When Eli Manning led his offense down field for the New York Giants in what should have been a game winning drive in the middle of the fourth quarter, many fans felt that we might just witness yet another classic comeback. Last Sunday night’s game versus the Dallas Cowboys proved to tell a different story since the Giants’ defense failed to deliver once again.
The Giants led the Cowboys 28-24 with three minutes left in the 4th quarter with Dallas also having no timeouts remaining. All the Giants defense had to do was get a stop and the game would have been over and the pain of another mediocre Giants season would have been eased just enough to keep fans from walking around with paper bags over their heads. What ensued was a complete dissection of the Giants much maligned defense that made fans sick to their stomachs in record time.
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Tony Romo led his team down field to score what would turn out to be the game winning touchdown with 51 seconds to spare in the fourth quarter. Dallas defeated the Giants 31-28 and the nightmare that has become the 2014 season continued for the Giants.
How did the Cowboys drive down field in 1:09 with no timeouts? It’s actually quite simple. Romo literally had all the time in the world to throw against a battered defense filled with backup players forced into the spotlight due to injuries.
The Giants’ defense actually played well in the first half of the game, stopping the run which has plagued them all season long, and had gotten good pressure on Romo that limited the big playmaking abilities of the Cowboys offense. In the second half however, it looked like a completely different defense for the Giants.
Their pass rush became once again non-existent especially in that game winning drive that gave Romo plenty of time to drive the ball down field and keep the tempo at a rapid pace.
The main question after the game was where did the pass rush go in the second half? Why was Mathias Kiwanuka playing the majority of snaps despite having an awful season over clearly better players like Robert Ayers and Damontre Moore? Why did the Giants take their foot off the gas and stop playing aggressive in favor of soft zone schemes that allowed Dallas to establish their offense and take control of the game? Why in the world in any scenario would a medicore cornerback like Jayron Hosley be covering one of the top receivers in football in Dez Bryant? When will the Jason Pierre-Paul from 2011 show up?
These questions keep piling up week after week in a season full of questions and very few answers. Most of which probably won’t be answered until the offseason begins because quite frankly, the Giants have much work ahead of them.