The Week 1 edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly features some Good and an abundance of Bad and Ugly.
The Giants failed to commit to the run, only gaining 35 yards. Fourteen of those yards were by Darkwa on three carries. He simply outperformed starter Paul Perkins running with the power that the Giants thought Perkins would provide.
Goodson proved why he earned the starting middle linebacker position. He was all over the field against Dallas, finishing with 18 tackles. The physicality he showed throughout the summer was full on display in the regular season opener. Goodson’s play and grumpy disposition are welcome additions to the Giants defense.
The Man Called Snacks didn’t have eye popping stats against the Cowboys but his play helped keep Ezekiel Elliott in check. Harrison’s best moment was forcing Elliott into a run for a loss of seven yards with his penetration. Snacks also showed signs that he can be a competent pass rusher.
Yes, Witten has given the Giants fits for years. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Witten becoming the Cowboys’ all-time leader in receiving yards. Witten caught an 11-yard pass in the second quarter for his 1,096th reception, passing Hall of Famer Michael Irvin. He also moved into sixth place on the all-time career receptions list, passing Hall of Famer Tim Brown. Witten has been a formidable opponent and will one day get his gold Hall of Fame jacket.
Apple’s only positive play was batting down a Dak Prescott pass early in the game. After that, the Cowboys picked on Apple often. According to Pro Football Focus, Dallas had 10 completions for 123 yards and a touchdown with Apple in coverage. Prescott even had three consecutive completions aimed at Apple.
Bobby Hart and John Jerry
Hart said he thinks he’s the best right tackle in football. He certainly didn’t play like it Sunday night. Hart was used by Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who sacked Eli Manning twice. Jerry wasn’t much better after he allowed a sack and was hit with a costly holding penalty. Hart and Jerry were a main reason why the Giants offense was stuck in neutral all night.
Manning’s performance wasn’t entirely his fault because of his lack of confidence in the offensive line. However, he has more consecutive starts at the quarterback position than any other player not name Brett Favre or his brother Peyton. No. 10 looked like he was starting in his first NFL game as opposed to his 200th. He spent the night under constant pressure from a defense he should have picked apart. At times, he was a little too conservative. Manning’s penchant for chucking the ball away to avoid hits is a huge part of his longevity but it also made him look, well, old. A two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback has to stand in the pocket and make plays even when the line is garbage because his experience demands as much. Manning looked like anything but a Super Bowl winning quarterback Sunday night.
McAdoo is supposed to be an offensive guru. He didn’t show any of the prowess that earned him the Giants head coaching job in the first place. The play calling was too predictable. He made Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli look like Buddy Ryan. The Giants were without Odell Beckham Jr. but still had Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram. The high-profile free agent and the first-round pick were underutilized against Dallas. If the Giants want to put a fifth Lombardi Trophy in the case, McAdoo needs to mix up his play calling. In addition, the Giants’ offense cannot be predicated on one play, even one as talented as Beckham.
Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon
They were the most feared defensive end tandem in the NFL last season. Offensive coordinators lost sleep over how to contain this dynamic pass rushing duo. They were a non-factor against Dallas. According to Pro Football Focus, Pierre-Paul and Vernon only applied two pressures on 41 pass attempts. That will not get it done against a quarterback like Dak Prescott, who didn’t put up gaudy numbers but made the Giants defense look pedestrian at best.