In an article written just a few hours prior to game time on Sunday afternoon, it was speculated that the New York Giants were talking themselves into a deep hole.
Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul set the ball rolling on Friday with their comments during a press conference. JPP suggested that “blood will be spilled” and Tuck added that the imminent contest with the Dallas Cowboys was “going to be a barn-burner.” A few notes on this one; firstly, there was nothing detrimental to the Cowboys in these comments and certainly no premature predictions of the final outcome. Secondly, should such comments have been deemed as attempted intimidation then two mean pass-rushing defensive ends are probably the best suited to do so.
Unfortunately, the Giants roster made like sheep for the remainder of the week as these comments triggered an open season for anyone and everyone to have their say. Resurgent cornerback Terrell Thomas was next aboard the bandwagon making a glaring mistake by announcing as bold as brass on SiriusXM radio “no doubt we’re gonna win this game,” which is a cardinal sin in the sporting world.
Whilst Giants head coach Tom Coughlin was unaware of how his team was doing his opposite number Jason Garrett‘s work for him, by the time tight end Brandon Myers joined you got the impression that things were getting more than a little out of hand. Myers — who has failed to build on his impressive form for the Oakland Raiders in 2012 — tweeted “time to sort the men from the boys,” just hours before the game to stoke the Cowboys’ fires even more.
Come the final whistle on Sunday evening, the Giants were left with egg on their faces after their excessive tongue-wagging went to waste as they were toppled 24-21 by their NFC East rivals. Whether it was a direct result of the pre-game verbal shots we will never know, but the Cowboys appeared to be a tougher unit, both physically and mentally, than we have seen for the most part this season. The traveling defense is worthy of special mention; without their talisman Sean Lee and ranking dead-last in the league, it was largely expected that they would fall at the mercy of Eli Manning and company, though this never materialized. Instead, Manning was limited to his third-lowest passing yardage outing of the season, and the strip and fumble return touchdown from Cowboys safety Jeff Heath that opened the scoring set the tone for the rest of the evening as the Giants found little joy through the air.
It appears that the previous four-game winning streak bred an overconfidence in the Giants camp that deterred the focus that had been a key element to their recent upturn in fortunes. After starting the season at 0-6 there was little margin for error as far as Big Blue are concerned; they may have thrown their season away on the back of the Week 12 defeat and made themselves look downright foolish in the process.