Keidel: A Sign Of A Long Year Ahead? Giants Defense Offers Little Resistance Vs. Cowboys

Jason Keidel
September 09, 2019 - 12:45 pm
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If you felt you didn't see a complete NFL game in Dallas on Sunday, it's because only one team played like it belonged in the NFL. 

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The Dallas Cowboys mopped the gridiron with the Giants, battering them from whistle to gun. Dallas rumbled to a 35-7 lead before moonwalking to a 35-17 win. The Giants scored 10 points in textbook garbage time, as meaningful as those snaps Daniel Jones took at the end of the game. 

Saquon Barkley dashed 59 yards on his first carry. Then the Giants hopped on the plane back to New Jersey. Nothing else could explain why they stopped giving their best player the ball. Barkley carried the ball 10 more times all afternoon. 

After the Giants jumped out to a 7-0 lead, the Cowboys scored five touchdowns on five straight possessions, of 75, 93, 83, 75 and 89 yards. It was the first time Dallas had done that in 19 years. To give you an HD look at Big Blue's D, consider that they made Dak Prescott look like Dan Marino. 

The former fourth-round pick, whom many feel is little more than a game manager, passed for over 400 yards (405) for just the second time in his career, posting a perfect passer rating (158.3). Prescott had so much time to throw he could have smoked a cigar in the pocket. Just the first half alone was memorable for the Cowboys QB, who set a personal record for passing yards in a first half, with 256. It was more than he averaged per game all last season (242.8). Overall, Prescott hit seven different receivers, two of whom had 100-yard games. 

Ezekiel Elliot didn't post monstrous numbers simply because he didn't have to. The Giants, who spent seven of their 10 draft picks on defense, were so defenseless you have to wonder how they can even sniff .500 this year. The NFC East is more ornery than normal -- even the Redskins gave the Eagles a mouthful Sunday before blowing it in the second half -- and the Giants couldn't stop the Cowboys on a day when Elliott had just 53 yards rushing (and one catch for 10 yards). 

And remember the Giants have what most consider a pillow-soft schedule this year, with laughably little traveling to do. The farthest from home they will be all season was Sunday's game in Texas. The only other time they enter a different time zone is when they visit the Bears in Week 12. 

The season is never over after the first game. And the Giants play the Bills and Buccaneers -- two teams with a world of issues -- over the next two weeks. They also play the Lions, Cardinals, Jets and hapless Dolphins, a once-proud team that may not even compete in the Big 10 these days. But Sunday's game was a brutal opening to the 2019 season.

By the time Dallas salted the game away, folks were making Kellen Moore, the baby-faced offensive coordinator, look like Don Coryell. If that weren't painful enough, Jerry Jones recently bragged about Moore in peculiar terms.

"I'm not paying money for an experienced coach," the Cowboys owner said. "What I'm paying for is the stuff you get when you get youth. Imagination, enthusiasm, can-do, taking some risks. We need that since we sacrificed a little experience." 

In other words, you don't need a ton of talent or experience to beat the Giants. You need some enthusiasm and some "can-do." Big Blue better stop showing you what it can't do when it hosts the Bills next week. Buffalo is in the odd position of playing in the same stadium on the road twice in a row, after lumbering back to beat an equally sad Jets squad on Sunday.

The Giants better remember who the true home team is, or they could let this season slip through their taped hands in short order. 

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel.