Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Five moments that shaped the season: No. 3
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
The New York Giants' 2013 season started taking on an ugly shape right away. So as we continue with our little five-part series on moments that shaped the season, we flash all the way back to the Week 1 loss in Dallas.
No. 3: A Carr wreck
Three turnovers in a season opener is enough to cost you a feel-good Week 1 win and get your coaches' stomachs churning. Four turnovers in a season opener is a straight-up disaster worthy of extra film work and a week of misery. Five turnovers in a season opener is almost incomprehensible, and would be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
But when you go ahead and turn the ball over six times in your opener? Man, that's just... well, it's not good.
The Giants needed all six of them to lose the Week 1 Sunday night game to the Cowboys, too. They were down by only six points and had the ball at midfield with two minutes left in the game. At this point, Eli Manning's reputation as a comeback king was still prominent in the minds and memories of Giants fans, players, coaches and opponents, so when he hit Rueben Randle for 26 yards on third-and-five to get the ball to the 48-yard line, there was hope for the game and for the season.
But on the next play, Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr intercepted a screen pass intended for running back Da'Rel Scott (who was in the game because Andre Brown had broken his leg the week before in a preseason game and David Wilson had fumbled twice already in this game) and ran it back 49 yards for the touchdown that sealed the game.
The full ledger of Week 1 turnovers included three Manning interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, the two lost fumbles by Wilson, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and a muffed punt return by Trumaine McBride. The first play of the game was an interception of a Manning pass by Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware. The numbers were made all the more difficult to take in light of the fact that the Cowboys had only forced 16 total turnovers the entire 2012 season.
An angry Tom Coughlin fumed after the game about what he believed was an anomaly to be corrected. Instead, it was a horrifying preview of what was to come.