DAL-NYG Grades: Turnovers, kick return doom Cowboys
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Giants’ 27-20 win over the Cowboys.
New York Giants
– Eli Manning’s (+2.1) effort in the passing game was one of minimal risk, pushing the ball more than 10 yards downfield just six times and staying to the right side on four of those six, where he completed three for 64 yards. One of those passes was the beautifully placed ball that WR Rueben Randle brought in with one hand over Brandon Carr, giving the Dallas corner a flashback to the Odell Beckham Jr. catch last November.
– Targeted six times on the afternoon, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (+2.1) allowed just two catches while coming away with a pair of his own. DRC brought one of those interceptions back for a score when he beat WR Terrence Williams back to the ball on a comeback and celebrated his way 58 yards up the sideline. His +5.4 coverage grade on the year now has him in the top 10 at the position.
– The Giants’ offense didn’t need to produce much in this win – the interception return and a kickoff return by Dwayne Harris provided most of their scoring – but they received a boost and a few moments of excitement from HB Orleans Darkwa’s (+1.3) first carries of the season. On eight attempts the second-year player from Tulane averaged over three yards after contact, forced two missed tackles and highlighted his day with a 15-yard second quarter touchdown burst to get New York on the board.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (+2.1)
C Weston Richburg (+4.2)
LG Justin Pugh (+3.8)
QB Eli Manning (+2.1)
HB Orleans Darkwa (+1.3)
– While QB Matt Cassel’s (+0.0) day will be remembered for the three consecutive drives that ended with interceptions, he did balance some of that poor play with a well-placed pass to the back corner of the end zone to tie the score in the fourth quarter, and also completed a solid five of six deep attempts while justifying his first start for the Cowboys to be more aggressive than his predecessor.
– There were likely many people out there suggesting HB Darren McFadden (+2.0) would be primed to post some of the best grades of his career given his new opportunity running behind Dallas’ top-rated offensive line. Those same people will be inclined to bring it up again after McFadden turned in his best game grade since the 2011 season, which wasn’t solely due to his blockers though, as the eighth-year runner regularly shot through creases on his way to more than five yards per carry on his 29 runs.
– Cowboys’ linebackers Rolando McClain (-3.9) and Sean Lee (-2.1) had rough outings against the run and New York’s offensive line had no issue finding them at the second level and keeping them from joining the play. McClain’s -2.2 against the run was a step worse than he earned in his first appearance of the season and Lee’s -2.7 was the lowest of his career.
RG Zach Martin (+5.9)
C Travis Frederick (+4.9)
LT Tyron Smith (+4.2)
TE Jason Witten (+2.9)
HB Darren McFadden (+2.0)