Friday, September 14, 2012

Giants Drop Season Opener to Cowboys

Wednesday, September 5th 2012
Post Game Recap
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys: 24 New York Giants: 17
Giants Drop Season Opener to Cowboys

What started out as an excitement filled night at MetLife Stadium turned sour fast for the defending Super Bowl champion Giants and their fans, as the Cowboys came in and handled beat the Giants 24-17.  This was the first time that a defending super bowl champion lost their season opener since 1999. 

The Giants had some flaws exploited by the Cowboys Wednesday night, as they have some serious work to do.  The running game was again non-existent for a good portion of the game.  On defense, Tony Romo picked the Giants apart as the pass rush was not consistent in getting into the backfield and causing problems.  There was also another injury suffered at cornerback, leaving the Giants dangerously thin at the position and easily exploited by Romo.

The running game again was unable to get going for the Giants.  They also struggled to stop the Cowboys run game, recipe for a disaster for any football team.  Without Brandon Jacobs in the backfield, the Giants are less intimidating on short yardage situations, evident by their inability to score a touchdown on first and goal from inside the five and settling for a field goal.

David Wilson also had a tough debut, as he fumbled his second carry of the night and was benched for the remainder of the game after that.  Fumbling has been a problem for Wilson and the Giants were concerned about it when they drafted him.  He needs to earn the trust from the coaching staff and this will not help him.  He did show some flashes on the kick return duties, showing some of the speed and elusiveness the Giants hope he can eventually bring to the running game. 

Defensively, Demarco Murray was persistent and eventually broke through against the Giants defense, which is without run stopper Chris Canty for at least the first six weeks because of off-season surgery and being placed on the PUP list.  The backbreaker for the Giants was when they had Murray stopped behind the line of scrimmage and were unable to bring him down, looking to ease up some, which resulted in a 48 yard rush.

The improvements Dallas made to the secondary was on display tonight as well, as newly acquired Brandon Carr and first round draft pick Morris Claiborne were able to hold Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks in check.  Last season, Cruz and Nicks combined for 25 catches, 491 yards and two touchdowns in the two games between the Giants and Cowboys; Tonight Cruz and Nicks combined for 10 receptions, 96 yards and no touchdowns.  Cruz also had three drops in the game, the first time a Giants receiver has had that many drops since Mario Manningham in 2009.

One highlight for the Giants passing game was Martellus Bennett, who reeled in four balls for 40 yards and a touchdown against his old team.  Domenik Hixon also made a highlight play with the Giants down 14-3, bringing in a ball Eli Manning threw up for grabs for 39 yards.  That play set up a 10 yard touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw and cut the deficit to 14-10.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/ginsider13s-1-web.jpg

Coming into the game, the Giants biggest concerns were at left tackle and right cornerback.  Sean Locklear got the call at left tackle with Will Beatty still having some problems with his back and Michael Coe got his first start in five NFL season at right corner.  Surprisingly, it was the opposite spots that struggled from the start, as David Diehl at right tackle and Corey Webster at left cornerback had problems. 

DeMarcus Ware got his 100th career sack and didn’t stop there in the first half, accounting for two sacks on Manning in the first half by blowing by Diehl.  Webster, who had the tough assignment of shadowing Dez Bryant for most of the night, got torched on the regular.  He surrendered over 100 yards receiving, giving up big plays to Bryant and falling for a Kevin Ogletree double move that resulted in his second touchdown reception of the game.

Ogletree torched the Giants, which no one saw coming.  Ogletree finished the game with eight receptions, 114 yards and two touchdowns.  No one in the Giants secondary could slow down Ogletree, who stepped up big time for the Cowboys as Jason Witten was limited with a lacerated spleen and Miles Austin was still recovering from a hamstring injury, even though he caught four passes of his own for 73 yards and a touchdown.

Ogletree would have actually had a third touchdown if not for a good play by Coe, who was forced from the game shortly after with a hamstring injury.  His status for week 2 is in serious doubt, which is a problem for the Giants as the player he was starting for, Prince Amukamara, may not be available for week 2 either because of a high ankle sprain.

With Coe out, the Giants were forced to dip even further down their depth chart and use Justin Tryon.  Tyron was subsequently picked on by Romo, as he surrendered the touchdown on first-and-thirty and also gave up the game ending first down to Ogletree on third down.

Next up for the Giants is a week 2 match-up against the much improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be a homecoming for Tampa Bay’s coach Greg Schiano, who was the former head coach at Rutgers University, and Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, who is the Giants former quarterbacks coach.  D.J. Ware will also make his return to MetLife Stadium since being released by the Giants at the last roster cuts of the preseason.  

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