EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Brian Daboll didn't get much sleep after the New York Giants were embarrassed 40-0 by the Dallas Cowboys in prime time on national television.
Instead of building off making the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and living up to the preseason hype with a new and improved roster, the Giants were not competitive Sunday night. They made physical and mental errors, turned the ball over twice, did not protect quarterback Daniel Jones, gave away points and looked very much like the also-rans who frustrated their fans by posting five straight losing seasons from 2017-21.
“I’d say when you walk out after a game like that, there is a lot of emotion,” Daboll said Monday. “You put everything you got into it, and we didn’t perform well and that starts with me. There is a self-reflection and then you watch the tape, you go through whether it’s decisions, whether it’s plays, whether it’s techniques and then you move on to the next week.”
The Giants have a big week ahead of them and there is a lot that needs to be fixed before Sunday's game at Arizona (0-1). The task is even bigger because New York will be playing two games in five days, facing the 49ers in California four days after playing the Cardinals.
Daboll refused to say whether he will make any lineup changes, but a shakeup seemingly is needed. He said he would be honest with his players and that means telling them exactly what they did wrong.
Veteran wide receiver Darius Slayton said it was easy to see the mistakes on video on Monday.
“Ultimately when you’re trying to win a football game you can’t have everybody having multiple ‘my bads’ or, ‘I would’ve done this different, I would’ve done that different,’ so, I’d probably say that was just the main thing,” Slayton said. “We had too much of that.”
Cornerback Adoree Jackson said the important thing for the Giants is to keep believing what they are doing is right and not change. He noted one bad game is just one bad game.
“Understand that things may happen, things may not go the way you want,” he said. “But to have that foundation and that base like you said, the things that we’ve done in camp and OTAs, just got to showcase it and put it all out there on the line.”
Although the Cowboys scored 40 points, the defense was not that bad. The Giants held Dallas to 265 total yards. Dak Prescott threw for 143 yards and no touchdowns on 13-of-24 passing. Lead back Tony Pollard was limited to 70 yards on 14 carries, including two short TD runs.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Mental errors killed the Giants. Second-year guard Josh Ezeudu failed to block Juanyeh Thomas on the blocked field-goal attempt that Noah Igbinoghene returned 58 yards for a touchdown on the opening series. Rookie center John Michael Schmitz had a bad snap on the play before the block and left tackle Andrew Thomas had a motion penalty on the play before that.
The offensive line looked lost against the Dallas front seven. Both of Jones' interceptions came with him under pressure. Normally reliable kicker Graham Gano got cleated in the leg on the blocked field goal and his attempt from 36 yards before halftime was shanked and 25 feet wide.
Second-year inside linebacker Micah McFadden had a team-high 10 tackles — three solo — and a special teams tackle on a punt return.
The offensive line. After the opening series, Dallas' defense dominated the group. New York gained 58 of its 171 yards on the first series that resulted in the Cowboys' touchdown on the blocked field goal. No one on the line played well and there could be changes.
Thomas hurt a hamstring early and played on. Rookie cornerback Deonte Banks missed the second half with cramps. Gano had X-rays Monday after being cleated following the blocked field goal. Daboll said he would update their conditions Wednesday. Backup offensive tackle Matt Peart seemed to injure an elbow late.
7 and 12: The number of times Jones was sacks and the hits he took trying to pass. New York can't win with those numbers.
Three of the Giants' opening four games are against teams that made the playoffs last season — Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle. Arizona is the exception and New York can get back on track this weekend in its first road game.
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Tom Canavan, The Associated Press