There aren’t many positives that can come from the New York Giants’ 36-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. The negatives, highlighted by six turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns, stand out and overshadow any positives that might be found. However, there are a few positives if you look hard enough and one of those areas is the receiving corps.
For the first time in history, the Giants had three receivers record 100 yards or more. Victor Cruz led the way with 118 yards on five catches, highlighted by a 70-yard touchdown score. Hakeem Nicks had 114 yards on five catches including a 57-yard catch and run. Rueben Randle also had five catches for 101 yards. Eli Manning completed passes to five different receivers with Brandon Myers leading all pass-catchers with seven receptions and Da’Rel Scott hauling in five passes out of the backfield.
It was exactly a night of textbook passing but the receivers were the one unit on offense that seemed to be ready to play Sunday night. Cruz, who leads all NFL receivers with seven touchdowns of 70 yards or more since 2011, looked like he was ready to live up to his contract and looked more like the 2011 version of himself rather than the 2012 version.
Nicks looked healthy and fresh last night and showed the speed and ability to run after the catch is still there in what is his contract year. When Nicks is healthy and productive the passing game hums like a finely tuned machine.
Randle started to come around late last season and it looks like he really does have a grasp on the offense which could be huge for Manning and the rest of the receivers. Having an effective Randle will force teams to choose who they pay attention to in multiple wide receiver sets. Opponents will not be able to focus on Nicks and Cruz and must now account for Randle.
The Giants offense wasn’t able to really get into a groove but Manning and his receivers were able to lead the Giants on scoring drives of 85, 80, 90 and 80 yards despite five offensive turnovers, three of which came on interceptions by Manning.
Dallas had to account for all three receivers and despite getting some pressure on Manning, Manning was able to find his receivers before getting sacked despite poor pass protection from his running backs.
There are still a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out but the passing game could be very explosive this season with three receivers primed to make some noise. The passing game will only benefit from an improved running game that couldn’t get any worse than it was. Yes, there are some positives to take away from the Giants’ loss and if the Giants put it together, look out.