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Instant Analysis

Instant Analysis: Giants lose opener to Cowboys

AT A GLANCE: AT&T Stadium has been home to some close finishes between the Giants and Cowboys, but this wasn't one of them. After they got off to a promising start, the Giants were gashed by big plays and failed to generate more of their own as they fell to the Cowboys, 35-17, in the season opener.

UP NEXT: The Giants host the Buffalo Bills in their home opener (1 p.m. ET) at MetLife Stadium. The Giants have won the last three (in 2007, 2011, and 2015) and four of the last five games in the series. The teams last met on Oct. 4, 2015 in Buffalo, where Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes in a 24-10 Giants victory. They last faced each other in New Jersey on Oct. 16, 2011, when Lawrence Tynes kicked a game-winning 23-yard field goal with 1:32 remaining in a 27-24 Giants victory.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:

*Perhaps the most incredible statistic from Saquon Barkley’s 2018 Pro Bowl campaign was that the rookie never fumbled on 352 touches. That changed on the first snap of his second season. After he gained eight yards on a short pass, Cowboys safety Xavier Woods got his helmet on the football and popped it out. Giants fullback Eli Penny managed to recover it, thankfully for the Giants, because Barkley broke a 59-yard on the next play. It sparked a seven-play, 79-yard opening drive that tight end Evan Engram capped with a one-yard touchdown catch from Manning.

*The Giants didn’t score again until 11:02 left in the third quarter on a field goal, and didn’t find the end zone until a Wayne Gallman rushing touchdown with 2:49 left in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.

*Barkley, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage last year, recorded his 14th 100-yard game on Sunday. He had 139 total – 120 rushing (11 carries) and 19 receiving (four catches).

*Manning, who completed 30 of 44 passes for 306 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, lost a fumble while being sacked on fourth-and-one inside the Cowboys 10 late in the third quarter. It came after fullback Eli Penny picked up one yard up the middle on third-and-two.

*On Sunday, Manning became the first Giant to play 16 seasons with the franchise. Pro Football Hall of Famers Mel Hein and Michael Strahan and quarterback Phil Simms are the only other players to wear a Giants uniform for 15 seasons.

*Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones suited up for his first regular-season game while Alex Tanney was inactive. Jones, the sixth overall draft pick, entered the game with 1:46 remaining and a 35-17 deficit. He completed three of four passes for 17 yards before he lost a fumble on a five-yard scramble with 56 seconds left in the game.

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WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:

*Jason Witten drew a lot of attention after he came back down from the broadcast booth and unretired this offseason, but there was another tight end who presented problems for the Giants. Blake Jarwin, who caught his first, second and third career touchdowns in the 2018 season finale at MetLife Stadium, tied the game late in the first quarter with a 28-yard touchdown from Dak Prescott. Witten then gave the Cowboys a 14-7 lead in the second quarter with a four-yard touchdown, his 16th against the Giants. It was the 37-year-old’s first game since Dec. 31, 2017.

*The Giants allowed 305 yards in the first half, including 256 passing and three touchdowns through the air as the Cowboys scored 21 unanswered points. The yards were a career-high for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the first two quarters of a game (previous was 194 last year vs. New Orleans). His 405 yards for the day were the second-most of his career. Prescott, who had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 with four touchdowns, improved to 10-0 when throwing for 275 yards.

*Four different Cowboys had receptions of 25 yards, including Michael Gallup’s 62-yarder and Amari Cooper’s 45-yarder, and three caught touchdowns of at least 20 yards.

*Running back Ezekiel Elliott, who ended a 40-day holdout and signed a six-year contract extension on Wednesday, put the game largely out of reach with a 10-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, giving Dallas a 35-10 advantage heading into the fourth.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:

*Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas extended his streak to 10 game without a missed field goal. He made a 28-yarder in the third quarter and has not missed since Week 6 of last season.

*Riley Dixon had three of his four punts downed inside the 20, including one inside the 10.

INJURY REPORT: LB Kareem Martin (knee)

INACTIVES: NYG – WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), TE Garrett Dickerson (quad), G Chad Slade, OT Eric Smith, QB Alex Tanney, RB Paul Perkins. DAL – S Darian Thompson (ankle), S Donovan Wilson (ankle), LB Luke Gifford (ankle), C/G Adam Redmond, OT Brandon Knight, DT Trysten Hill, DE Taco Charlton.

View the best photos from Sunday's game against the Cowboys

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