NFL News & Analysis

DAL-NYG grades: Giants overcome rough night from QB Eli Manning

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 11: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants looks on against the Dallas Cowboys during the third quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on December 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

New York Giants 10, Dallas Cowboys 7

Here are the highest-graded players and top takeaways from the Giants' Week 14 win over the Cowboys—New York's second victory over 11-2 Dallas this season.

New York Giants

Quarterback grade: Eli Manning 25.8

Manning turns in horrid outing, but team picks him up in crucial win

There aren't too many ways to put it: Eli Manning was flat out bad on Sunday night. In the first half, he had two fumbles that were recovered by the Cowboys, flipping critical field position. The first fumble slipped out of his hand while throwing and ended a drive that had the Giants just outside of the red zone; his second came as New York was just outside of field-goal range. Manning also had two fortunate incompletions that were dropped by Barry Church, but was not so lucky in the fourth quarter when he threw into tight coverage and Anthony Brown made a great jump on the ball and picked it off. Manning threw another dangerous pass on a slant intended for Sterling Shepard; the QB threw blindly down the middle after turning his back to the coverage. Manning, on the night, had six turnover-worthy plays, which is why he graded out so poorly despite the outcome.

Eli Manning vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

C Weston Richburg, 74.8

OT Marshall Newhouse, 74.3

WR Odell Beckham Jr., 71.0

OT Ereck Flowers, 70.9

WR Sterling Shepard, 69.2

Beckham make highlight of the night, but quiet otherwise

Odell Beckham Jr. had a truly electrifying highlight of the night, taking a slant pass 61 yards all the way to the end zone, blazing by the Cowboys’ secondary on what would turn out to be the game-winning touchdown. But outside of that highlight play, Beckham did not perform like a player of his caliber. He had two big drops, one of which could have gone for a touchdown; the other came close to the sticks on a third down inside the Cowboys’ red zone and forced the Giants to kick a field goal when they were down seven points. On the night, Beckham was targeted nine times and had four receptions for 94 yards and the aforementioned score.

Top defensive grades:

CB Janoris Jenkins, 91.6

S Landon Collins, 85.6

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, 85.1

ED Olivier Vernon, 83.4

DI Romeo Okwara, 80.3

Giants' secondary shuts down Cowboys' passing game

The Giants' defense played a great complimentarily game on Sunday night. The run defense provided help on the edge and in the middle, with DT Damon Harrison outstanding all night. What stood out the most, though, was the play by the New York secondary—most notably, cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins set the tone early when covering Dez Bryant by fighting him off on a slant and coming away with a key interception. When covering Bryant on the night, Jenkins surrendered one catch on seven targets. The one catch that he did allow, he promptly forced Bryant to fumble, giving the Giants the ball back and causing the Cowboys to burn their final timeout. Jenkins then put the nail in the coffin by getting his hands in between Bryant’s on a fourth-down pass and deflecting the ball enough to hit the ground and end the game.

Dallas Cowboys

Quarterback grade: Dak Prescott, 36.8 

Dak Prescott unable to get on same page as Dez Bryant in loss

Dak Prescott was not much better than Eli Manning in the first half; his interception came on a slant route where Dez Bryant couldn’t keep his feet, and was ultimately not the rookie's fault, but his third-down fumble late in the second quarter took the team out of field-goal range, and could have been much worse. Leon Hall then picked off Prescott when he and Bryan appeared not to be on the same page.

Dak Prescott vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

G Zack Martin, 78.2

C Travis Frederick, 77.4

HB Ezekiel Elliot, 77.3

OT Doug Free, 75.9

OT Tyron Smith, 71.2

Dez Bryant unable to make impact in Cowboys' loss

The Cowboys had some success running the ball on Sunday night; both interior stars Travis Frederick and Zack Martin played well. Neither allowed a pressure, but both posted just average run-blocking grades. Ezekiel Elliot was effective for most of the night, finishing with over 100 yards with 4.5 yards per carry, But the story on that side of the ball was Dez Bryant, who was unable to get on the same page as Dak Prescott—and unable to shake CB Janoris Jenkins. Bryant was targeted eight times, and only managed one reception. Soon after catching that pass, he had a back-breaking fumble that severally hurt the Cowboys' chances of coming away with a victory.

Top defensive grades:

ED Benson Mayowa, 85.3

CB Anthony Brown, 84.5

S Barry Church, 82.5

ED Tyrone Crawford, 80.6

DI Maliek Collins, 77.6

Edge support makes big impact, but its not enough for victory

For much of this season, the talk about the Cowboys' defense has been the emergence of the secondary, with Brandon Carr and the now-injured Morris Claiborne having career years. But on Sunday, the Cowboys got great performances from their top edge defenders in Benson Mayowa and Tyrone Crawford. Mayowa was a menace in run defense, notching four run stops and helping limit the Giants' running game with a 90.9 run-defense grade. Mayowa added a key strip sack that resulted in a turnover as the Giants were inching into field goal range in the second quarter. Crawford was also solid in both areas, with two QB hurries and a sack rushing the passer, earning 75.2 run-defense grade.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Janoris Jenkins, CB, Giants

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.


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