Jerry Jones would have fired Wade Phillips a month ago if he knew the Cowboys would have played as well all season under Jason Garrett as they did in New York on Sunday.
The Cowboys routed the Giants 33-20 in Garrett’s debut. Even though Dallas’ win was only by a 13-point margin, I use the term “routed” because many believed that this New York team was the best in the NFC coming into this game. (Not to mention the Cowboys have looked like an utter train wreck for most of the season.)
There really was no secret to how the Cowboys dismantled the Giants: they stayed balanced offensively, they won the turnover battle and they produced some big plays. The Giants turned the ball over three times, including once at the goal line as Bryan McCann picked off Eli Manning and returned the gift 101 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest interception return for a score in franchise history for the Cowboys.
Jon Kitna, who clearly located a genie sometime this week and cashed in one of his three wishes, threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Rookie Dez Bryant caught three passes for 104 yards and a score, while Felix Jones (who saw a lot of playing time after Marion Barber was benched) caught three passes for 85 yards and one touchdown.
Outside of Mario Manningham (10 receptions, 91 yards, 1 TD), it was a day the Giants would like to forget. Dallas punched them in the mouth from the opening bell and New York had no response. They tried to make it close at the end, but a Hakeen Nicks touchdown was wiped off the board because of a holding penalty and then Manning turned the ball over twice on the Giants’ next two possessions to ice the game for the Cowboys. (Although a botched snap was part of the blame for one of Manning’s turnovers.)
It’s not completely shocking that a divisional rival was able to walk into the New Meadowlands (a dark New Meadowlands at that, as the stadium suffered a couple of power outages during the game) and beat the Giants. What’s shocking is that the divisional rival was a Dallas team that had just fired its head coach earlier in the week and had played like crap in its previous three games. If I’m Tom Coughlin, I don’t even watch the reply from this loss. Just pitch the tape in the trash and look ahead to next week.