ARLINGTON — Giants head coach Brian Daboll went into a rage after the Dallas Cowboys cooked a Giants turkey on Thanksgiving Day at the “Odell Bowl,” 28-20, in the raucous AT&T Stadium.
“Yeah, I think we missed a few opportunities,” said an angry and terse Daboll. “We have to do a better job. It starts with me.”
The reality was on Daboll’s face, and in every word he and his players uttered in the d*athly silent locker room: This second loss to their hated rivals in the NFC East was the hardest of four defeats so far.
“Yeah. I think it’s a heavy loss,” said quarterback Daniel Jones. “It’s a division game and a game we didn’t play to our best. It’s always disappointing. You have to commend Dallas. They’re a good team. But we didn’t do what we had to do. to win the game, that was the difference and it’s frustrating for all of us.
The Cowboys (8-3) humiliated the Giants (7-4), who have lost three of their last four. And Dallas came one step closer to winning Odell Beckham Jr. Lotteries for free agents.
But the main source of concern for the Giants is that Saquon Barkley, the engine of their rookie season, has stalled.
Barkley dropped the 4th and 1st passes from Jones with 4:07 left in the third quarter on the Giants’ 44-yard line, turning Dallas’s strong second-half start into an avalanche.
And Barkley was bottled for 39 rushing yards on 12 carries. That gives him a total of 61 rushing yards on 26 carries in the Giants’ last two games, for an average of 2.34 yards per carry.
Barkley was responsible and frustrated with himself. He took responsibility for the fourth relegation.
“I have to do this play,” he said. “That’s it. I just need to play. [Daboll] he trusted us to play 4 and 1 and play and I didn’t do it for us. I have to be better.
Barkley also said that improving his running game starts with him.
“I need to do a better job,” he said. “When the running game doesn’t work, it starts with reverse gear. So I have to be better there too. I consider myself a dynamic player. And that’s the type of player I want to be and need to be for this team.
Jones claimed he was guilty of passing the pass low and behind Barkley.
“Just a bad throw,” said the quarterback. “I have to reveal it to him. Bad throw. It cannot be missed.”
But Daboll also only had 10 offensive players on the field in this crucial game. Coaching is also to blame.
“It’s impossible,” said Daboll.
Dabolla’s decision to use top corner Adoree Jackson as a punt returner last week against Detroit, he certainly backfired as well.
Rodarius Williams and Julian Love intercepted Dak Prescott in Thursday’s first half. But the weak second had no response to Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb and three touchdowns from Dallas, including two for Dalton Schultz.
“Unacceptable,” said Leonard Williams of the defense’s performances in the round, on third falls and in the red zone.
Morale is also not helped by the fact that the Cowboys now completely own the Giants.
The ‘Boys have won 11 of their last 12 meetings with the Giants and 16 of their last 21 since October 2012. Prescott has a 10-2 record against the Giants in 12 career games, including 10 straight wins.
“I was very aware that I had these two losses in my rookie year,” said Prescott. “Since then, I’ve had it in the foreground.”
The Cowboys defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence was even talking nonsense on the Giants’ sideline before a crucial 4th and 1st in the third quarter like a school bully who knew he had the upper hand.
Lawrence held out his hands, saying “bring it.” And the Giants failed.
Now they have no choice but to take on the Washington, Eagles and Commanders for the next three weeks in a series of NFC East clashes that will define their season.
Jones remained optimistic that the Giants were still in control of their fate and said health will be crucial during this nine-day break.
“We put ourselves in a really good position,” he said. “I need to heal and take advantage of this long week. But we are still confident. We have a record of 7-4 and we still have a lot of work to do.
And yet, if Barkley isn’t riding, the Giants know they’ll have a hard time beating anything.
“Every time you lose, it sucks,” Barkley said. “You have this nasty feeling in your stomach, especially when you know there are a lot of things you can go back to, and if you change that, you can change the outcome of the game. But hats off to them.
“They were the better team today.
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