It’s been awhile since I weighed in on a sporting event.
The common theme with my other media reviews is that this game (like a movie or television show) was projected on a screen. More or less.
Projection probably isn’t the right word here.
We could ask Desargues…or Poncelet.
But let’s move on past that slight confusion.
What we had here was indeed a live televised American football game with (I’m sure) a several-second delay. Meaning, it’s not technically “live” in the sense of simultaneity.
But again, these are not the usual concerns of sports writers.
And I don’t pretend to be a sports writer.
But as a film critic, how am I to approach such a viewing experience?
I have my team (the Dallas Cowboys).
They are the protagonists (hopefully the heroes) in a tale which I desire to turn out a certain way.
Continuing this adversarial dichotomy, there were the New York Giants: the antagonists.
The villains. The bad guys.
This is all, of course, strictly from my personal perspective.
But we do need a little backstory.
The Cowboys came in with the NFL’s best record at 11-1.
The Giants had a respectable 8-3 mark at kickoff.
The deeper backstory was that NY had given Dallas its lone defeat this season.
The 1 on the other side of the 11.
Dallas came in with the two hottest, most unbelievable rookies in the league this season: quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Well, folks…this one was much like the season opener…when the Cowboys lost by one point.
Prescott entered tonight’s game having thrown 19 touchdowns to only two interceptions.
Sadly, Dak threw two more before the night was over.
It was really an off game for him.
While things looked good early (when Dak hit Terrance Williams for a touchdown), the play ended up being the Cowboys’ only score of the night.
This was a rough game to watch.
A defensive battle.
Eli Manning for the Giants was not particularly good.
He turned the ball over three times (two fumbles lost and one interception), and yet one pass to Odell Beckham Jr. made all the difference.
Ezekiel Elliott rushed for over 100 yards, but it was a quiet 107.
Perhaps the weather really did play a factor for both teams.
The temperature I saw was 31 Fahrenheit.
There was a light dusting of snow or ice on the Giants’ home field.
But as this was a defensive game, let’s talk about these two defenses.
Sean Lee was magnificent for the Cowboys (as usual) with 18 tackles.
Barry Church, ailing arm and all, had 8 tackles.
But a real bright spot for the Cowboys was Benson Mayowa.
Here’s an undrafted guy from Idaho (not exactly a football powerhouse) making a difference on Sunday Night Football (perhaps the marquee time slot for American football games).
Mayowa had one of the exciting sacks which seemed to bode well for the Cowboys.
But Dallas couldn’t turn it into points.
Tyrone Crawford had another great sack of Eli Manning.
Even rookie Anthony Brown, a Sixth Round draft pick from Purdue, had his first career interception on this night.
But the Dallas offense just could not figure out the New York defense to a significant enough extent.
Even the sure-footed Dan Bailey missed a long field goal off the crossbar of the goalpost to end the first half.
That “doink” sound pretty much sums up what was a rather disappointing outing for the Dallas Cowboys.
New York, minus their big dog Jason Pierre-Paul, was able to get excellent production from a Nigerian rookie named Romeo Okwara. Okwara is an undrafted rookie who went to Notre Dame. Romeo [wherefore are thou] led the Giants on the night with 8 tackles.
Also effective for the Giants were Landon Collins (a second-year player out of Alabama) and Janoris Jenkins (in his fifth year out of North Alabama).
Providing additional defensive firepower for the G-Men was Eli Apple: a highly-drafted rookie out of THE Ohio State University.
I’m sure Ezekiel Elliott was not enjoying losing his first road game since high school…especially with his former college teammate Apple on the other side.
But that’s The Big Apple. And that’s sports.
In a game which saw each team punt nine times, the proceedings mostly progressed with anticipation.
Williams and Beckham Jr. had the only two touchdowns. And they were both fantastic plays.
But this was a snoozer of a game.
I just wish my team had come out on top 🙂
But there’s no crying in football. Or is that baseball?
Regardless, the Cowboys have had a magical season.
And they have three more regular season games to show that they truly belong at the top of the rankings heading into the postseason.
The eleven-game winning streak is over, but the real season is just beginning.