The New York Giants have suffered seven defeats this season, but perhaps none was more disappointing than the 24-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. With a chance to extend their winning streak to five games and move to within a game of the NFC East division lead on the line, the Giants failed to get the job done. The passing game was a big reason why.
Eli Manning barely completed 50 percent of his throws, but one of the biggest missteps of the game was on a pass that Manning completed to star wide receiver Victor Cruz. Late in the first quarter, Manning hooked up with Cruz on 1st-and-10. Trying to extend the ball past the first down marker, Cruz dragged a group of Dallas defenders as far as he could. However, just as he was falling out of bounds, cornerback Orlando Scandrick ripped the ball from Cruz's grasp. It bounced right to rookie safety Jeff Heath, who ran down the sidelines for a touchdown and a 7-0 Dallas lead.
"I just can't let those types of things happen," said Cruz after the game. "I have to take better care of the football and know that they're doing that and they're going to try and come in and strip it. I need to take better care of it."
Even after Cruz's error, though, the Giants had ample opportunity to take the game from the Cowboys. Andre Brown and Brandon Jacobs were plowing over Dallas with a combined 6.7 yards per carry, and yet New York could only muster a pair of field goals in the first half.
"We were in positions where we could have put points on the board, put touchdowns on the board and unfortunately we didn't get it done," said Cruz. "That's why we didn't come out victorious."
Although the Giants eventually erased a 21-6 deficit and saw that the game was tied with just under five minutes remaining, the offense never got a chance to win the game. Quarterback Tony Romo led the Cowboys down the field late in the fourth quarter, and kicker Dan Bailey hit the game-winning field goal with no time left on the clock.
The Giants are hoping that Sunday's result isn't a microcosm of their entire season, but right now it seems like things could end up that way. In both instances, the team fought hard to climb out of a big hole. Against Dallas, at least, that comeback wasn't enough for a win.
"I obviously understand that we battled through a lot to get to this point, to be in this position, to win this game, and be a leg up in the division and move up in the division, but we didn't get it done, admitted Cruz. "It's unfortunate, but we have to keep pushing. That's the only thing we know and that's the only thing we're worried about, to keep moving forward."