Bookended by a pair of home losses, the thriller in Dallas fell right in the middle of David Baas' three-week injury-induced hiatus. The seventh-year center could only watch from his home back east, erupting in his living room as Jason Pierre-Paul blocked the last-second field goal.
"It was awesome. There wasn't a doubt they were going to win. They did a heck of a job," Baas recalled on Friday. "We were going crazy. There are all those great feelings from the last game, but that's last game. That's over. That's weeks ago. This is the week that matters. We know what's at stake, and we've got to stay focused."
Missing the bulk of December with neck-related ailments, Baas returned in time to beat the Jets on Christmas Eve, helping to set the stage for this week's primetime game against the Cowboys.
Baas never experienced this sort of hoopla swirling around the winner-take-all bout in his six previous seasons in San Francisco.
The 49ers, who drafted him in 2005, posted a 37-59 record during his tenure while never having a winning season. The closest they came was an 8-8 ledger in 2009, when he started all 16 games at left guard.
When the opportunity presented itself to join the Giants, Baas knew games like these were part of the package and worth the cross-country displacement.
"It's one of the reasons why I wanted to come here," Baas said. "You've got to stay reserved, though. You know what's at stake. There's a hype level that you have inside, but you can't let it get the best of you. You have to be able to have that level of concentration."
That's especially true for an offensive lineman who will be going up against the blitz-heavy front seven of the Cowboys.
Baas didn't have the opportunity to witness all the mixing of personnel and various defensive fronts the first time around, but he did liken it to what he faced against his former team in Week 10.
"San Francisco did a lot of that too," Baas said, later adding, "With the Cowboys, they're going to bring so many different fronts and different looks and they're going to try to confuse you. You've just got to play smart. You've got to be able to sort all that stuff out and not let it bother you and just go out there and play football, that's it. Go out there and do what you do."
From stand-up defensive linemen to twisting on blitzes, the scout team has played an integral role this week in mimicking the Cowboys.
"We've had a good practice, and they've thrown a lot of those looks in this week," Baas said. "I feel like we've handled them very well. If we've messed up on a couple of them, we repeated them just so they're in our minds. We've looked at them on film and we've gone over them multiple times. We're doing what we need to do to be prepared."
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