The New York Giants’ offense was shut down in their regular season opener against the Dallas Cowboys and the Cowboys provided just enough offense to defeat the Giants 19-3.
The offense was lost without wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who didn’t play because of the ankle injury suffered nearly three weeks ago in a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns.
Quarterback Eli Manning put up respectable numbers (28-of-37 for 211 yards) but failed to throw a touchdown and was picked off in his 200th consecutive regular season start. He was under constant pressure throughout the game because of the shoddy pass protection, resulting in three sacks and numerous hits and knockdowns.
The running game, a source of discontent in 2016, continued to underwhelm. Paul Perkins ran for 16 yards on seven attempts. The Giants as a team only managed 35 yards on the ground.
They didn’t fare much better in the air. Brandon Marshall, the team’s big free agent acquisition, wasn’t a factor with one catch on four targets. Rookie Evan Engram, the team’s number one draft pick, had a decent pro debut with four catches for 44 yards but wasn’t the deep threat down the middle he was predicted to be.
The Giants’ defense, which kept them in games last season, couldn’t do the same against the Cowboys simply because they were on the field too much. Dallas ran 47 plays in the first half for 265 yards while the Giants only ran 19 plays for 49 yards.
It is easy to point to Beckham’s absence as the reason the Cowboys snapped their three-game losing streak against the Giants. The supporting cast simply wasn’t good enough to defeat the defending division champs that they swept last season.
This was only the first game of the season and there is hope that Beckham will play in next Monday night’s home opener against the Detroit Lions. However, he is not a cure-all for what ails the Giants. They need pass protection and a serviceable running game in order to give their defense rest and keep drives alive.
The regular season opener against the Dallas Cowboys only proves that the New York Giants have a long way to go and much work to do before they look like the Super Bowl contenders they want to be.