Giants defense is looking to rebound after giving up 640 yards and 49 points to Dallas

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Wink Martindale used a baseball pitching analogy to describe what happened to his defense last week when the New York Giants gave up 640 yards and 49 points in a one-sided loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

“Quite honestly, it’s like we didn’t have our fastball, our curveball or our change-up,” Martindale said Thursday, looking back on the 49-17 rout that dropped the Giants to 2-8. “They just hit it out of the park whatever we threw at them, it was just one of those games. Like I said, I give credit to Dallas.”

They don't have much time to feel sorry for themselves. They will be heading down to Washington to face the Commanders (4-6) for the second time in less than a month.

New York got a 14-7 win in October at home, but both teams have changed. The Giants have dropped three straight games.

They sent one of their top defensive linemen in Leonard Williams to Seattle at the trade deadline and they enter Sunday's game banged up, especially at the cornerback position.

Adoree Jackson missed the Dallas game with a concussion and he has not cleared the protocol yet. Rookie Deonte Banks has a sprained ankle and slot cornerback Cor'Dale Flott injured his shoulder in the first half against Dallas and did not return. They have been limited at practice this week.

Outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux, who leads the team with 8 1/2 sacks, sustained a concussion against the Cowboys and he has not been cleared for contact, although he is improving, coach Brian Daboll said.

Martindale said he is not letting the players use the injuries as an excuse.

“You do challenge them, you challenge them every week and the challenge is Washington’s offense and this league, there is no easy outs, you know what I mean?,” Martindale said. “They are going to step on your throat if they think you’re down. And you do the same thing defensively if you are doing that to an offense. I think the challenge is we have to get ready for Washington and the players see how much they’ve improved as well, offensively.”

Giants inside linebacker and leading tackler Bobby Okereke said the Commanders have changed since their most recent meeting, when the only touchdown Washington scored followed a fumbled punt deep in New York territory.

The Commanders were limited to 273 yards and were 1 of 15 on third down.

Okereke said Washington quarterback Sam Howell is getting rid of the ball much quicker and that's cut down on the number of times he has been sacked. The Giants had six sacks, including two by Dexter Lawrence and 1 1/2 by Thibodeaux.

“They do have very dynamic running backs,” Okereke of a backfield led by Brian Robinson, who has eight touchdowns. “So, when a team can pass and run it makes it very difficult, so obviously you have to stop the run and put them in passing situations.”