The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win.
It didn’t matter.
Murray rushed for an NFL-record seventh 100-yard game to begin the season as the Cowboys (6-1) won, 31-21, to take a solo hold on first place in the NFC East with the Eagles on a bye. New York (3-4) dropped under .500 with the defeat.
The loss was the Giants’ second straight after reeling off three consecutive wins, though at least they were more competitive than in a 27-0 loss to Philadelphia last week.
Metro looks at three things that went wrong in the Giants’ loss.
1. Chasing history
While Murray spent Sunday afternoon chasing history, the Giants spent it chasing his dust. Murray finished with 28 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown. But even more than just the total yards, it was Murray’s effort down the stretch which put the game out of reach for New York. Murray broke through the line for a third-and-1 with 4:04 left. Murray had 26 yards on the team’s final drive, which ended in a field goal to make it a two-score game.
2. Fumbled away
The biggest momentum swing of the game came when Eli Manning found Larry Donnell for a first down on third-and-8 with 11:13 left in the game, trailing 21-14. But Donnell couldn’t hold onto the ball after being hit and stripped by Barry Church. It took less than two minutes for the Cowboys to drive down and make it a 28-14 lead. Donnell has had a tremendous season, but Sunday was not his day. Even though he had a few big catches, he also had his second fumble at the end of the game to put a wrap on the loss.
3. Missing Jennings
The absence of Rashad Jennings is really starting to show for the Giants. Rookie Andre Williams has tried to step up to fill in for the injured veteran, but he’s looked like a complementary back two weeks in a row now. And when Peyton Hillis, a player who’s been washed up for years, is your backup that’s a major problem. Williams finished with 18 carries for 51 yards, but 22 yards came on one run. The Giants now have 190 total rushing yards over the last two losses. They averaged 154 rushing yards per game over their three-game winning streak and they had 193 yards in the Texans win alone. It’s hard to blame Williams as much as the front office is to blame for not having another option behind Williams once David Wilson retired.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.