Giants defense comes up short in the clutch

Giants defense comes up short in the clutch

IRVING, Tex. – Give the Giants defense credit. They could have used the fact that they were seemingly on the field all game long as an excuse for their lousy play in overtime. But they didn't.

"We didn't play well enough to win today, and that's the bottom line," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "Our defense was on the field the whole game, and offensively we had many opportunities, but didn't take them."

Despite being on the field for close to 37 minutes in regulation, the Giants had to call on their defense again at the start of overtime. It's not a stretch to say that the Giants lost this game when they lost the overtime coin toss.

They had nothing left in them. Zero. Zilch. And that's why the Cowboys were able to move the ball 51 yards in eight plays for the game-winning field goal.

"We lost it," rookie corner Corey Webster said. "We had to stop them at the end and we didn't do it. We got some (four) turnovers early but we had to get one at the end."

It took the Cowboys, who started on their own 33, only three plays in overtime to get into field-goal range. Drew Bledsoe hit Patrick Crayton for 10 yards, Terry Glenn for 13 and then the back-breaker – a 26-yard completion to tight end Jason Whiten, which moved the Boys to the Giants' 28.

But the defense wasn't making any excuses.

"They didn't do anything different (in overtime). We were well-prepared," Gibril Wilson said. "We just didn't get the job done."

Shaun Williams, who unfortunately doesn't get enough defensive snaps to get tired, said his defense wasn't out of gas at the end of the game.

"I didn't feel we were winded," he said. "It's frustrating. We were in a position to win and we didn't get the stop in overtime. We have to step it up as a defense."

Quarterback Eli Manning said to put the loss squarely on his and the offense's shoulders.

"Our defense stepped up today but the offense just didn't get the job done," he said.

Losing his grip

While very much was made of Brandon Jacobs' goal-line fumble late in the game, in all actuality it had no bearing on the game's outcome. The Giants were able to use Dallas' poor field position against them and get the ball back in good shape prior to their game-tying TD drive. However, fumbling the ball on your only attempt of the game can't be good for the rookie, who's fighting for playing time as it is.

"It's frustrating for me," Jacobs said afterward. "The only opportunity I get and that happens. There was no doubt about it that it's going to be a touchdown without the fumble."

Jacobs vowed to rebound quickly from his mistake – at least as quickly as Coughlin will let him.

"I have no clue what's going through Coach's head," he said. "But I can tell you that when they do give me another opportunity I'm going to take great advantage of it."

Green hurt again

The words ‘injuries' and ‘linebackers' have been synonymous this season for New York. With the bye weekend having come and gone, it was expected that Barrett Green would be back in the lineup – or at least dressed for the game. That wasn't the case. TGI has learned that Green has another medical issue in addition to his knee that needs to be checked before he can return to action. When asked, Green declined to comment, smartly citing Coughlin's rules of not commenting on injuries. However, he is expected to undergo further testing this week to determine the extent of the injury, before the Giants make a decision on his status.

LB-go-round

After much concern during the week regarding the status of Carlos Emmons, he was in the starting lineup against Dallas. Reggie Torbor, who turned his ankle in Friday's practice, was also good to go in Big D, but did not start. Nick Greisen, who played exceptionally, and Emmons started alongside MLB Antonio Pierce.

Bye bye to bye

The Giants are now 3-14 all-time when playing after a bye weekend.

Old buddy

Coughlin is now 3-3 against the Cowboys and 3-4 against Bill Parcells, for whom he worked as the Giants' receivers coach from 1988-90. Parcells improved to 4-3 against his former team, beating the Giants with New England in 1996 and twice with Dallas in 2003, and losing to them with the Jets in 1999 and twice last season.

Good for a while

With the contract extensions recently signed by tight end Jeremy Shockey and guard David Diehl, the entire starting offensive unit for the Giants is signed through the 2008 season, with the exception of center Shaun O'Hara.

Close calls

The Cowboys improved their all-time edge over New York to 51-33-2. With the three-point contest, eight of the last 11 games between Big Blue and Dallas have been decided by seven points or less.

Inactives

Cornerback Will Peterson and LB Barrett Green were the notable inactives on Sunday. CB Frank Walker, G Rich Seubert, DE Eric Moore, DE Adrian Awasom and DT Damane Duckett also did not receive uniforms against the Cowboys. Jared Lorenzen was the third quarterback. For Dallas, RB Julius Jones and LB Dat Nguyen didn't play due to injuries.

Home cookin'

The Giants return home for the next two weeks when they host Denver and Washington. New York actually plays four of its next five games at home, with a trip to San Francisco preceding consecutive home contests against Minnesota and Philadelphia. Next week, the Giants host former top pick Ron Dayne, who hasn't exactly been overworked by the Broncos.

NFC East

With the win, Dallas moved into first place in the NFC East. The Boys improved to 4-2, while the Giants dropped to 3-2. The Redskins, who lost to the Chiefs, fell to 3-2, while the idle Eagles remained at 3-2.

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