ball to their best player, Saquon Barkley, and Eli Manning threw four straight incompletions. Pat Shurmur wasn’t second-guessing his own play-calling there, but the overarching lesson of the season has to be that bad things happen when Barkley is ignored. The one good thing the coaches did was bench Curtis Riley after his woeful attempted tackle. That should send a message to the team that lack of effort won’t be tolerated, even if it did come too late in the year.