The New York Giants’ 2017 season debut against the Dallas Cowboys was less-than-stellar, thanks to an underwhelming offense. We all know the Giants’ O-line is Swiss cheese. Last season, the blame could mostly be placed on Ereck Flowers, who had been shaky by either forgetting how to block or getting flagged for holding. Sunday’s game was an improvement for Flowers who managed to not get flagged. But wouldn’t you know – now John Jerry doesn’t know how to block without holding.
So when Eli Manning actually managed to connect to his timid offense, the chains wouldn’t move. And I hate to break it to you, but if you don’t move the chains, you don’t score; hence the brutal 19-3 beat-down.
“No part of the offense was functional [Sunday],” coach Ben McAdoo said.
On top of that, the Giants’ $206 million defense still had trouble shutting down the third and long/third and short. I get it, the Cowboy’s O-line is the best in the league. But giving up critical third and longs is how teams beat themselves, which is exactly what happened.
“At the end of the day there’s not much to hang your hat on, scoring three points and getting beat like we got beat,’’ left guard Justin Pugh said.
Now, I know the prospect seems bleak and everyone wants to win their season debut. But let me explain how the Giants aren’t actually screwed…yet.
First of all, the Giants once again got caught on the wrong side of BS penalties. For example, Janoris Jenkins did not deserve that PI call that ultimately put the Cowboys in the red zone for their first touchdown. While this may seem minor, calls like this add up quickly and result in big points or renewed downs. The Giants were only trailing by two field goals before Jenkins was flagged, but once the Cowboys found the end zone, they also found their momentum.
Secondly, Eli did not play as badly as you all think. Shocking, I know. But here’s why Eli isn’t the problem.
Eli is not blessed with the gift of speed. He’s not a Russel Wilson/Aaron Rodgers type of guy, so when his pocket collapses, he’ll likely go down with it. With the Giants’ O-line being as shaky as it is, Manning has about two seconds to make a decision before he’s facedown on the carpet. Which make his mis-throws more understandable. On top of that, we had a rookie tight end playing in the big leagues for the first time, Brandon Marshall finding his stride with a new offense, and no Odell Beckham Jr.
And finally, Cowboys’ wide receiver Cole Beasley is a slippery son of a bitch and his neck-catch was a testament to his luck rather than skill. But it’s players like Beasley who manage to find the holes on third down that gas the Giants’ defense and make it tired by the fourth quarter.
Luckily, all of these factors can be fixed – except for the refs needing glasses. It is up to Ben McAdoo to bring out the best of his offense, and seal the deal on defense. Sure, the outcome of Sunday’s game could have been 100% better. But let’s give it a few more weeks before we count out Big Blue for good.
“Well, it’s one of 16 games,” McAdoo said. “We have to be careful getting too emotional about one football game. A lot of effort and energy goes into the first game. You’ve got to tip your hat to Dallas and move on to the next one.”