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Instant Analysis: Giants fall to Cowboys in season opener

JORDON-RILEY

AT A GLANCE

A blocked field goal returned for a touchdown and a defensive score put the New York Giants behind out of the gate en route to a 40-0 shutout loss to the Dallas Cowboys to open the season.

UP NEXT

The Giants will regroup and hit the road for two weeks with back-to-back NFC West matchups against the Cardinals and 49ers. Arizona opened the season with a 20-16 loss to Washington as the Giants were the lone NFC East team to fall in Week 1.

View photos from the week 1 matchup between the Giants and Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE

๐Ÿˆ The Giants' final injury report of the week included a significant name. Tight end Darren Waller, who was not previously on the report, was listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Waller was limited in practiced for the first time on Friday, but the marquee offseason addition was active for Sunday night. Waller caught three passes for 36 yards in his Giants debut.

๐Ÿˆ On Friday, in his last session with the media before the game, Daboll said the Giants had settled on their two starting guards, which had been a rotation throughout the summer. He just didn't disclose who they would be. On Sunday night, it was Ben Bredeson on the left and Mark Glowinski on the right. In between was rookie center John Michael Schmitz Jr., while Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal manned the edges.

๐Ÿˆ The first-team offense had just one drive in the preseason, and it was nearly flawless. It looked like the starters had picked up where they left off to start the regular season, marching down to Cowboys 13 on the first drive of the game. But that's where Sunday night went sideways. A low snap by Schmitz on third-and-seven led to a 14-yard loss. It got worse on the next play, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown.

๐Ÿˆ After a three-and-out, the third drive ended in a pick-six, with cornerback DaRon Bland grabbing a pass that went off the hands of Saquon Barkley and returning it 22 yards for a touchdown. Former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore also intercepted Jones, who last year had the lowest interception rate (1.1 percent of attempts) in the NFL.

๐Ÿˆ Jones, who ran a career-high (regular season) 13 times for 43 yards, was under duress for much of the night. The Cowboys sacked him four times on seven quarterback hits in the first half alone. Overall, he was sacked seven times while Dallas registered 12 quarterback hits.

๐Ÿˆ Wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins lost a fumble on a 24-yard pickup, bringing the Giants' turnover total to three for the game.

๐Ÿˆ Wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson has not played since tearing his ACL last Nov. 20 vs. Detroit. Robinson was activated off the reserve/physically unable to perform list on Aug. 29. He has since participated in practice but was limited.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE

๐Ÿˆ The defense was put behind the eight ball as the Giants found themselves down 16-0 in the first quarter thanks to the Cowboys' defensive and special teams scores. While they gave up three rushing touchdowns โ€“ two to Tony Pollard โ€“ they limited Dak Prescott to just 143 passing yards as Dallas played with the lead for nearly the entire night.

๐Ÿˆ A major storyline this summer was the rookie cornerback tandem of Deonte Banks, a first-round pick, and Tre Hawkins III, a sixth-rounder. Banks broke up two passes but was penalized for illegal contact on a Cowboys touchdown drive. The Maryland product then went into the locker room at halftime as he dealt with cramps.

๐Ÿˆ Hawkins flashed his physicality among seven tackles but was called for a 37-yard passing interference penalty on a third-and-long, leading to a Dallas field goal.

๐Ÿˆ Heading into the game, defensive lineman D.J. Davidson (knee) and linebacker Cam Brown (ankle) were listed as questionable. Cornerback Cor'Dale Flott (hamstring) and rookie safety Gervarrius Owens (hamstring) were doubtful. All four were inactive on Sunday night.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS

๐Ÿˆ You knew it wasn't the Giants' night when kicker Graham Gano wasn't automatic. Gano, whose 91.8 percent success rate was the highest in Giants history among kickers with at least 50 attempts heading into the season, was unsuccessful on his first two field goal attempts.

The first, a 45-yard try, was blocked by safety Juanyeh Thomas and returned 58 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Noah Igbinoghene. Gano's next attempt, a 36-yarder, missed wide left on a wet night in East Rutherford. Two days before the season began, Gano signed a three-year contract extension that will begin in the 2024 season.

IN-GAME INJURY REPORT

NYG: CB Deonte Banks (cramps)

DAL: None

INACTIVES

NYG: WR Wan'Dale Robinson (knee), CB Cor'Dale Flott (hamstring), S Gervarrius Owens (hamstring), ILB Cam Brown (ankle0, G Shane Lemieux, DT D.J. Davidson (knee)

DAL: CB Jourdan Lewis (foot), S Donovan Wilson (calf), CB Eric Scott, T Tyler Smith (ankle), WR Jalen Brooks, DE Viliami Fehoko, QB Trey Lance

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