The Giants were hurting late Sunday because of a loss of their own and another endured by their opponents.
A last-second, 37-34 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys left them with an 0-5 record and the frustration of knowing they had several chances to secure the victory.
But the Giants also felt pain for Dallas, which lost quarterback Dak Prescott to a compound fracture of his right ankle. Prescott, who underwent surgery Sunday night, was injured when his leg bent awkwardly while he was being tackled by safety Logan Ryan after a nine-yard run with 6:33 left in the third quarter. One of the NFL's most popular and visible players, Prescott had started all 69 regular-season games in his career since he was drafted in 2016.
"First and foremost, the worst thing that happened today was Dak's injury," Ryan said. "I mean, it's bigger than football. I feel terrible. It was a routine football play. Look, I study a lot. I thought this game would come down to me and Dak. I know it's a team game, but my job in this game plan was to make it tough on Dak. He made it really tough on us. He's a hell of a player. He's gotten a lot better in his reads. He's got a really good arm. He was tearing it up there. He was making it hard on me. That's why this sucks."
Coach Joe Judge and every Giants player that spoke to reporters on a postgame Zoom call expressed support for Prescott.
"Before I get too much into football with the game itself, rivalry or not, all of our thoughts and prayers go out to Dak Prescott," Judge said. "Tremendous amount of respect for him as a player and even more as a person. You don't want to see anybody get hurt. Obviously, that was a bad looking injury. Our players were concerned about him, our coaching staff were all concerned about him. We hope for the best recovery he can have."
"First, I want to say my prayers are out to Dak, obviously going down during the game," linebacker Blake Martinez said. "You never want to see a player, especially him, of that caliber, go down and have something like that. Praying for a quick recovery for him."
"I'd just like to extend our thoughts and sympathies to Dak on his injury today," quarterback Daniel Jones said. "It's tough to see anyone go down like that in a season-ending situation, and to a guy like that: a competitor who makes tough plays who I have a lot of respect for. So tough to see him go down, and prayers to him."
Jones approached the cart that was used to transport Prescott off the field.
"Just waved at him, wanted him to know we were thinking about him," Jones said. "Didn't get a chance to say a whole lot to him, but yeah, tough to see someone like that go down, and we'll be praying for him."
Prescott was off to the best statistical start of his career. He entered the game with 1,690 passing yards, the most in NFL history through a team's first four games. Prescott was the first quarterback ever to string together three consecutive 450-yard passing games.
In addition, Prescott has been a Giants nemesis. Dallas' victory Sunday was its seventh in a row in the series and raised Prescott's record against them to 7-2.
In the second quarter, Prescott became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to catch a touchdown pass against the Giants when he scored on an 11-yard throw from wide receiver Cedrick Wilson.
Ryan reflected on the play that ended Prescott's season.
"He's a hell of a quarterback," Ryan said. "That was nothing but a routine tackle with two competitors. He's trying to stiff arm me while I'm trying to tackle him and punch the ball out. When I saw it, I saw it immediately. I broke my fibula. I broke my leg two years ago. I came back a better player and I want to wish him well. Obviously, there was no malintent there. I went through a similar injury a couple years ago. I just told him, 'What would Kobe do?' I hope he comes back. I hope he gets $500 million (as a free agent). He deserves it.
"Honestly, that was the worst thing that happened today. I have a sick taste in my stomach for it. He was playing a hell of a game and it was a hell of a battle between us. I hate to see it, but stuff like that - adversity - it makes the real ones stronger. I heard he's getting surgery tonight. I asked my people to reach out so I can send him a tweet or get his phone number and wish him the best of luck. There was no ill-will on my part. Dak is a hell of a player and he's had a hell of a year. I know he's going to come back even stronger."