Cowboys-Giants grades: No answers at RB for Dallas
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Cowboys-Giants game:
–The Giants may look back on last night’s game and wonder why they never forced Tony Romo (+0.8) to beat them with throws down the field last night. Of his 45 targeted passes last night, Romo aimed the ball more than 10 yards down the field only five times. The game-winning touchdown was symptomatic of that with the Giants unfathomably allowing Romo to hook up with his favorite target, TE Jason Witten, at the front of the endzone rather than forcing a throw into the endzone with the game on the line.
–In the trenches we saw a rematch from the college ranks last season as Dallas’s second-round pick DE Randy Gregory (+2.8) squared off with the Giants’ first-round pick LT Ereck Flowers (-3.2) with Gregory comfortably getting the better of the encounter. Prior to leaving the game due to injury, Gregory had racked up a hit and three hurries on just 15 pass rushes. With Greg Hardy suspended Dallas will hope Gregory can suit up next week and build on his strong debut.
–Ever since the departure of DeMarco Murray, questions have been raised over the strength of the Cowboys’ backfield and last night didn’t offer many positive answers. Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar had solid nights as receivers but neither Randle nor Darren McFadden earned positive grades as runners with McFadden forcing the only missed tackle on a combined 22 carries.
LT Tyron Smith (+4.0)
DE Randy Gregory (+2.8)
FS J.J. Wilcox (+2.5)
RG Zack Martin (+2.4)
RB Lance Dunbar (+1.5)
New York Giants
–While his opposite number dinked and dunked, Eli Manning (0.0) struggled to get on the same page with his receivers down the field going 2 of 9 for 32 yards on passes aimed 10 or more yards. Not helping Manning’s production were the five passes dropped by his receivers, three by WR Preston Parker (-2.6), which is the most passes the Giants receivers have dropped in a single game since Week 10 in 2008.
–The Giants boasted a pair of breakout performers on their defensive line last season and both DT Johnathan Hankins (+1.7) and DE Robert Ayers (+3.1) got off to strong starts against the Cowboys’ ferocious offensive line last night. Ayers led the way with six pressures, mostly against RT Doug Free, as he did his best to help cover for the continuing absence of Jason Pierre-Paul, but he failed to convert any of those pressures into hits or sacks.
–New York’s second-round pick, S Landon Collins (-0.6), had a mixed debut last night with strong play in run defense (+2.3) marred by lax play in coverage (-2.8). Collins’ three stops led the team but he surrendered completions on all five of his targets including losing both Dallas tight ends on a pair of second-half touchdowns.
DE Robert Ayers (+3.1)
C Weston Richburg (+2.7)
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (+1.8)
DT Johnathan Hankins (+1.7)
S Brandon Meriweather (+1.4)