Nov 23, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) after getting hit in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Last night the Dallas Cowboys narrowly avoided catastrophe when they edged out the New York Giants with a nearly last minute TD drive. The win keeps the Cowboys tied for the division lead with the Philadelphia Eagles, who they play on Thanksgiving afternoon in Dallas.
Now for some observations and notes from Sunday night’s contest in New Jersey:
The Dallas zone defense looked especially terrible adjusting for WR Odell Beckhams’ speed. The safeties played so far back, Eli Manning was left with some massive holes in the zone between the CBs and safeties.
I just finished touting CB Orlando Scandrick as an early Pro Bowl snub, and he goes and has a game like this. While he was beaten repeatedly and collected 2 penalties, the worst play was just vintage-Orlando: The Giants were on the Cowboys’ doorstep when Eli Manning fired an ill-advised pass into the endzone. Orlando had a great chance at the interception but dropped the ball in the way we have grown accustomed to over the years. The very next play the Giants scored the TD.
It’s these lost opportunities that plague the Cowboys. When a defender gets both hands on the ball, he has to make the catch. No excuses. Orlando Scandrick could have changed the entire game, but he couldn’t take advantage of an easy opportunity. Check out: Orlando Scandrick is good, he’s just not a playmaker
It wasn’t just the greatness of Beckham that made the secondary look foolish; it was the secondary that made themselves look foolish.
Nov 23, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) catches a touchdown pass over Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
By now, last night’s “Catch” has been played so much, Dwight Clark is saying, “Enough already!” What is noteworthy is how hilarious Brandon Carr looked trying to defend. The catch was clearly unstoppable but Carr looking like a complete tool, failing to even foul Beckham correctly, was all on him. Am I picking on Carr? Yes. But not as much as opposing QBs do…
The play-calling was, once again, pretty bad at the start of the game. Establishing the run is a commitment. Sometimes you even have to do it even when the defense shows an 8-man front. Whether initially successful or not, committing to the run early wears down the defense faster than your own offense. The results will show in the second half. In the meantime, peppering in play-action and screens will catch the defense off-guard.
DE Anthony Spencer and Jack Crawford were abused by the Giants run-game. Both players are undersized and will struggle without a true 1-technique tackle next to them.
DL Jack Crawford shouldn’t even be on an NFL roster. Nice guy, just not good enough.
DT Josh Brent was really needed last night. The Cowboys’ need for a 1-technique DT to rotate with Nick Hayden is severe. When Hayden was out, the Giants had their way with the line.
Rookie DE DeMarcus Lawrence had a tough time rushing the passer. His pass-rush moves seemed deliberate and slow. It looked like he was trying to implement new things and that may have slowed down his play in the process.
LBs Anthony Hitchens and Rolando McClain are the only true bright parts of this defense to speak of today. They were everywhere on Sunday. Their ability to stop the run is amazing. Rolando is fast-becoming a star in this league and the Cowboys need to find a way to keep him after this season. Hitch struggled in zone coverage again but that should improve with more playing time.
I don’t understand the point of playing up in man coverage, close to the line of scrimmage, and NOT pressing the WR. The Cowboys seem to repeatedly play up and then whiff (or make no attempt to get hands on) the opposing WR. The advantage will always go to the WR in that situation. Press the WR or back the “eff” off!
Where the hell has WR Terrance Williams gone? Do you realize he was on the field for 49 snaps?