New York Giants: 2013 Week 12 Upon Further Review

Upon Further Review: Giants Week 12

November, 25, 2013
11/25/13
8:00
AM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- An examination of four hot issues from the New York Giants' 24-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys:

[+] EnlargeVictor Cruz and Jeff Heath
ndrew Mills/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports"For them to have a touchdown on a play like that," coach Tom Coughlin said of Jeff Heath's return of a Victor Cruz fumble, "is just unbelievable."
The final drive: Giants defensive end Justin Tuck was confused about the team's decision to play coverage on the Cowboys' final drive instead of trying to pressure Tony Romo into a mistake. "Maybe we needed to be a little more aggressive and play the way we played the previous four drives," Tuck said. And the fact that Romo converted three third-down throws on a 14-play, 64-yard drive that set up the game-winning field goal supports his theory. I'm not sure I agree, though. Pressuring Romo can create problems due to his ability to keep plays alive with his legs. And the conversions were on third downs of 7, 5 and 10 yards, so they weren't exactly letting him get into easy spots. Sometimes, you just get beaten by a better team and/or player. Romo and the Cowboys made the plays. The Giants didn't.

The fumble: Giants coach Tom Coughlin made it clear he thought the whistle should have been blown and forward progress ruled before Orlando Scandrick stripped the ball out of Victor Cruz's hands and into the hands of Jeff Heath, who ran it back for the game's first touchdown. "We started off the year knowing full well that the officials were going to blow the whistle this season for every play," Coughlin said. "You hope that the whistle should blow. For them to have a touchdown on a play like that is just unbelievable." Tough spot for the officials, obviously, since what happens if he gets loose and scores a touchdown and you have to bring him back because you ruled forward progress? Surely, the other sideline would have found that unbelievable. Judgment call, but the fact is the whistle hadn't blown and Scandrick made a great play.

The absentee: Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks was inactive for the game after missing practice time during the week due to an abdominal injury he says has been bugging him all season. Nicks was certain as recently as Friday that he'd play. He didn't speak after the game. The fact that the Giants didn't let him suit up obviously intensifies the questions about the remainder of his season and his chances of returning to the team next year.

The math: The Giants could still win their final five games and finish 9-7, but even if they did, that wouldn't guarantee them a playoff spot. As Prince Amukamara said after the game, the Cowboys have four division wins (two against the Giants), and the most the Giants can get is three. The Eagles also hold a tiebreaker edge over the Giants. Their chances of catching and passing either of those teams are insanely slim. Their chances of catching and passing both are inconceivable. The residue of the 0-6 start is a complete lack of margin for error. They couldn't lose another game, and they just did.

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