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Giants grades: Evan Engram and Eli Manning's efforts went for naught

Giants tight end Evan Engram catches a pass

Giants tight end Evan Engram catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown in the first half of a game against the Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday. Photo Credit: AP/Michael Ainsworth

OFFENSE: D

Well, the first two plays went fairly well. Eli Manning hit Saquon Barkley for a 9-yard gain, then handed off to Barkley for a 59-yard tear. That led to a touchdown on the opening drive. But the Giants didn’t reach the end zone again until late in the fourth quarter. Barkley’s efficiency was terrific (10.9 yards per carry) but his touches seemed lacking (11 carries, six passing targets). All the decent or above individual numbers (Evan Engram 11 catches for 116 yards and a TD, Manning 30-for-44 for 306 yards) didn’t translate into success. The Giants were 2-for-11 on third downs, 1-for-3 on fourth downs, and 2-for-4 in the red zone.

DEFENSE: F

Jerry Jones said after the game that a contract extension with Dak Prescott is “imminent.” The Giants made sure the Cowboys quarterback will get top dollar. They couldn’t rush the quarterback and they couldn’t defend his targets. Prescott completed 25 of 32 passes for four TDs and 405 yards with a passer rating of 158.3. Seven different players caught passes from him. The Cowboys were 6-for-10 on third downs, 2-for-2 in the red zone. At one point from early in the first quarter to the start of the fourth the Cowboys had five straight possessions that went 75 yards or more for five straight touchdowns.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

There isn’t much to say, really. Aldrick Rosas kicked a 28-yard field goal and did not allow any kickoff return yardage. Rookie Corey Ballentine showed some spark as the starting kickoff returner for the Giants (although his best effort was negated by a penalty). Riley Dixon put three of his four punts inside the 20. The one time they needed to make a play was on the mortar kickoff late in the game and the Cowboys recovered that easily. All in all, a rather non-descript game.

COACHING: F

The Giants have the best running back in the NFL but seem to forget that fact in critical moments. In a game in which they should have been riding Saquon Barkley like Lil Nas X’s horse – til they can’t no more – they instead outsmarted themselves by handing off to the fullback and trying to pass on fourth-and-1 from the 7. Defensively, the Giants knew they had shortcomings in their pass rush but didn’t scheme to overcome that and barely made Prescott move all game. Whoever saw Antonio Hamilton play this summer and decided he should be the starting cornerback needs to reconsider.

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