Giants just don't measure up

The Giants didn't play particularly poorly in their biggest game of the year. They just didn't even come close to matching up with the Dallas Cowboys. Sure a few more plays here or there and the Giants might have been in business, but just remember that Dallas won in spite of a bunch of miscues themselves.

When you break it all down, the Cowboys are just a better team – top to bottom. Tony Romo, who was frighteningly accurate, just would not let his team lose. And with the game on the line, the best the Giants could come up with to try to suppress Terrell Owns was an overmatched Sam Madison and an equally didn't-have-a-prayer Gibril Wilson. Romo finished the game by completing 20-of-28 passes and posting a ridiculous 123.1 QB rating.

"He did a good job of what we didn't want him to do – buying time for receivers, moving around in the pocket," Antonio Pierce said.

"He sees the rush and makes plays with his feet," said Osi Umenyiora, who was basically silent against the Cowboys. "Most QBs would have been sacked four, five, six times."

For the last two weeks New York talked about pressuring and controlling Romo, yet when it came time to walk the walk, they were unable to do so.

"They were effective in their protection," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We didn't get the kind of pressure on the quarterback that we wanted to."

No, they didn't at all. And, as a result, the Giants can all but kiss any chances they had of winning their division good-bye. The Cowboys now possess not only a two-game lead with seven games to play, but the all-important tiebreaker as well.

On the flip side, while Romo was playing great under the bright lights of the season's biggest contest, Eli Manning played only good. He played well enough for the Giants to win – if they were playing Atlanta or San Francisco – but certainly not well enough to beat the class of the NFC East, if not the entire NFC.

"I thought I was seeing things well," Manning said. "The interception, my hand just got hit a little bit and I couldn't step into the throw like I wanted to and stay up high. That's just stuff that happens. It was just an unfortunate play. Besides that, I thought I was seeing things well and going to the right spots. A lot of the stuff was kind of underneath and they did a good job of playing good defense. I give credit to them, but we had some good opportunities out there."

While the Giants sure missed out on taking advantage of some opportunities, they also were helpless at times against a much better Dallas club. Now don't get us wrong, the Giants did make their share of mistakes, too. Let us count the ways.

"We made a lot of foolish errors," Coughlin correctly stated.

For starters, the Giants defense couldn't finish. Whenever they needed a stop to get off the field, it never came.

"This wasn't the defense we've seen in the last six games," Justin Tuck said.

"We really didn't get off the field like I thought we would," Sam Madison added.

While everyone's looking to blame rookie Michael Johnson for his missed tackle on Marion Barber on a key third down in the fourth quarter that immediately preceded Terrell Owens's 50-yard TD catch, he was hardly the only defender at fault during this one.

Offensively, for some reason, the Giants couldn't get plays off on time. On three different occasions, New York was penalized for delay of game.

"I wish I knew," was all Tom Coughlin could say when asked about the problem.

"I have to do a better job getting to the line of scrimmage, getting everything called quicker and getting the ball snapped," Manning said.

The Giants also shot themselves in the foot a couple times with key penalties. None more so than when Chris Snee was flagged for holding Roy Williams, which negated the play when Brandon Jacobs reached the end zone to tie the score at 24.

"Obviously I wasn't happy with it," Snee said. "I didn't think I held him but you just have to go with the call. I was surprised they made the call. My initial feeling was that I didn't do it. I don't know if I actually did it or if he did a good job acting."

That drive was sabotaged from the start when rookie Kevin Boss was flagged for holding during Ahmad Bradshaw's kickoff return. Bradshaw busted one 83 yards all the way down to the Dallas two-yard line before the Giants were moved back to their own 17.

"I'm pretty upset about it," Boss said. "I put the guy on the ground. Usually when they see that, they call a penalty. I saw the flag thrown in my direction."

Despite the fact that a lot more was being thrown in their direction than they obviously could handle, Tuck kept a stiff upper lip after the game.

"We're not going to let this stumbling block deter us from what we want to do the rest of the season," Tuck said.

Snee was a little more realistic in his assessment.

"We fought to the end and we lost to a better team," he said.

However, Umenyiora still wouldn't concede defeat.

"I'd never say they're a better team," he said.

How could he not?

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