In what had to be seen as a must-win game for the Cowboys, a quick start was squandered and Tony Romo was slammed to the turf, breaking his collarbone and making the 2010 season look even more dismal for Dallas.
Eli Manning was able to overcome some early drops by his receivers to hit stride and pick apart the Dallas secondary, throwing for more than 300 yards and notching four touchdown passes.
New York Giants: performances of note
Manning (+5.2) had by far his best day of the season despite a worrying-looking box score that included three interceptions. The reality is that number is more to do with tipped balls from Giant receivers than it did Manning, and after settling down, he displayed an impressive command of the offense and was able to pick Dallas apart.
Michael Boley (+3.1) had a fine game at outside linebacker for the Giants, and was the blitzer responsible for the hit that knocked Romo out of the game. Boley graded well in run defense and pass rush (a sack, two hits and a pressure on 16 blitzes), but was caught out in coverage on occasion.
Left tackle David Diehl (-2.9) again showed his limitations as a pass-protector on the blind side, surrendering a sack and three further pressures to the Dallas pass rush. His -3.2 grade for pass protection makes it a perfect seven for seven on the season of negative pass-blocking grades.
Dallas: performances of note
Gerald Sensabaugh (-2.6) did not have a good day. The strong safety missed four tackles on the day, while making four, and was also victimized for a touchdown in coverage.
Jon Kitna (-1.4) started off behind the curve, needing to throw to stay in the game, but he showed some rust on the throws he was asked to make. His 86.3 QB rating looks good enough (especially considering the rating on his ‘aimed passes’ — i.e., discounting passes thrown away, spikes, etc. — was 97.9), but he missed some open receivers and when the Giants applied pressure, he completed just one pass for 2 yards.
As ever, the bright spot on the Dallas side was the play of DeMarcus Ware (+4.9). Ware applied three pressures and earned himself a sack in his 30 pass-rushes, but really played the run well, making two stops and disrupting several run plays in the backfield.
Jason Pierre-Paul saw 31 snaps, all but four of them as a pass-rusher, but was largely ineffective. … Matt Dodge had a very impressive game, with a monster long punt of 69 yards (although it was returned the distance by Bryant), and recording some good hang-time on his kicks. This is likely the guy the Giants thought they had, not the one that couldn’t kick further than 30 yards earlier in the year.
The box score will tell you the kind of day Bryant had, getting on the scoresheet both as a receiver and a punt returner. Linebacker Sean Lee saw some snaps in five-backer sub packages and played well against the run. … Akwasi Owusu-Ansah was used as a return man, and had one nice return, but was hindered by some fine kicks by Lawrence Tynes.
How does Dallas allow itself to get into a sub package that has not a single corner on the field when the Giants still had Hakeem Nicks out there? We’re not sure either, but the result was Sensabaugh matched up in single coverage on an island, and rather predictably, touchdown Giants.