To say that I was pumped up for the NFL Kickoff last night would be an understatement. Wednesday crawled along until finally it was 8:30 pm and we were ready to kick off. Having football back was fantastic and it was especially great because it came with the knowledge that there will be football to watch every week until February. I just wish Wednesday’s opener had a different outcome.
This game was crucially important to the Cowboys franchise. Jerry Jones even said so himself. The Giants had owned the Cowboys of late and this was the ‘Boys chance to get revenge on a national stage. While this game was important to the Giants, it was not our Super Bowl like it seemed to be for the Cowboys. We played and won 2 of those in the last 5 years.
With that being said, the Giants missed out a number of opportunities. The fumble by the rookie Wilson and having to settle for 3 after returning a Romo interception to the Cowboys 2 yard line hurt. It also didn’t help when Cruz was held in the end zone and we did not get the call. This ended up being the turning point in the game. All of the sudden our defense could not stop Romo and Murray. Our pass rush disapperared, which was surprising against a makeshift and unproven Cowboys offensive line. I did see a lot of holding going on, as Giants players noted after the game. (Kiwanuka even said he was held more during the game than he was as a baby. Zing!) There was holding on both sides of the ball though and it’s no excuse. The replacement refs missed a few calls but they did not do a bad job and they are not the reason the Giants lost. In the 2nd half, Murray was rushing for about 6 yards every carry. Romo played a great game, successfully checking off at the line a handful of times. The Giants were never able to establish the run and our secondary did not impress. They are banged up and we need to sure up the holes in it immediately.
Even with all of those errors, it still came down to the wire. The Giants needed a stop on a 3rd and 11 to get the ball back to Eli with 2 minutes left down 7. Romo hit Ogletree who beat 5th string cornerback Justin Tryon and the game was over. I was sure that Eli would lead the game-tying touchdown drive if the D got the ball back. That’s his specialty and we did it against the Cowboys last season. It would have been horribly deflating, possibly season-changing had the Giants done it again to Dallas. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and the Cowboys did what they needed to do to secure the win.
It was a deflating, frustrating, disappointing and humbling loss. It sucks that the Giants were the first team to lose the Week 1 NFL Kickoff after winning the Superbowl since it started 8 years ago. It sucks that we’re 0-1 and don’t play again for 11 days. It sucks that we lost to the Cowboys, our division rival. It sucks that Jerry Jones feel vindicated. Here’s everything you need to know about Jerry Jones: He has someone clean his glasses for him…
The Cowboys additions in the secondary did make a difference but not so much to the point where I don’t think Eli can still tear apart Rob Ryan’s defense. Our offensive line needs to do a better job of giving Eli more time and our receivers (specifically Cruz who admitted he needs to play better than he did on Wednesday) can not drop balls like they did. There were plays where Cruz, Hixon and Nicks had Carr and Claibourne beat by a couple of steps. When we see the Cowboys again on week 8, I will not be worried about our ability to move the ball on their defense.
Overall, this was a humbling loss because the Giants spoiled me as a fan. They won the final six games of last season (Jets and Cowboys in regular season to ensure a playoff spot then Falcons, Packers, Niners and Patriots to earn the franchises’ 4th Super Bowl). I forgot what this feeling is like – losing. It didn’t go our way this time and it was a reminder that it doesn’t all come easy. We were spoiled as fans, at least I was, and our next victory will be that much sweeter now that I have been reminded of that feeling of defeat. Every game in the NFL is so important, especially division games so the Giants definitely put themselves in a little hole here with this week 1 loss. It’s a long season and there’s a lot of football left to be played. I can’t wait to play the Cowboys again. Let’s put this one behind us, learn from it, and focus our energy on beating Tampa next Sunday. #buildthebridge