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Giants grades: Offense, defense, coaching get big 'D' in loss at Dallas

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) watches as

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) watches as free safety Barry Church (42) causes New York Giants tight end Larry Donnell (84) to fumble during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. cornerback Brandon Carr (39) reaches for the ball. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade) Photo Credit: AP / Brandon Wade


At least the Giants scored, which is something they couldn't say last week. But the running game is still a mess and the backs are routinely being met in the backfield. They managed only five rushing first downs and 104 team rushing yards (11 by Eli Manning). When they weren't missing blocks, the line was holding or jumping offside. Manning was smart and efficient -- he didn't throw an interception for the fourth time in the last five games -- but Larry Donnell's two fumbles swung the turnover differential.


The Cowboys converted nine of their 14 third-down attempts and the Giants couldn't get them off the field after moving within a touchdown with 5:28 left. Tony Romo was 9-for-9 for 166 yards in the second half. A bad breakdown led to the first TD pass -- Gavin Escobar was wide open -- and the Giants continue to be susceptible to big plays. For the second week in a row, they allowed a 100-yard rusher (DeMarco Murray had 128). Dez Bryant had 151 receiving yards, 136 in the second half.


Josh Brown hasn't attempted a field goal in the last two games, but he routinely put the kickoffs out of the end zone. Steve Weatherford put two of his punts inside the 20 and would have had a third had Stevie Brown been able to down it. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie nearly blocked a fourth-quarter field goal.


The Giants insisted on balance, even in the face of a nonexistent running game. "We're not going to turn the ball over because we refuse to run," Tom Coughlin said. There was so much confusion at times in the secondary that Chandler Fenner wound up covering Bryant at one point. The breakdown on the first Escobar TD was so glaring that all defensive coordinator Perry Fewell could do was smile ruefully. The Giants should have called a timeout after Jason Pierre-Paul's sack late in the first half. Instead, they lost almost a minute of game time with clumsy clock operation to end the half.


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