October 11, 2020 | 10:46pm
Grading the Giants after their 37-34 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.
Daniel Jones (20 of 33, 222 yards) made some great throws on the run, mostly to Darius Slayton (8-129) tip-toeing the sideline. But if Jones cannot hold onto the ball when the defense closes in, this is not going to work. A strip-sack fumble handed the Cowboys seven points. Line continues to leak like an old faucet in pass protection. C Nick Gates was called for a holding penalty in the third quarter and LT Andrew Thomas was beaten like a drum by DeMarcus Lawrence on Jones’ fumble. Offensive pass interference call on Damion Ratley for a pick play called back 31-yard TD pass to Slayton. Giants finally cracked 300 total yards for the first time this season against the crummy Dallas defense. Throw a party.
Ezekiel Elliott (20-91, 2 TDs) is a load and keeps coming, but at least his longest run was only 12 yards. No answers in the middle of the field for rookie CeeDee Lamb (8-124) and Michael Gallup (4-73) saved his best for last. He beat CB Ryan Lewis and made a superb leaping grab for 38 yards to set Dallas up for the winning field goal. Dalvin Tomlinson had a sack on Andy Dalton’s first snap. Markus Golden had a sack but also a costly facemask penalty. After Dak Prescott (14 for 21, 166 yards, one TD catch) went down with a grotesque ankle injury, Giants let Dalton (9 of 11, 111 yards) beat them, which is never a good thing. S Adrian Colbert was called for two helmet-to-helmet penalties. Did you hear much from Amari Cooper (two catches for 23 yards)? Credit CB James Bradberry, who provided blanket coverage.
Punter Riley Dixon got a bit too anxious on a fake punt and did not wait long enough for Cam Fleming to set himself on the line, costing the Giants four points, as Dixon’s TD pass was nullified. That was a brutal mistake on a play that should have hit big. Graham Gano continued his tremendous kicking. He drilled field goals of 55, 50, 54 and 28 yards and is on a Pro Bowl pace. Dixon’s punting is always on point.
All the aggressiveness from Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett were done in by the familiar mistakes and shoddy execution that leads to losing. Garrett in his return to Dallas had some nifty play-calls — end around to Evan Engram, tackle-eligible pass to Andrew Thomas for a two-point conversion — but has to get his quarterback to settle down and hold onto the ball. Great call by special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey on fake field goal that should have resulted in a touchdown. Judge alertly called an emergency time out late in the first half before the Giants were going to be called for a delay of game penalty. Patrick Graham’s defense lost Lorenzo Carter early and could not get the stop it needed late.