What was once a favorite travel spot for the Giants has now become a tourist trap.
By a score of 20-13 on Sunday night, the Cowboys sent Big Blue away with its fifth loss in the last six trips to AT&T Stadium, where the Giants won the first four meetings after it opened in 2009. After giving up an early touchdown, the Giants failed to put up any points in the first 40 minutes, making for a long night in Arlington, Texas.
"We certainly didn't do enough, certainly on offense," coach Pat Shurmur said. "We didn't score enough points, especially early. Then the game gets twisted like that and you've got to pass it more than you want to. I think we just didn't make enough plays. So here we are, we're 0-2."
IT WAS OVER WHEN: Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott scored on a six-yard run with 5:45 left in the game, capping a 14-play, 82-yard drive that took 8:23 off the clock. After scoring a long touchdown less than two minutes into the game, Dallas led the rest of the way, but Elliott's score -- and the time-killing possession -- put a stranglehold on the outcome as the Cowboys went up 20-3. The Giants did add 10 points in the final two minutes with an Evan Engram touchdown catch and an onside kick recovery by Michael Thomas that led to a short field goal by Aldrick Rosas, but they did not make enough plays like those in the first 48 minutes.
UNDER PRESSURE: Blitzes, stunts, rushing four – the Cowboys did a number of things and the Giants "didn't pick up any of it." Those were the words of left tackle and offensive co-captain Nate Solder after the Giants allowed six sacks, their most since giving up eight in another primetime game against an NFC East opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, in 2014. Things won't be any easier moving forward after starting center Jon Halapio had to be carted off late in the third quarter with leg and ankle injuries that will require surgery.
"I haven't seen the film, but I know they have good pass rushers," Solder said. "I know they have a good scheme. They have a good team. I think that we played far below what we're capable of doing. There's only one [way] to get there and that's through tough play, hard work, more preparation…all those things."
STAT OF THE GAME: Rookie Saquon Barkley set the single-game franchise record with 14 receptions, breaking the previous mark of 13 posted by another running back, Tiki Barber, in the final game of the 1999 regular season. The record meant good and bad things for the Giants on Sunday. On one hand, the second overall pick showed it is nearly impossible to tackle him on the first attempt every time he touches the ball. On the other, it meant Eli Manning had to check down as the Cowboys kept everything in front of them, including Odell Beckham Jr., who had just four catches for 51 yards.
"We don't have it scripted how many times I'm supposed to touch the ball or how many times anyone else is supposed to touch the ball," Barkley said. "It kind of just happens. It just flows. Obviously, we have big threats downfield and the Cowboys wanted to take that away. When that happens, you've got to go through progressions. Eli did a great job of going through his progressions and taking risks when he had to and checking down when he had to."
WHAT THE LOSS MEANS FOR THE GIANTS: For the second year in a row -- and fifth time in the last six seasons -- the Giants are 0-2. It's not the start Shurmur envisioned in his first year with the Giants, but like he said, there is no other way out of this. Following the flight back to East Rutherford from Dallas, the Giants have a week to prepare before returning to Texas and taking on three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans, who are also winless after two weeks.
WHAT THE WIN MEANS FOR THE COWBOYS: Entering Sunday night, the winner knew it would be in first place in the division while the loser would drop to the bottom. Dallas was the former and grabbed the first and only NFC East victory so far in the young season. The defending Super Bowl champion Eagles and Washington Redskins both lost on Sunday after winning their season openers.