EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It was another rather listless offensive afternoon for the New York Giants. This has become commonplace this season.
The Giants reinserted Eli Manning into the starting lineup and still lost 30-10 to the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. The game was closer than the final score -- it was tied in the fourth quarter -- but the result was familiar.
Without the benefit of film review, here were the ups and downs from the Giants' (2-11) latest loss:
WR Darius Powe -- Kudos to Powe for making the most of his NFL debut. He knew his foot broke on his first career catch right before halftime. He stayed in the game and finished, playing 60 percent of the snaps. He wasn’t coming out. “Til I couldn’t run anymore,” Powe said afterward of how long he'd play. The Cal product spent most of the past two seasons on the practice squad before being elevated to the active roster last week. His season ended in his first career game, but he made the most out of it with two catches for 13 yards on four targets. Only regret: Not keeping the ball after making his first career reception.
LB Kelvin Sheppard -- The veteran has stepped in nicely when needed at middle linebacker ever since being signed off the street several weeks back. Sheppard played one of his better games as a Giant on Sunday, excelling in pass coverage and making plays all over the field. He finished with 10 tackles and two passes defended. Sheppard has helped keep the Giants defense together late in the season.
RB Wayne Gallman -- He ran hard and proved to be elusive. Gallman led the Giants in rushes and also tied for the team lead in receptions. He finished with 59 yards on 12 carries and seven receptions on 11 targets for 40 yards. It’s apparent Gallman is going to be used more down the stretch. The rookie outsnapped Orleans Darkwa 37-19, although part of that was because Darkwa dealt with an illness throughout the week.
Honorable Mention: DT Damon Harrison
Steve Spagnuolo -- The interim coach had a solid game plan for his defense. But his job now is bigger than that. He’s also charged with making in-game decisions, and those were questionable at best on Sunday. Spagnuolo was especially conservative, punting twice from inside Dallas territory (once in the second quarter, once in the fourth) despite coaching a 2-10 team and likely needing exceptional results to keep the job. Spagnuolo explained the decisions by saying he thought it was a field-position game. At this point of the season, what do the Giants have to lose by being more aggressive? Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan took few chances. It was head-scratching.
WR Sterling Shepard -- It wasn’t the best game for the Giants’ top receiving threat. He had two catches on three targets for 16 yards and dropped a third-down pass. It was the fewest catches he’s produced since leaving early with an ankle injury in Week 5 against the Chargers. The Giants need more from him if their offense is going to do anything.
CB Eli Apple -- Inactive yet again. This time Spagnuolo said it was because Apple didn’t get enough practice reps during the week. Whatever the reason, the Giants aren’t pressing to get him on the field despite being short on cornerbacks and playing Brandon Dixon and Darryl Morris, neither of whom were on the active roster earlier this season. It doesn’t reflect well on Apple, who was a top-10 pick last year and has found himself buried in the doghouse.