EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants never expected nor wanted to be mired in their current situation, but they will own it, fight through it, and do everything they can to improve it.
Week 10 of the NFL season delivered another disappointing defeat to a team that has borne more than its share. The Giants lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 49-17, to fall to 2-8 with their third consecutive loss.
The defeat included another collection of unsightly numbers. The Giants have been outscored the last two weeks, 79-23. The Giants allowed 89 points in two losses to the Cowboys this season. Yesterday, they failed on all 12 of their third-down opportunities; finished with 61 net passing yards largely because they didn't protect Tommy DeVito, a rookie quarterback making his first start; and allowed 640 yards, the second-highest total in franchise history.
With seven games remaining, including a rematch against the Commanders Sunday in Washington, what do the Giants do now?
"You make no excuses about it," coach Brian Daboll said Monday. "We are at where we are at and that's where we're meant to be right now, relative to what we've done. So, you don't feel sorry for yourself, you go about it with the right mindset and your head down. You work as hard as you can work, you prepare as hard as you can prepare. You teach, you work, you practice, you do the necessary things you need to do to give yourself a chance and you move on to the next week. So, you are real about where you are at, this is where we are at, but we control our actions, our attitudes, our emotions, our approach. That's what we can focus on."
Daboll was repeating a sentiment the players recited after the game. Only they can lift themselves from the hole into which they've fallen.
"No one's going to save us but us," running back Saquon Barkley said. "It's definitely tough right now, losing like that, getting embarrassed week after week, but you've got to be a man about it. Obviously, you can be in your feelings for only a short, short time, but you've got to get ready for next week. That's the NFL."
Barkley was asked if the losing this season is harder to digest because the Giants were a winning team that earned a playoff victory on the road last year.
"Losing just sucks, no matter what," Barkley said. "It just sucks, no matter the year prior we made it to the playoffs or not, you know. We're not doing our job. We're not playing at the level we need to play. It's the NFL. We shouldn't get beat, we shouldn't be getting beat like this no matter what the situation is, and we can't allow ourselves to continue to make excuses. That's the easy thing to do and that's going to creep in. It's going to creep in everyone's mind. It's creeped into mine, but that's the daily fight. You've got to continue to fight that. It's a mental battle at the same time, but, you know, leave it at home and come to work with a smile on your face and get ready for next week."
Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence credited Daboll with keeping the players' focus on the immediate task ahead of them, whether it's that day's practice or the next game.
"I respect Dabs a lot," Lawrence said. "He's just as or more competitive as the players, and he wants to win and create an environment of winning just as much as the players do. This year is not going that way. I think he's doing a good job of just perspective. I think that's the biggest thing about everything, putting things in perspective. Last night after the game, he didn't really address much. I just told the team, look, we've got to be here for each other no matter what is going on, no matter how raggedy the season is. We love each other in here, and we've got to play for each other in here and be there for each other through this dark time, and we've got to fight our way out."
And they must do it, at least in Washington, with the players who suited up yesterday. Daboll announced soon after the game that DeVito will start against the Commanders. Daniel Jones is out for the season and Tyrod Taylor can't return until the Dec. 11 game vs. Green Bay, after the Giants' bye week. DeVito completed 14 of 27 passes for 86 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and ran for 41 yards on seven carries. He was sacked five times and had to evade the Dallas rush on many other plays.
"Got to do more," DeVito said, "got to watch it, got to grow from it and really emphasize everything bad that was done, whether it was me, the offense, the energy or whatever it was needs to be fixed and we will attack that full force this week."
Attacking, at least an on individual basis, is something the Giants have done. Daboll reiterated today he has no issue with his players' effort.
"You always look at it like that and, again, the effort which those guys compete with has been good," Daboll said. "Running to the football, finishing blocks, blocks downfield, finishing runs, you'll always look at that as a coach. But certainly, when you're in a little bit of a rut here, you want to make sure that you're doing all of the things that you can do on and off the field the right way to give yourselves the best chance to get out of the rut, if you will."
But like everything else this season, it won't be easy.
"Any time you lose, it's tough," Daboll said. "Take a lot of pride in what you do and what we do and how we go about our business and we're not always going to get the results that we want. The challenging part is coming back in after that and moving on to next week, and that's the National Football League.
"Certainly not where we want to be, make no excuses about it. Acknowledge it, move on and get ready to play the next week and that's how you have to approach it. Look, everybody's human. Everybody wants to win; everybody wants to do everything they can do to help achieve that goal. Extra meetings, stay here as late as you need to, good practice habits, and I'd say we take pride in doing those things, but the results haven't showed. So, I understand that it's a production business and we're working extremely hard to get different results."
View photos from the Giants' Week 10 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.