If Sunday's Cowboys-Giants game were a movie, there would have been an easy explanation for why the lights went out at the New Meadowlands Stadium right after Felix Jones scored to give the Cowboys a 23-6 lead.
A member of the Giants staff would have snuck into a mechanical room at the stadium and taken a wrench to the transformer that gives our fair stadium light. The game would be plunged into darkness and delayed just long enough for the Giants to catch their breath and blow the Cowboys off the field en route to a sixth straight win.
Critics might call such a plot twist derivative of the rain delay in "Bull Durham," but fans wouldn't care much when the game ended with the Giants on top.
Alas, life isn't a movie and we don't have any idea why the electrical system of a brand new, $1.6 billion stadium stopped functioning. Nor do we have any idea why a Giants team that won five straight games and was fond of telling anyone who would listen that they were the best team in football simply stopped functioning in a 33-20 loss.
There will be those who point to the coaching change in Dallas and the renewed effort of the Cowboys as the reason why the Giants lost this game. That's true and Jason Garrett deserves a lot of credit for getting an apathetic team to play hard, but it is far too kind to the Giants.
They looked exactly like the team that everyone was writing off after the first three weeks of the season during a performance that was even sloppier than the one turned in by the guys who are responsible for keeping the lights on in a football stadium. The Cowboys played very well, but they also made plenty of brutal mistakes and gave the Giants every chance to win the game. The Giants refused all those gifts in spectacular fashion.
Eli Manning threw an interception in the end zone that Bryan McCann returned 101 yards for a touchdown in the first half, he picked up an intentional grounding penalty of incredible stupidity, bizarrely tried to flip a fumbled snap forward instead of just falling on it and capped his night with a second interception in the red zone. He would have never had a chance to fumble if not for a holding penalty by Kevin Boothe that negated a long touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks. That was one of eight penalties on the afternoon for the Giants, who seem to be determined to make a liar out of Tom "We Believe in Disciplined Football" Coughlin this season.
And, lest you thought this was the end of the impersonation of the evil season-opening Giants, the defense gave up big play after big play against an offense run by Jon Kitna. There was a time when that was defensible. That time was 2003, however, and this year's group had better be keeping their mouths shut for the foreseeable future after flapping their gums all through this winning streak.
The Giants are hardly dead in the water, although this loss does make life much more difficult for them. They now trail in the race for home field in the playoffs and the Eagles can move into a first place tie with a win on Monday night. That would make next week's trip to Philly quite big and it would ratchet up the pressure on Coughlin and company to prove that this was just a misstep borne of arrogance and overconfidence against a wounded duck of an opponent.
Otherwise, it will smell like another Coughlin team that starts hot before losing their way in the second half of the season. Not really the plot twist anyone expected this movie to offer, but only because it would be oh so predictable.