- DEFENSE KEPT NYG ALIVE DESPITE SIX TURNOVERS FROM OFFENSE AND SPECIAL TEAMS
Really, the Giants were still in this game because of the play of the defense. They were able to keep the Cowboys out of the end zone. They forced them to kick field goals, and then I thought they did a great job on third down. The Cowboys were 5 of 15, or 33 percent, on third down. So give a lot of credit to them. They stepped up. They kept the Giants in the game, and really when the Giants got the ball back in the fourth quarter with two minutes to go in the game, they had a chance to go back and win this football game. That's all you can ask for from the defense.
- THREE PLAYS THAT CHANGED THE GAME
1) Eli Manning throws an interception on the first play from scrimmage.
I love the play call. First play of the game, you're going against a new defense, they're revved up ready to go, they're in full attack mode, so you dial up a screen. You know they're going to be flying up the field, and what you really want to do is slow that pass rush down for later on in the game. Let's go into the play. You see the Giants get what they want. When you call a screen, you want the defensive linemen penetrating. The offensive linemen have let them go. There is a lot of space out by the numbers – that's what you want when you call a screen play. Now we all know the outcome, but the two people responsible for the interception are: Will Beatty, his job is to block DeMarcus Ware all day long. He lets him get inside, that's the first mistake. The second mistake is Eli doesn't see him, but had he seen him, you've got to burn that football and throw it into the ground and go on to the next play. Two errors combined to make for a terrible start to the opening game.
2) DT Linval Joseph and DE Jason Pierre-Paul team up to sack Tony Romo with 7:08 left in the game.
The Giants front four really struggled all game long to get pressure on Tony Romo, but here in the fourth quarter they found a way to get to him. Linval Joseph did a great job against Cowboys guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, and that's the way you want to get pressure on a quarterback – right up the "A" gap. He wants to step up, but he can't step up because Linval Joseph does a great job of prying the guard open. And of course Justin Tuck comes around the edge and he piles on. This is what you like to see if you're a defensive coordinator. Guys are getting pressure. You can drop now in coverage. You can play a little bit different type of scheme defensively, and that's really what Perry Fewell was trying to get out his defense the entire game.
3) Giants' potential comeback drive ends with Manning being sacked by Jason Hatcher.
This was a big play. When you look at this play, the first thing that you see is Kevin Boothe has his head down between his legs. This is the silent count. This is one of the challenges offensive linemen go through. You have to rely on your guards to communicate where guys are. So that's point number one. He brings his head up and sees where his guys are, but the center, the left guard and the left tackle are sliding to the left to No. 50, Sean Lee. That put Chris Snee on a big island. That's why they pay him the big bucks. You're one-on-one and now you've got a two-way go. Your three-technique player can either rush outside or inside, and that creates a lot of space. Jason Hatcher takes the inside route because he knows that this center is sliding away. That's a lot of space to try to cover. Justin Pugh was doing a good job protecting Eli Manning, but they got pressure up the "A" gap like we saw Linval Joseph do on Tony Romo. That's what they did to Eli Manning. He tries to step up in the pocket, and the pocket collapses. That's why that play ended up being a sack.
- SECONDARY STEPPED UP AGAINST TALENTED DALLAS RECEIVERS
Those are very physical receivers -- Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. I think this secondary really stepped up. I thought Terrell Thomas did a great job filling in. It's great to see him back on the field. He made some big plays and had a couple pass breakups. Now I think for the Giants, they really need Prince Amukamara to come back. He's their number one corner. Obviously going into next week you want to have that guy out there. I think the other addition that was nice to see back out there was Aaron Ross. He did a great job showing up for the secondary.
- HOW THE DEFENSIVE LINE STOPPED THE RUN BUT HAS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
I think defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was frustrated with not being able to get to the quarterback with that front four. That's why you saw him kind of bring some blitzes. He dialed it up a little bit because he realized we've got to get pressure. When he did bring pressure with the blitz, they got to Tony Romo. They knocked him around a little bit. But that defensive line did a good job in the run game. I thought the Dallas Cowboys offensive line played well at times. For the Giants, this defense, the one thing they need to do is they need to work on their conditioning a little bit because it looked like at times the Cowboys, with their hurry-up offense, got the Giants defensive line gassed.
- RB DAVID WILSON CAN RESPOND AFTER LOSING TWO FUMBLES
We all know what David Wilson did this last year. So I think for the Giants the biggest thing they need to do is just get him back on the saddle. You fall off the horse, you've got to get right back on. They can't let him dwell on this mentally. I think the first play of the game next week should be a run play. Let him get back in the groove. Let him take his mind off things because he is a good running back. He's a big part of their offense, and they need him on the field.
- LOOKING AHEAD: WEEK 2 AGAINST THE DENVER BRONCOS AT HOME
This is a big game. There are so many different storylines obviously. A couple of brothers are playing in this game that everybody knows about, but when you look at the poor play of the offense in turning the football over, they were still in this game because of defense. You cannot expect that to be the case when you have a Peyton Manning. We all know he just threw for seven touchdowns. You've got Eric Decker, you've got Demaryius Thomas, and you've got Wes Welker now. So I think the biggest part for the Giants offense this week coming into the Denver Broncos game is you have to run the football. You have to be able to take Peyton Manning, put him on the bench, and control the time of possession. That's the way you beat the Denver Broncos. They had a couple guys step up last week defensively. So I think you start off with the run game and then I think you can hit some big play-action passes. That's what offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride really excels in – getting those big plays in the passing game. But it starts with the run up front.