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3 Takeaways from Giants’ Week 5 Loss

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    The New York Giants couldn’t follow up their first win of the 2021 season with a first divisional victory of the year, but it was a series of injuries that caused most concern at AT&T Stadium after the 44-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

    During the game, quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and wide receiver Kenny Golladay all got hurt, exited and didn’t return. That left New York’s backups to try to lead a comeback victory, an effort that was unsuccessful against a red-hot Dallas team that notched its fourth straight win.

    With 36 seconds to go in the first half, the Giants gave up a 24-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Amari Cooper that put the Cowboys ahead 17-10. From there, Dallas led the rest of the way and improved to 4-1, while New York fell to 1-4 to remain in last place in the NFC East.

    Here are three takeaways from the Giants’ Week 5 loss.

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    As the Giants fell behind early on Sunday, the primary concern became the health of three of their top offensive players.

    Jones was knocked out of the game with a concussion in the second quarter, while Barkley (ankle) and Golladay (knee) were also injured. Because of that, New York’s offense couldn’t reach its full potential.

    It’s a particularly disappointing development for Barkley, who played only one game in 2020 due to a torn ACL. He was just starting to look like himself again in recent weeks, then had only two carries on Sunday before spraining his left ankle, which could cause him to miss a couple weeks, per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

    “It’s fresh. So I’m pretty sure it’s frustrating for him,” Golladay said. “But at the same time, he’s in good spirits as well. Hopefully he’s able to go.”

    Golladay will undergo an MRI on Monday, while Giants head coach Joe Judge gave no indication of whether Jones could miss time.

    Following the injuries, Mike Glennon took over at quarterback and Devontae Booker got most of the work out of the backfield.

    New York’s offense could struggle the next few weeks if Jones, Barkley and/or Golladay miss time. And the potential absences of these top players may make it difficult for the team to overcome its tough start.

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    Kadarius Toney’s rookie season couldn’t have gotten off to a much slower start, after just four catches for 14 yards over the first three games of the season.

    However, the first-round draft pick is now getting more involved in the Giants’ offense, which led to a breakout performance on Sunday.

    While helping New York try to make up for the loss of Golladay, the 22-year-old had 10 catches for 189 yards on 13 targets, and he also recorded a 38-yard reception, his longest of the year. This showing came after he had six catches for 78 yards in the Week 4 overtime win over the New Orleans Saints.

    Toney’s 189 yards set the NFL rookie receiving record for a single game, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. That mark previously belonged to former Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who had 185 receiving yards in the 2014 regular-season finale.

    “Man, he’s special,” Glennon said of the Florida product. “I think he showed what he is capable of doing. That was fun to see.”

    However, Toney’s day ended when he was ejected for throwing a punch at Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee in the fourth quarter, which could result in a suspension.

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    Dallas has a lot of playmakers on its offense, and many of them made things tough on New York’s defense on Sunday.

    The Cowboys amassed 515 total yards and came at the Giants in a multitude of different ways, showing once again that New York still has some work to do on the defensive side of the ball.

    Dak Prescott aired it out for 302 yards and three touchdowns, connecting with running back Ezekiel Elliott and top wide receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb for scores. Elliott also had a rushing touchdown while running for 110 yards. Meanwhile, Tony Pollard had 75 rushing yards as Dallas totaled 201 yards on the ground.

    Through five weeks, the Giants are allowing 408.6 total yards per game, fourth most in the NFL.

    “Obviously, we have to play better,” Giants head coach Joe Judge told reporters. “We have to coach better. We have to execute better. That’s across the board.”

    That’s especially the case on defense, though. If the Giants’ offense is going to be shorthanded, it really can’t afford to be giving up a ton of points, which has become an issue of late.

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