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7 takeaways from Postgame Media Hour


  1. Time for evaluation.**


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The Giants enter their bye week with two straight road losses to NFC East opponents, most recently falling, 31-21, to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in AT&T Stadium, which dropped their record to 3-4. While they have been outscored 118-49 in their four losses this year, the injuries have also mounted for the Giants, who will regroup this week before starting the second leg of the season against Indianapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, and again Dallas.

"I'm concerned with playing better football, with our execution, with our ability to run the football, which was basically not there," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after Sunday's game. "Defensing the run, we made some good plays against the run, we made some bad plays against the run.  So, that part of it, I hope we come back with great resolve after the bye and look at the opportunities that are in front of us.  Obviously, we play some very, very good football teams, but we continue to try to improve on the things we're doing poorly and look forward to the opportunities that are coming ahead of us."

2. There are inconsistencies in the run game.

The Giants plugged away for 104 rushing yards on Sunday, but if you take away wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.'s 13-yard end-around and quarterback Eli Manning's 11-yard scramble, the running backs managed just 80 yards on 24 carries. That included 2.8 yards per rush by Andre Williams, who shouldered the workload for the second straight week in place of starting running back Rashad Jennings (knee).

"It's not as consistent," Coughlin said. "We're having bad breakdowns that are costing us negative yardage, so we're having to come from behind the eight-ball instead of going forward.  Even if it's a three-yard run, it's certainly better than second-and-12.  I really look forward to seeing this film because it looked like we had some issues in there with some missed blocks and some people running pretty much free in our backfield. [Dallas linebacker Rolando] McClain made two big hits in the third quarter that"

3. DT Cullen Jenkins hopes his injury isn't long term.

Jenkins was forced to leave Sunday's game late in the first quarter with a calf strain. The 11-year vet spoke about the injury after the game and how it happened.

"I was running," he said. "It is one of those things when you are running and you feel like you get hit, then you realize there was nobody behind you. And you are just like, 'aww, man.'" He added: "You hope it is not that long [term]. Obviously we have a bye week coming up. You get the extra week. Just take it day by day. I will go in tomorrow and get it looked at and see what we are dealing with."

4. LB Jon Beason was unable to put his injury behind him.

The starting middle linebacker, who missed Weeks 3-5 with a lingering foot/toe injury, practiced all week heading into Dallas and was able to start the game against the Cowboys. However, he was unable to finish. Beason left in the second quarter with a toe injury, but while his X-ray was negative, he did not return.

"We thought, really, he [had] done very well," Coughlin said. "He practiced on turf and [did] well the next day.  I really wanted to put that whole thing behind him, but it cropped up again."

5. TE Larry Donnell aims to bounce back after fumbles.

Down by a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Giants fumbled away a chance to tie the game when Donnell lost the ball on a third-down play. The Cowboys recovered and quickly turned into a touchdown and a 14-point lead with 9:11 to play in the game. Donnell would go on to fumble again on the Giants' last offensive play of the game, marking his third lost fumble this season.

"I didn't protect the ball the way I should. I cost the team," said Donnell, who added, "The turnover hurt the team. You can't do that. I'm going to bounce back from it, look at it and protect the ball better to prevent that and not hurt the team."

6. The Giants have to find their identity.

From beginning the season with two losses to responding with a three-game-winning streak and now dropping consecutive games again, the 2014 Giants have been up and down this year. Now they need to determine which team will show up in the second leg of the schedule.  

"It's more us than it is our opponents," left tackle Will Beatty said. "We're shooting ourselves in the foot. We have to, literally, take this week off and evaluate ourselves to make sure we find our identity -- Giants 2014, who we are today, what we want to represent, what we want to show, how we come together, how we play. We are too inconsistent right now. We have had great games. We had a shutout. You don't want it to be a coin flip of which Giants are you getting this week."

7. WR Victor Cruz's video message: "Go out and give it your all."

The star wide receiver and offensive co-captain, who suffered a season-ending torn patellar tendon last week against the Eagles, recorded a message for his team, which was played at the Giants' hotel on Saturday night before taking on the Cowboys.  

"He just went through each position and basically told us to go out there and give it our all," Manning said. "It was good to see him, and I think he is still a part of this squad and this team and this season and he is still a leader of this team. To still have his presence around will be good."

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