Can we just move on from what transpired inside AT&T Stadium on Sunday? Is there any reason to recount in detail what went down, down, down, as far as all the football failings the Giants put on display in their feeble and beyond-embarrassing 49-17 loss to the Cowboys?
This was more of the same for the Giants as this sorry excuse of a season staggers forward.
Let us hit on some of the most egregious misdeeds committed by the Giants as they lost their third consecutive game and their record fell to a dismal 2-8:
— In dark times, when the performance on the field is brutally bad, the search is on for signs of capitulation and indication of players mailing it in. The sideline dustup involving wide receiver Darius Slayton was not that. The Giants were down 28-7 and Slayton let his frustration with the feebleness of the offense get the best of him. He lashed out at Mike Groh, the receivers coach, and it was veteran Sterling Shepard who got in Slayton’s face. What was an attempt to calm Slayton down and motivate him to keep fighting looked like Shepard rippling into Slayton. Of all the players on the roster, Slayton is one the Giants have to least worry about, as far as caring.
“I mean, for me, personally, most of my frustration is going to come from the team’s success,” Slayton said in a hushed Giants locker room. “Everybody wants to go out there and have a bazillion yards and 50 touchdowns and that’s great and fine. At that point in the game we were down and so the game hadn’t gone the way we wanted it to go and obviously that was very frustrating.
“I have a deep desire to win. I’m a very calm, collected person, I don’t speak very much but on the inside I always feel that way. It happened to come out of me. I just normally contain it, it got away from me a little bit.”
— The footnote to this season that is Tommy DeVito is in some ways a trend around the league. He was the 10th different rookie quarterback to start a game this season, the NFL’s highest total since at least 1950. What makes DeVito so unique is his status as an undrafted player. He is the first rookie free-agent quarterback to start a game for the Giants in a non-strike game since 1967, the year the common draft began. DeVito is only the 10th undrafted quarterback to start a game in the NFL since 2010.
— There are blowouts and there are one-sided losses and there is the utter dominance by the Cowboys that made this feel like the varsity going against the JV. The Cowboys owned a massive statistical advantage in total yards (640-172), first downs (32-16), net passing yards (472-61) and time of possession (37:21-22:39). The 49 points were the most given up by the Giants in more than six years. The 640 total yards were the second-most ever allowed by the Giants. Ever! Nearly 80 years ago to the day, the Bears gained 682 yards in a 56-7 rout of the Giants. The 472 net passing yards and 32 first downs were both the third-highest totals given up in Giants history. We are talking 99 years here and this was one of the worst displays of Giants defense, which is quite a thing.
— And now for a heaping helping of offensive ineptitude. The Giants managed to “gain” only 27 total yards in the first half (they trailed 28-0), their fewest yards in a first half in more than 10 years.
— The best way to gain credibility as a team ascends is to take care of business in the neighborhood. The Giants are in shambles here. They are inept when facing the Cowboys and Eagles and thus are non-contenders in the NFC East. For the third straight season, the Giants were swept by the Cowboys in the two-game series. The Giants have lost six straight games and 13 of the last 14 to the Cowboys.
“Just getting beat by anybody like that sucks,” Saquon Barkley said. “It’s been tough my six years here going against Dallas and Philly and coming up short and getting our butt whipped against them. If we want to be the team we want to be, those are the teams we have to match up with and win and we haven’t been doing that since I’ve been here and before me.”
— The 89 points scored this season by the Cowboys in their two victories (40-0 and 49-17) were their most against the Giants in one season since they scored 76 points in a two-game sweep in 2007. Of course, the Giants got the last laugh, upsetting the Cowboys in the playoffs that season en route to Super Bowl XLII.
— About the way Cowboys wide receivers CeeDee Lamb (11-151) and Brandin Cooks (9-173) abused the Giants’ defensive backfield: This was the first time in Giants history two receivers each had 150 or more yards in a game. Ever!
— You can cut a player some slack for keeping his postgame interviews brief after performances such as this. Fans generally do not get hot and bothered when players refuse to talk to the media and sometimes keeping a mouth shut is a way for player to avoid saying something he might regret. But this is the NFL and these are professional athletes and the league stipulates that the locker room must be open and that players must be available. For safety Xavier McKinney and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence — two of the 10 team captains — to decline to speak is weak. Were they more embarrassed or distraught than linebacker Bobby Okereke? He sat and faced the music, looking inwards.
“I got to execute better, especially in the run game and I got to make more impact plays,’’ Okereke said. This is another example why Okereke was voted in as a captain merely months after signing with the Giants. He is a keeper, on and off the field.
— Head coach Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and anyone else involved with the game plan has to come up with a better approach to what the Giants came out with at the start of the game. It was no deep, dark secret that the Giants needed to take as much pressure as possible off DeVito by running the ball early with Barkley. The Cowboys were waiting for this and stuffed Barkley like a rag doll, limiting him to a total of 1 yard on his first seven rushing attempts. Sure, the Giants were backed up deep in their own territory on the first two series and it was not going to be easy to gain any traction on the ground. Still, please come up with something better than this. “Credit to them, they came out with a good plan, they ran a lot of five man front, they moved the front a lot more, we just didn’t adjust to it well,” left tackle Andrew Thomas said. “We got to do a better job of picking up those twists and movements and getting going.”