Photo courtesy for CBS.Com
The 2013 Season could not have started any worse for the New York Giants. On the first offensive play of the game, DeMarcus Ware intercepted Eli Manning’s screen pass to David Wilson; foreshadowing what type of night the Giants had in store. The Giants committed 6 turnovers and lost the game 36-31.
After Manning was intercepted on the first offensive play of the season, the Giants defense held the Dallas Cowboys to a field goal (the only bright spot of the season opener). The Giants committed 3 turnovers in their first 3 offensive series, becoming the first team to turn over the ball on each of their first three offensive series since Sept. 11, 2005, when Duante Culpepper and the Minnesota Vikings accomplished the same feat. The turnovers didn’t stop there, as David Wilson fumbled for the second time on the Giants first possession of the second half, followed by a turnover on special teams when the ball took an awkward bounce, hitting backup cornerback Trumaine McBride. Dallas recovered the ball and Tony Romo hit Jason Witten 2 plays later for a 4-yard touchdown and a 27-10 lead.
Down by 6 points with 2:41 left in the game, surprisingly the Giants found themselves in a familiar position; driving from behind with the chance for another 4th quarter comeback. After completing a third-and-5 to Ruben Randle for 26-yards, the Giants up at the Giants had the ball on their own 48-yard line, and hope started to creep in. Usually when a team fails to take advantage of the turnover battle, it comes back to bite them. Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Giants had one more debacle in them, this time another screen pass went off the hands of Da’rel Scott and into the hands of Cowboys’ cornerback Brandon Carr. 49-yards later, Carr was in the end-zone, all but sealing the game. The Giants would score again to cut the lead 36-31, before attempting an on-side kick. Just as the ball had bounced all night long for the Giants, they failed to recover the kick, allowing the Cowboys to line up in ‘victory formation’, allowing Tony Romo to take a kneel. As if it was not evident enough, Manning told reporters after the game, “Our screens weren’t real good to us tonight.”
David Wilson started his rookie campaign with a fumble to the Cowboys in the season opener, and had an even worse night in his sophomore campaign. After his second fumble in the 3rd quarter, head coach Tom Coughlin benched him for the rest of the game. Just like a bad puppy, after finally getting out of the doghouse, Wilson found himself right back in. Wilson was asked if he was surprised to be pulled from the game. “In that situation, the coaches make the decision,” he said. “I can’t blame them for that.” Personally, I don’t know how Wilson didn’t expect to be pulled from the game, as his mistakes cost the team dearly. Coughlin also added “They (the running backs) are not going to play unless they hang onto the ball. It’s demoralizing to the whole team. He’s a talented young man. We’ll get him right even if he has to run around the field with two hands on the ball.” Wilson is a very talented back, showing flashes during the preseason and at the end of last year. Hopefully, he will be able to get himself back on track, as he is a big plan for the Giants offense. It took him near the end of the season to ‘get out of the doghouse’ last year, and if the Giants hope for a running game this year, he must forget about last night and focus on the next 15 games. Early reports indicate that the Giants have already held internal discussions about free agents Brandon Jacobs and Willis McGahee.
Not all of the Giants offense was bad. Manning completed 27 of 42 passes for 450 yards, with 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. This was Manning’s second highest career passing yards in a game. Victor Cruz also showed why he is so valuable to the Giants, hauling in touchdown passes of 70, 18 and 10 yards. Hakeem Nicks also looked like his old self, hauling in 5 passes for 118-yards. This was Nicks’ 11th time breaking the 100-yard mark in a game, and it was Cruz’s 13th time. Randle also hauled in over 100-yards receiving for the first time in his career. The Giants passing game showed flashes, and look for this to be an area of strength for them all season long. Newly acquired tight end, Brandon Myers also had a nice showing, catching 7 passes for 66-yards and a touchdown. However, it will be hard to keep these numbers up if they cannot rush the ball consistently.
Other notes include Terrell Thomas making a comeback after back-to-back seasons with a torn ACL. Justin Tuck led the team with eight tackles and a ½ sack. The sack raised Tuck’s career total to 50, making him the 6th Giants to reach this milestone. Cornerback Prince Amukamara suffered a concussion after colliding helmets with Ryan Mundy making a tackle.
Overall I give the Giants a D- for their effort. They did play hard, but 6 turnovers and a very sloppy game cost them the opener. It was not a very pretty game to watch.
Justin Lerner: PureSportsNY