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giants

Readjust Your Giant Expectations

The Giants had won five straight games, the most recent of which was a dominant 41–7 performance on the road in Seattle in which they played something close to a perfect football game. It's hard to wipe out much of that good feeling in just one afternoon. But it's apparently not impossible. And so the Giants, a team that had fought its way into the "best team in the conference" discussion, lost 33–20 at home to a 1–7 Dallas team yesterday — one with a coach making his debut and a quarterback attempting to win his first game since 2007.

Jon Kitna, given plenty of time to operate, threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns. The Giants defense, the best in the league, gave up 427 yards of offense. And Eli Manning and the offense turned the ball over three more times, including an interception that Bryan McCann ran back 101 yards for a touchdown to make the score 16–3 halfway through the second quarter.

Oh, and at one point all the lights went out in New Meadowlands Stadium, leaving it in total darkness. Those attending the game may have heard a strange sound coming from the press box during this time: that of the tabloid headlines and game-story leads writing themselves.

Clinging to hope late in the game, the Giants still couldn't swing the momentum in their favor, at least not long enough for it to matter. After a replay reversed the call on Dez Bryant's apparent 47-yard reception, and Deon Grant picked off a Jon Kitna pass in the end zone, the Giants' next drive — one that included a Hakeem Nicks touchdown nullified by a penalty — would end on a botched snap recovered by the Cowboys. And after David Buehler's 34-yard field goal miss gave the ball back to the Giants, who still trailed by 13 (and not 14, thanks to a blocked extra point earlier in the game), Eli Manning would throw his second interception of the day. It's only one game, of course, but it's safe to say that the Giants did not look like the NFC's best team yesterday.

Now tonight the Giants will do a bit of scoreboard watching: Philadelphia plays Washington on Monday Night Football, and with a win, the Eagles will tie the Giants atop the NFC East, in advance of their meeting next weekend in Philadelphia.

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Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images