Instant Analysis

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Instant Analysis: Giants can't counter Cowboys' fast start

AT A GLANCE: With both teams looking to avoid the 0-2 start, the Dallas Cowboys came out faster than the New York Giants and scored a long touchdown on the third play of the game. They never relinquished the lead for the remainder of the game as the Giants fell 20-13 on Sunday night at AT&T Stadium.

UP NEXT: The Giants return to the Lone Star State in Week 3 to face the Houston Texans, who also dropped to 0-2 on Sunday after a 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Big Blue is 3-1 all-time against Houston, winning its previous three meetings.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:

*The Giants allowed six sacks, their most since giving up eight on the road against another division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, on Oct. 12, 2014. On the fifth, Eli Manning was hit by Damien Wilson and lost the ball. Taco Charlton recovered it, and the Cowboys kicked a field goal on the ensuing possession. Complicating matters, center Jon Halapio had to be carted off late in the third quarter with a lower leg injury and was replaced by John Greco.

*After not throwing the ball to rookie running back Saquon Barkley in the first half of the season opener, the Giants made it a point to target the second overall pick early and often in Week 2. Barkley caught three passes on the opening drive, eight in the first half, and a franchise record 14 overall for 80 yards. Manning completed 33 of 43 passes for 278 yards and a touchdown – an 18-yarder to tight end Evan Engram that cut the deficit to 10 points with less than two minutes to go in the game.

*The Giants added a wrinkle to Sunday’s game plan – the quarterback sneak. Manning, who had not attempted one since 2010, converted two on the same drive on fourth-and-short. The downside? He was the Giants’ leading rusher until nearly the two-minute warning in the first half. The Giants finished with just 35 yards on 17 carries.

*Odell Beckham Jr., who had 11 catches for 111 yards in Week 1, was kept in check by Dallas on Sunday night. The three-time Pro Bowler, who just last week set the record for most catches in a player’s first 50 games, was held to four receptions for 51 yards.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:

*Similar to the Giants, the Cowboys lost their first game of the season and stressed the importance of starting fast in Week 2. Dallas held up its end as Dak Prescott found Tavon Austin for a 64-yard touchdown on the third play of the game. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins stumbled a bit on the play, and once Austin gets a step on a defender, he makes defenders pay.

*As they are known to do, the Cowboys used a long, methodical drive to eat the clock and break the game open late in the fourth quarter. Prescott led a 14-play, 82-yard scoring drive capped by a six-yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott with 5:45 remaining in the game. The Giants have now allowed 137 and 138 rushing yards in the first two games of the season.

*Third-year cornerback Eli Apple, who was on his way to a second solid showing to start the year, left in the second half with a groin injury.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:

*Aldrick Rosas put the Giants on the board for the first time with a 28-yard field goal with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter and later made a 38-yarder with the game all but out of reach. He converted all three of his field goal attempts last week after a perfect preseason. Punter Riley Dixon had three downed inside the 20 in addition to one touchback.

*Looking for a spark, the Giants put Beckham back to return a punt late in the third quarter with the team trailing by 10. Special teams co-captain Michael Thomas recovered an onside kick attempt with 1:25 remaining in the game and a 10-point deficit.

INACTIVES: NYG -- OLB Olivier Vernon (ankle), ILB Tae Davis (hamstring), QB Kyle Lauletta, S Kamrin Moore, CB Michael Jordan, OL Evan Brown, OL Spencer Pulley. DAL – C Travis Frederick (illness), DT Datone Jones (knee), S Xavier Woods (hamstring), DE Randy Gregory (concussion), QB Mike White, G Xavier Su’a-Filo, TE Dalton Schultz.

LINEUP CHANGES: NYG -- Connor Barwin for Vernon at WILL. DAL – Joe Looney for Frederick at C; Kavon Frazier for Woods at FS; Maliek Collins for Jones at DT.

INJURY REPORT: CB Eli Apple (groin), C Jon Halapio (lower leg), OLB Kareem Martin (ankle, returned), WR/PR Kaelin Clay (ankle, returned)

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