Following last season's unexpected success, the New York Giants enter the 2023-24 campaign seemingly primed to make another jump up the NFC hierarchy. But there was no visible leap forward in Sunday night's disaster against the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, they didn't even get off the ground.
The optimism elicited by a solid opening drive quickly evaporated, as a botched third-down snap opened the gates of MetLife Stadium to every imaginable football plague known to mankind. A blocked field goal, missed field goal, an unlucky interception followed by an inexcusable one, multiple missed open wide receivers, a lost fumble and, perhaps most noticeably, a helpless offensive line all combined to form one of the most embarrassing days in Giants history.
The 40-0 score summed up the catastrophic home loss quite nicely. Evan Neal touched on the aforementioned dreadful performance by the O-Line after the so-called “game,” expressing a sentiment shared by a stunned and enraged fandom.
“Never want to feel like this again,” the second-year offensive tackle told SNY, via Giants Videos. “Definitely a horrible feeling. But all we can do is learn from this, grow from this and be better.”
"Never want to feel like this again. Definitely a horrible feeling."
– Evan Neal pic.twitter.com/4FBUPH5Ilf
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) September 11, 2023
After a shaky rookie year that saw him surrender seven sacks and earn a 44.1 blocking grade, according to Pro Football Focus, there is considerable pressure on Neal to vastly improve this season. He is not off to a good start. Of course, the 2022 No. 7 overall pick has plenty of company in that category.
New York's wall of protection immediately crumbled after the first drive, as the Cowboys battered their way through at will all night long. Dallas' defensive line recorded seven total sacks, with Osa Odighizuwa and Dorance Armstrong tallying two each. The woefully unprepared Giants must now go back to the drawing board after this prime-time no-show.
A Week 2 meeting with the Arizona Cardinals should be an ideal opportunity to get back on track, but noting can be assumed after that effort. Hopefully, the disgust that Evan Neal and the entire team are feeling will awaken them from this extended offseason slumber.