We're almost 24 hours removed from the gigantic egg that the Giants laid on the unusually dark field at their new stadium on Sunday, but we've still got one burning question that needs answering.
Was this performance just a bad night or was it the result of simmering flaws that were put on the back burner during five weeks of games against mediocre opposition?
It's Just One Game: All of the injuries along the offensive line coupled with the late practice injury to Steve Smith took the wind out of the sails of the offense just as they came into contact with a team that played at full blast for the first time all season. There was bound to be a letdown at some point for a Giants team that was flying high, all of the injuries just accelerated its arrival.
It's More Than Just a Game: The two biggest injury replacements played very well. Shawn Andrews didn't allow DeMarcus Ware to do a thing off the edge and Mario Manningham had a relatively strong game stepping into Smith's spot in the starting lineup. Before he got hurt, Ramses Barden also contributed as a new third receiver. Kevin Boothe was less successful at left guard, but the worst offensive lineman was Chris Snee whose poor play can't be written off. Only true apologists for a stink bomb of a performance would dare bring the injuries into the discussion.
It's Just One Game: The horrendous night for the defense can be blamed on poor preperation and a lack of in-game adjustments by the coaching staff. The Cowboys confounded everyone by coming out with energy (although you have to wonder why no one expected that after paying lip service to the notion all week) and Perry Fewell didn't seem to start pulling any levers to stop the bleeding until it was much too late.
It's More Than Just a Game: When the Giants don't get overwhelming pressure from their pass rushers, the defense gives up big plays through the air. That happened on Sunday night and it has happened consistently over the last two seasons. That's not something unique to Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster, as it is hard to be left on an island and succeed consistently, but those two are the two the Giants have and that problem isn't going to go away.
It's Just One Game: The Cowboys game was a classic trap game with a trip down to Philadelphia looming next Sunday night. That's a shameful excuse to try and use in the NFL, but we've all seen it happen before and the Giants will be better for the reminder that you can't be so arrogant in the run-up to a game against any opponent. We'd argue that good teams need no such reminder, but, again, this wouldn't be a first.
It's More Than Just a Game: The problems last night weren't isolated, they were the same things that have plagued the Giants all season. Turnovers and penalties never stopped being an issue when the team was winning games and they helped sink the team last night. Eli Manning's willingness to hand the ball to the opposition is increasingly troublesome, no matter how much Tom Coughlin and the rest of the team tries to blame everyone but Eli for his two interceptions and fumble. Throw in another awful night from punter Matt Dodge and you've got all the ingredients of the panic of the early weeks.
The conclusion is obviously up in the air, but we're curious to hear your thoughts about how worried we should be about the Giants right now. Let us know in the comments.