N.Y. Giants 31, Dallas 14: Another Loss for the Modern Cowboys’ Legacy
There was one positive surprise tonight. The Cowboys didn’t quit.
Most of the rest of this review is negative. Long before the Cowboys showed some fight, the Giants had already scored 21 first-half points.
This defense was just terrible, even with some improvements in the second half. Terence Newman should have played his final game as a Cowboy. He missed a key tackle in the second quarter when a tight end hurdled him. He whiffed trying to cover Victor Cruz, who raced up the left sideline for a 74-yard touchdown. The Giants never trailed again.
The Giants picked on Newman several more times in the first half. Eli Manning later turned his attention to Alan Ball and Orlando Scandrick, and Cruz and Hakeem Nicks managed to burn both of them as well.
Almost Anthony Spencer committed two costly offsides penalties. He had chances to make tackles and record sacks. He missed several of those opportunities and did not record a sack.
The Cowboys had chances to recover two Giant fumbles in the first half, but neither Ball nor Gerald Sensabaugh could grab the ball.
The Cowboys had a drive that appeared to go deep into Giant territory. However, Romo’s apparent 22-yard pass to Dez Bryant inside the red zone was negated because Romo crossed the line of scrimmage before he threw the pass. Dallas moved the ball into Giant territory late in the half, but Dan Bailey missed a 52-yard field goal attempt.
By halftime, Dallas trailed 21-0. The game appeared completely over.
The Dallas defense came to life for much of the second half. The offense also did its part, but not without more mistakes. After the Cowboys cut the lead to 21-7, Romo threw an interception. However, the defense stopped the Giants on fourth down, giving the Cowboys another chance.
Still trailing by 14, Dallas drove to the Giant 10 and faced a 4th and a long 1. On a strange play, Romo tried a QB sneak, which came up short.
But the defense held, and a good punt return by Dez Bryant followed by a penalty on New York gave Dallas the ball at the Giant 26. Dallas scored three plays later to cut the New York lead to 21-14.
The Cowboys had a good chance with just one more stop. The Giants faced a 3rd and 7 at their own 28. Dallas pressured Manning, but Manning threw deep to Cruz, who caught the ball in front of Scandrick.
Finally, from that point on, it was over. The Giants kicked a field goal, held the Cowboys, and then drove for a touchdown.
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There is no simple solution for this team, nor is there clear reason to be optimistic. This team’s current legacy is to start losing late in the season and to fall apart in the most important games. Jerry and Jason can say all they want that what has happened to previous teams doesn’t matter, but plenty of very committed fans are so far beyond fed up with this franchise folding when the games really matter.
In other words, we can’t look past:
2003: Dallas travels to Carolina to play in the Cowboys’ first playoff game since 1999. Carolina 29, Dallas 10.
2006: Tony Romo fumbles a snap on a field goal attempt that would have given the Cowboys a late lead. Seattle 21, Dallas 20.
2007: The Cowboys’ late comeback attempt falls short as the Giants ruin the Cowboys’ 13-3 record. N.Y. Giants 21, Dallas 17.
2008: Dallas travels to Philadelphia with a playoff berth on the line. Philadelphia 44, Dallas 6.
2009: Dallas wins its first playoff game in 13 seasons and then travels to play the Vikings. Minnesota 34, Dallas 3.
2011: The Cowboys travel to New York with a playoff berth on the line. N.Y. Giants 31, Dallas 14
Of course, then there’s the 6-10 season in 2004, the 9-7 season in 2005, and the 6-10 season in 2010. The positives–winning some games in November and beating the Eagles in the playoffs in 2009–don’t make up for the constant disappointment we’ve had to put up with for quite a long time.