EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – As usual, it's hard to properly evaluate until you've had a chance to watch the tape. But it doesn't take a film session to know that you're not going to win if you commit four turnovers.
For now, here are my rapid fire thoughts from the Cowboys' 27-20 loss to the Giants on Sunday evening.
1) We knew that, coming into this game, there was going to be a willingness by Matt Cassel to throw the ball down the field. We also knew that by playing this way there were going to be the possibility of turnovers. What I didn't expect was his willingness to attack the Giants' best cornerback, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He is the one corner that, if the ball is late or the receiver runs a poor route, he can make a play. The Cowboys would have been better off going at Jayron Holsey or Trevin Wade, especially with the way these receivers have struggled to get open.
2) This was the Darren McFadden that I was hoping would have been the starter for this club. He finished runs, he showed vision and he was solid in the passing game. I have always believed that he is the most complete running back on this team, and for at least one game, he actually proved me correct.
3) Give this Dallas offensive line some credit. The Giants came into the game with one of the best run defenses in the league and the Cowboys offensive line hammered them. It just goes to show that when you have a running back who is willing to attack and blockers that get hats-on-hats, there is an outstanding chance to see the offense have the same success running the ball like they did last season. This was the best sign of the game, in my opinion.
4) Very disappointed in the way that Rolando McClain played in this game, especially in the first half. There were too many snaps where he looked out of position and struggling to get his run fit. His hands to the face penalty gave the Giants points, and it appeared on the big pass play to Rueben Randle that McClain's drop was poor, which allowed the ball to go behind him.
5) I was very concerned about the Giants working the ball inside on Brandon Carr. They did hit him for a couple of plays going that way, but also got him on some routes down the field. There was really nothing he could do on the one-hand catch by Randle, but it's still disappointing that he is not able to make more plays denying the ball.
6) The coaches didn't trust Lucky Whitehead to return punts, so I wonder how they now feel about Cole Beasley? My gut says that we will likely see Whitehead get a shot next week against the Seahawks.
7) Happy that my "Scout's Eye" was working on the matchup between the Dallas defensive linemen and Giants guard Geoff Schwartz. Both the sacks that they had with Greg Hardy and Jack Crawford came over Schwartz – they probably should have attacked him more.
8) Eye ball test from my press box seat says that La'el Collins had a nice game. I had some concern about those big Giants defensive tackles lining up on his nose all night and presenting problems, but that doesn't appear to be the case. The Giants are not known for their pass rush, but he was solid regardless in that area as well. Film will show me plenty more to talk about.
9) I will be interested to see who is the inactive receiver when Dez Bryant comes back, possibly next week. It looks like that both Devin Street and Bryce Butler made some key plays for the offense, which was long overdue. But was it enough to save a job? Keep an eye on how that might play out this week.
10) Didn't feel that Tyrone Crawford played one of his better games. At that under-tackle position you have got to be a disruptive player and be a handful for the offensive linemen to have to deal with. There just appeared to be too many times, especially in the first half, when his pad level playing the run was much too high and the blockers were able to wash him out of the hole.
11) Starting to notice more of Byron Jones at safety with Barry Church playing down in the box. Jones is a much better cover player than J.J. Wilcox and this is likely the coaches way of getting more guys on the field that can handle those responsibilities. We saw the switch with Collins to guard. I believe we are right around the corner of Jones playing full time.
12) I now have that same feeling like I had after the New Orleans game – this was one that should have been won and it wasn't. What a shame.