Giants’ gap behind Cowboys extended even further after ’embarrassing’ season-opening loss

September 10, 2023;  East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States;  Coach Brian Daboll looks on during the first half against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.
September 10, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States; Head coach Brian Daboll watches during the first half against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD They wanted to close the gap; They needed to close the gap. To advance to the upper echelon of teams in their conference, the Giants First he needed to catch those in his division.

What better way to show that they had it than this? Hosting the Cowboys, long a thorn in New York’s side, under the lights of Sunday Night Football. That’s when they were finally defeated; They really felt it. And in doing so, they would set the tone for the season.

They even increased the hype: they called it a “blue out.”

More like an explosion.

He The giants lost to the cowboys. 40-0. They were outmanned, outplayed, and, perhaps more than anything else, outcoached. Caught up? No. This was a reality check.

There is no gap bridged. It’s wider than ever.

“It’s embarrassing,” security said. Xavier McKinney.

It’s hard to describe the Giants’ opener as anything other than a Big Blue embarrassment. They wanted an electric atmosphere. In the second quarter, Cowboys fans dominated the defensive chants. Daniel Jones and Co. In the third quarter, those same fans occupied the lower bowl to the point that MetLife felt like AT&T North East.

September 10, 2023;  East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States;  Dallas Cowboys safety Juanyeh Thomas (30) blocks a New York Giants field goal attempt by kicker Graham Gano (9) as cornerback Noah Igbinoghene (19) recovers the block during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium .
September 10, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States; Dallas Cowboys Safety juanyeh thomas (30) blocks a field goal attempt by New York Giants kicking place Graham Gano (9) as cornerback Noah Igbinoghene (19) recovers the block during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s amazing to believe that the Giants once seemed in control of this game, however briefly. They made their first drive to the Cowboys’ 13-yard line. Saquon Barkley ran violently. Jones also ran and climbed.

A false start on third-and-two set things back, then came a bad snap from the rookie center. Juan Michael Schmitzfollowed by a blocked Graham Gano field goal that Noah Igbinoghene came back for a touchdown.

And then the floodgates opened.

Jones was horrible, looking nothing like the player who got a $160 million contract extension in the offseason. He completed 15 of 28 passes (53.6 percent) for 104 yards.. He threw two interceptions, one of which was returned by Daron Bland for a 22-yard touchdown. He combined bad decisions with missed shots until he was relieved late in the fourth quarter by a substitute. Tyrod Taylor.

Of course, it’s not like Jones had much help. The Cowboys made child’s play of the Giants’ supposedly improved line. New York actually felt like they were better prepared to handle Dallas’ pressure than a year ago, when the Cowboys sacked Jones eight times in their two games, that was comically ignorant.

The Cowboys sacked Jones seven times Sunday night and two more were nullified by penalties. They hit him 12 times and pressured him on 62.9 percent of his dropbacks.

Last year, it was Evan Neal who fought immensely. He was bad again in the first game, but this time so were many of his teammates around him. Five different Cowboys had sacks, led by Dorance Armstrong and Osa Odighizuwaeach of whom had two.

“All we can do is learn from this, grow from this and be better,” Neal said. “As a competitor, being a man in the arena, going out there and putting everything on the line, all the hard work it takes to go out there and perform and get a result like that? Stinks.

“But what can you do besides go out and work harder? What can you do other than go back to the office, learn from it, and work harder to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

The Giants’ defense was not mistreated at any time (Dak Prescott finished 13 of 24 for 143 yards without a touchdown or interception), but with so little help from the offense, Wink MartindaleThe unit could only bend so much before breaking.

A 10-play, 75-yard drive by the Cowboys on the first possession of the second half proved to be the turning point. The Giants played most of the second half looking like a team that gave up.

It’s alarming, considering this team’s never-give-up attitude is what endeared it to its fan base last year.

“That’s not us,” Daboll said when asked if he had concerns with his team’s effort. “It is not us to insinuate that someone is not giving the effort. Everyone is trying to get the ball. We just didn’t do a good job of executing.

“I don’t question it. Never.”

The Giants were one of the feel-good stories of the 2022 season. The franchise had suffered a steady decline since their 2011 championship, but last year turned out to be a return to glory.

The Giants were seemingly at a talent disadvantage every week, but it didn’t matter. They agreed to play ugly, week after week they drug their opponents to the bottom of the pool to see if they could swim, and most couldn’t.

The Giants made the playoffs and beat the Vikings in Minnesota in the wild card round. Then came the battle with the Eagles in the divisional round.

Philadelphia exposed the deficiencies of the New York squad, which marked the rallying cry for this offseason.

The litmus test was this game against the Cowboys, a team the Giants had defeated just once in their last 12 tries, and they failed miserably in that test.

“It’s not what you want to see,” the tight end said. Darren Waller, who had three catches for 36 yards. “It’s not the start you want to have.”

The loss was the eighth most lopsided in team history. It almost certainly would have been worse had the Cowboys not pulled their starters early in the fourth quarter. Perhaps the worst thing was how the Giants seemed to give up once they got out in the second half.

Daboll earned the Coach of the Year honor last year, but Sunday reflects as much on him as it does on anyone else. The Giants never matched Dallas’ energy. When things started to get worse, no one tried to get them out.

This was a regression in every sense of the word.

“They kicked us in the teeth tonight,” the wide receiver said. Sterling Shepard saying.

Context is needed. This is just one game, after all there are still 16 left, including another meeting with the Cowboys.

It’s hard to put into words how daunting this game is. It absolutely has the potential to resonate and bleed in the coming weeks.

The Giants spent the entire offseason talking about wanting to prove they were as good as Dallas, as good as the Eagles. At times Sunday, it seemed like the Cowboys were playing a different sport. Somehow, the Giants set out to close a gap and found a way to widen it.

“It’s Week 1,” McKinney said. “I guarantee you that when we get to Week 10 it won’t be the same. We will be fine. We will be fine.”

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