ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys had a chance to win the game late, but couldn't get into field-goal position for Dan Bailey, who had already drilled five field goals.
On Friday, the staff writers gave their gut feeling for Sunday's game. Check out the instant reactions from the staff of DallasCowboys.com.
David Helman: You can talk about Terrance Williams or the defense if you want to, but I'll remember this game for the Cowboys' inability to run the ball. I knew all about Johnathan Hankins and Damon Harrison going into this matchup, but I severely underestimated their ability to stonewall this rushing attack. Ezekiel Elliott averaged a measly 2.6 yards per carry, and the Cowboys needed 30 attempts to crack 100 yards. It was far tougher sledding than I expected, and I think it limited what the Cowboys were willing to do in the passing game. Aside from that, though, this looked familiar. Dak Prescott looked solid, if a bit conservative, and the Dallas defense made enough plays to limit Eli Manning and his receivers. But when push came to shove, Manning moved his team downfield and got in position for the go-ahead score. The Cowboys gave it a solid effort, but they just couldn't match up. The Cowboys needed to be better on the ground to help Dak, and it didn't work out that way.
Nick Eatman: Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. Sorry, way off on all of it. One year after nailing the exact score and everything, I just whiffed on all of my predictions this time. Now, had the Cowboys gone down and kicked a game-winning field goal, I would've at least had a two-point victory. But it was not in the cards. I thought Dak would play better if though he was just pretty good. I definitely thought the O-line would block better for Zeke, and for some odd reason, I just thought Barry Church would be involved in a big, game-deciding play. I'm not sure he was really involved in any play, although he was credited for seven tackles. All in all, I thought the Cowboys would be able to squeak this one out, and they nearly did. But you just can't settle for field goals in this league. Everyone knows that. The Cowboys just felt it once again on Sunday.
Rob Phillips:I didn't think nerves would be an issue for Dak Prescott; he's been a cool customer since he took over first-team work in practice at times in training camp and then full-time when Tony Romo hurt his back a couple weeks ago. Prescott looked poised yet again, and he did plenty of good things for a rookie quarterback starting in his first NFL game. I expected a close game that would come down to the Cowboys' pass rush against Eli Manning, and although they had two sacks, Manning was able to set his feet too often and make plays down the field. The other main factor was the red zone. The Giants scored touchdowns on all three of their trips inside the 20, and the Cowboys scored a touchdown once in three tries.
Bryan Broaddus:History told me that it was going to be difficult to get consistent pressure on Eli Manning in this game. Manning has been one of the least sacked quarterbacks in the league the previous two seasons so my expectations were low. What was surprising was that the defense did come up with two during the game which was an accomplishment. One of those came from Orlando Scandrick out of the slot and Benson Mayowa on a hustle play with outstanding coverage secondary. My concern for the defense was that they would be in position but not be able to finish. Unfortunately they struggled to even get in position and like I feared, Manning was able to make some key throws down the field.
For the initial gut feeling predictions of the staff writers posted on Friday, click here.