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Cover 3

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Cover 3: What went right, what went wrong


Takeaways from the Giants' 37-34 loss to the Cowboys in Week 5:

John Schmeelk: Everything that's said about untimely penalties is correct, but it goes deeper than that. The number of missed opportunities in this game against the Cowboys are too long to list, but here are some key ones.

On defense, there were too many missed tackles on Ezekiel Elliot's runs. There was a missed tackle on a swing pass to Tony Pollard on the tying field goal drive gave the Cowboys a 3rd-and-2 at the Giants 26 instead of dealing with a third-and-long on the fringe of field goal range.

At the end of the game, the Giants were in man-to-man defense, and Michael Gallup found a way to make a couple of plays, unlike the secondary.

On special teams, the Giants had a touchdown scored on a fake field goal, but they weren't set on the snap.

On offense, the Giants had a number of opportunities to get down the field to open receivers during the game, but they failed to take advantage due to pressure up front or the failure to get the ball to the open receiver. The offensive line needs to block better. There were also a couple of drops over the course of the game.

The team is playing better football, but it's still not good enough to win. They will have another chance to change that against the Washington Football Team this weekend.

Dan Salomone: There was a lot of finger-pointing in the Giants' postgame locker room in Arlington, Texas, where the team let another one slip away to remain winless through five weeks. Those actions were directed at the mirror, as described by veteran defensive back Logan Ryan during his video conference with the media. He was sick about his play, Blake Martinez was upset about a missed tackle, and James Bradberry lamented a missed interception – all plays that could have put the Giants over the hump for the first time in the Joe Judge era. That accountability is what you want to hear from team leaders, but they also had another message: the bill is past due.

"We did a lot of good things, but we're not getting any more 'atta-boys', no more pats on the back," Ryan said. "At this time, it's done. The fan base deserves wins and we're going to do what we have to do to get some wins for the fans and for ourselves because we deserve it, too. Coach Judge deserves it. I'm going to stand up here at this podium with my chin held high and I'm going to go back to work like anyone else would do. I'm going to find a way to play better for the team."

Martinez added, "I think I heard Logan say it best, it's at this point in time that there's enough of this 'we're so close, we're getting there.' It's time to win, this is a result business, we need to go out there and win, get the job done, and it's time for that now."

Lance Medow: Untimely penalties and self-inflicted wounds continue to be a costly trend for the Giants. When you play an offense like the Cowboys that was averaging 510 yards of total offense and 32 points per game entering Week 5, the last thing you can afford to do is sacrifice touchdowns; and in the Giants' case, it was not one, but two.

The first opportunity came on a 4th-and-4 from the Dallas 27 with just over a minute to go in the first half. With the game tied at 17, New York faked the field goal and Riley Dixon threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Evan Engram. The Giants caught the Cowboys off guard but an illegal shift penalty against one of the lineman negated the touchdown and they had to settle for Graham Gano's 50-yard field goal. On the ensuing possession, the Cowboys put together a six play, 75-yard touchdown drive in 35 seconds to move in front, 24-20, at the half.

Opening the third quarter, the Giants had 3rd-and-6 from the Dallas 31. Daniel Jones connected with Darius Slayton for a 31-yard touchdown but that was nullified due to an offensive pass interference call against another receiver. A few plays later, the drive stalled at the 41 and, once again, the Giants settled for a Gano field goal (54 yards). Instead of potentially having 14 points, they had just six. When you lose by three points, the difference of eight is significant.

The Giants had a season-high eight penalties for 81 yards and they were spread across the board: three on offense, four on defense, one on special teams.

The first unnecessary roughness call came on Cowboys' opening drive of the game in which they moved to the New York 6 – they got a FG - and the second one came on their final drive of the first half, which resulted in a TD. Both penalties turned into 30+ yard gains for Dallas and were part of two scoring drives. Another costly defensive penalty came midway through the fourth quarter, with the Giants leading by three points: a facemask flag as the defense stopped Ezekiel Elliott for no gain. The Cowboys moved to the 40 and ultimately were able to get into position to kick the tying field goal.

On top of the penalties, the Giants also turned over the ball, at least once, for the fifth straight game and this one was costly as the Cowboys immediately converted it into a touchdown as Anthony Brown returned it 29 yards for a score. Although the Giants also had a defensive touchdown, the Cowboys' score completely changed the momentum of the game as Dallas erased an early 14-point deficit.

View photos from the Week 5 matchup between the Giants and Cowboys in Dallas.


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