Sterling Shepard (309231)
Sterling Shepard Credit: Bill Moore photo

The Giants went into their game on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys already undermanned and disadvantaged. Wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton were out with hamstring injuries, and left tackle Andrew Thomas, who is having a strong second year after a challenging rookie season, was active but essentially unavailable with a foot injury.

Murphy’s Law manifested in the first quarter when running back Saquon Barkley suffered a low left ankle sprain, ending his day. At 3:47 in the second, quarterback Daniel Jones ran wide left on third down and goal from the Cowboys 1-yard line and had a helmet-to-helmet collision with linebacker Jabril Cox. He got up but began staggering like a boxer rocked with a flush right hand.

Jones was carted off of the field, subsequently diagnosed with a concussion and did not return. Along with Barkley and Jones exiting, wide receiver Kenny Golladay, the Giants’ top off-season free-agent signing, had his day cut short after hyperextending his knee in the first quarter.

The Giants’ defense held the fort for the team with many of the battered offensive brethren sidelined, and they trailed by only 17-10 at half. Yet the explosive Cowboys offense, currently ranked second in the NFL in both points per game (34) and total yards (439.6 per outing) took command in the third quarter behind quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliot.

With Giants veteran Mike Glennon in for Jones, the offense couldn’t keep pace with the Cowboys, who outscored them 27-10 in the second half for a commanding 44-20 victory. The loss dropped the Giants to 1-4 heading into this Sunday’s game at home at MetLife Stadium versus the 4-1 Los Angeles Rams, one of the league’s best. The availability of the injured players for Sunday had not been released by the Giants as of early yesterday (Wednesday).

“I think all we have to do is keep fighting and come back to work,” said Glennon after going 16-25 for 196 yards and two touchdowns filling in for Jones. “This is the NFL. You don’t put your head down. You come back the next week.

“Starting tomorrow, we will put our best foot forward and it is just business as usual. You have to come back every day, keep fighting, keep working and stick together.”

One positive take away from the loss was the performance of the Giants’ rookie first round pick Kadarius Toney. Drafted No. 20 overall in April from the University of Florida, Toney was electric, catching 10 passes for 189 yards. He put a slight blemish on his day after being ejected at 6:24 of the fourth quarter for hitting Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee with a punch. Toney was reacting to being aggressively thrown to the turf by Kazee.

“Look, there’s a pretty distinct line in terms of competing and doing the things we’re not going to condone as a team that put us behind,” said Giants head coach Joe Judge regarding Toney’s penalty. “That’s not going to be accepted. It’s not going to be condoned. That’s as far as I’m going to go with that.”

Golladay was supportive of the 22-year-old wideout. “At the end of the day, he is still a rookie and he has a lot of learning to do,” assessed the former Detroit Lion. “He’s going to make mistakes. The only thing I can tell him is true is not to make that mistake. He is a rookie. I am pretty sure he wishes he could have that moment back. Turn the other cheek. He will learn from it.”