The Cowboys took control of the NFC East last night with a 31-20 victory on the road at Giants Stadium. The Giants fell to 6-3 and are 2 games behind Dallas in the NFC East, but with tiebreakers, it really makes it a 3 game deficit.
Both teams had penalty problems left and right. In the first Giants drive of the night, Dallas had 4 consecutive penalties to bring the Giants close and closer to the end zone. The Giants eventually scored on that drive with an Eli Manning pass to Jeremy Shockey.
The Giants, on the other hand, had holding penalties negate two touchdowns, one run by RB Brandon Jacobs from the 2 yard line, and one kickoff return for a touchdown. While it may have been an actual holding on the Jacobs TD run, there was no holding on the kickoff, even though it WAS called.
Another odd call that could have gone either way was a defensive pass interference call from the OTHER side of the field from where the ball was thrown. While both the Giants WR and Dallas DB were pushing and shoving the Dallas player purposely fell over, tricking the referees into calling a penalty.
Tony Romo had a great game. The Giants need to understand that he is one of the best QB’s in the league when it comes to throwing a completion while out of the pocket. He is a BETTER QB when out of the pocket and on the run than in. He did throw one big interception to Gibril Wilson, who picked him off in week 1 also.
The Terrell Owens TD was obviously a blown coverage, and if the Giants felt like actually putting a man on him, Romo most likely wouldn’t have even thrown the ball. The Giants did do a solid job of keeping the ball out of Jason Witten’s hands, which helped the Giants in several situations, especially in the 1st half.
Brandon Jacobs did a great job of falling forward and pushing his way for extra yardage to pick up first downs.
Eli Manning, even with a costly interception in the first half, several delay of games, and the inability to move out of the pocket, still had a nice game. He hooked up with TE Jeremy Shockey several times, including a nice TD in the first half. Plaxico Burress was stopped by the Dallas defense and was limited to only a few receptions.
The fans came to game READY, and Giants Stadium was rocking up and down throughout the game until about halfway through the fourth quarter, when the game was getting taken over by Dallas. The Giants handed out towels to all the fans as they arrived into the stadium, and the fans waved the towels and made noise like it was a playoff atmosphere, like it was the NFC Championship Game.
The Giants defense did a bad job on 2nd and 3rd downs throughout the game, and allowed several passes for large chunks of yardage. One turning point of the game came when Marion Barber III ran to the right on 3rd and 1, and a Giants player, I can’t think of the name, carelessly attempted to tackle Barber, who easily broke the tackle, and ran for a first down.
Romo ended out as the better quarterback in this game, and it showed with his ability to get out of the pocket and throw nice, sharp passes to his WR’s. The Cowboys are a much better team than we saw last year, and I’m expecting them to do some damage throughout the NFC in the second half of this year.
As for the Giants, the season is by no means over. The Giants are in great position for at least a wild card spot, and hey, if Dallas slips at all during the next few games, the Giants could even be thinking about the division, even though its a longshot. At 6-3, the Giants probably just need to go .500 for the rest of the season to get in as a wild card and go from there. The Giants can be a powerful team in the postseason this year, since the team is much more balanced this year than it was last year. The only way that the Giants can win the division is if Dallas loses 3 games for the rest of the year and the Giants win at least 3 games.
Next week the Giants face the surprising Lions (6-3) on the road, who also lost this week