The Good, the Bad, and the Thanksgiving Win...

The Good:

1. Battling: The game was ultimately closer and harder than what I'm sure many expected. New York was coming in off a bad loss to the Lions and had a good number of their regular starters out with illness or injury, and under most circumstances that would make it expected to do well across the board... but that didn't happen. New York played hard and played well, and it played into a good saying... that "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." New York provided that punch and Dallas had to battle through that.

And in the end, they did battle through that. They overcame the things that went bat and battled through to the victory, and that is important... as it also shows some measure of resilience and being able to combat adversity rather than just letting circumstances come in to defeat them. So, it was good that they were able to battle and win the game.

2. Running the Ball: The running game was big for the team and contributed to the successes in the game. Pollard had the most carries with 60 yards and in terms of yards, Zeke did even better with over 5 yards per carry and 92 yards in the game as a whole. Zeke and Hendershot even added rushing touchdowns into the tally. And even Dak had a good game running the ball. He didn't run for as many yards as Zeke or Pollard and he only had two carries, but the runs he did have helped get first downs and keep the offense going... and this was all part of what actually worked for the offense consistently through the game.

3. Defending Saquon Barkley: Defending the Giants running back is always going to be a big part of the gameplan to beat the Giants, particularly because of Barkley's ability to bust big plays if the Giants can get him going. And while the rush defense can be hit and miss... and it really didn't do well against the rest of the Giants in the running game... they DID do well against Barkley in the running game, allowing him only 39 yards and a TD on 11 carries.

4. Lamb in the Second Half: If the plan to win OBJ, which I still worry over, was to have Lamb catch everything one handed... he did a good job of that in the second half. One was a long catch on the sideline that set up a touchdown later in the drive and another was in the middle of the field... and both of these plays drew penalties on the Giants besides.

5. Dak in the Second Half: His first half was ugly... but he cleaned up a lot of it at halftime and relates to Point 1. He battled back in the second half with several good throws to Lamb, a few to Gallup, and two TD passes to Schultz. That's all good.

6. Gallup: While the offense staggered in the first half, there was one skill player that made several key plays in the first half... and that was Gallup, catching a few key third down conversions and catching a few key big plays in the first half that at least had the potential to set up possible scores and keep drives alive. And while the second half was more Lamb's time to shine... Gallup didn't disappear in the second half, either.

The Bad:

1. Dak in the First Half: He had some decent passes that were well placed. He had some passes that provided big gains, and this helped set up the lone TD drive in the First Half. But the First Half was also one where Dak let things get away from him. Namely in the form of two INTs. Now, the second wasn't entirely on him, as that came off a deflection, but the first is on him. Sure, one can argue that one of the Giants was off-sides and it should have been a free play... BUT the refs aren't going to see that. And at a crucial point in the game, where the Giants had just gone up 10-7, Dak has no reason to complain, as the ball was thrown rather softly and when the refs didn't see the offsides, they then got an INT because the ball was not thrown away.

2. Slow Starts: This will primarily relate to Point 1, but it would bear repeating, as it would also apply to much of the rest of the team as well. Just about everything that has been problematic for the Cowboys was WORSE for them in the first half. Penalties were big in the game... but there were more of them in the first half. The Giants had some of their most explosive plays, many of which being passing plays, in the first half. The pass rush really didn't appear until the second half. And that did a lot to contribute to why this game was as close as it was. Now, some of this may have been the illness that's been bugging the team since last week, and that wouldn't surprise me... but that doesn't mean that the slow start was a good thing.

3. Penalties: This was a game where we really got lucky this didn't come back to kill the Cowboys. For according to: NY Giants at Dallas - Thanksgiving -Team Comparison, Yahoo Sports, we had 13 penalties for nearly 90 yards, 86 to be exact. Against better teams, that number of penalties would kill the team.

4. Maher: While he didn't miss any of his extra points, he did miss one field goal... and one that was from a much shorter distance than the 60 yards ones he kicked in Minnesota.

5. Defending the Big Pass Plays: Generally, the pass defense wasn't too bad... not great, and often relying more on Daniel Jones being inaccurate... but on key big plays, there were things where they fell flat. The worst of these being the 44-yard bomb to Slayton... though, that really wasn't a lone play. The Giants ran a deep bomb play earlier in the game where Jones had gone to Slayton, and while that pass was incomplete, that was more due to Jones being inaccurate on the throw than our secondary being there to swat the ball away.

6. Going For It in the First Half: It doesn't matter how good the defense is. Going for it on 4th and 2 from your own side of the field was a stupid decision, and in many ways, like the decisions that went into the 4th down play against the Packers in overtime. If the plan was to go for it... they should have tried to run the ball on 3rd down and make the down and distance shorter, particularly when the running game wasn't doing too bad with Zeke. But instead, they passed it on 3rd down and then went for it on fourth down.

Now, one could say that McCarthy just wanted to be aggressive and take chances. And to some degree, I can accept that. But in the first half... with two full yards to go, and in a close game. That's where you punt the ball and see if a shaky Giants offense can go the length of the field. You don't go for it and give the Giants momentum.

The Thanksgiving Win: Hopefully everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving win... particularly as things have been rough for the Cowboys in the past few years, and to a degree that can go back even deeper. See: Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day Record - Sportskeeda. On the whole, the team has a winning record on the holiday, but in the 2010s they were 4-6 and coming into today's game, they were 0-2 in the 2020s and have lost 4 of their last 5 Thanksgiving Day Games. So, these wins are hard to come by... and they are good to get. Hopefully, this win can be the start of turning things around on the holiday.

In the meantime... hopefully everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving.

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