Giants Prevail in Wild Game in Dallas: The Giants won their fourth straight game by defeating the division rival Dallas Cowboys 41-35 in a wild game on Monday night. The victory gives the Giants a 5-2 record heading into the bye week. The Giants are currently all alone in first place in the NFC East.
The Giants fell behind 20-7 in the second quarter, then scored 31 unanswered points in the second and third quarter to take a 38-20 lead into the fourth quarter. But Dallas scored 15 points in the 4th quarter and the Cowboys were only officially dead when LB Clint Sintim recovered an onside kick at the end of the game.
The Giants out-gained the Cowboys in first downs (25 to 14), total net yards (497 to 254), net yards rushing (200 to 41), net yards passing (297 to 213), and time of possession (37:31 to 22:29). The Cowboys were also held to 0-of-10 on third down conversions. So how was the game so close? The Giants turned the football over five times and also allowed a special teams touchdown.
The game started off extremely poorly for New York as QB Eli Manning was intercepted on each of the Giants’ first two possessions. The first turnover set up the Cowboys at the Giants’ 5-yard line and the second at the Giants’ 18-yard line. The Cowboys turned these turnovers into a quick 10-0 lead.
On the Giants’ third drive, New York drove 79 yards in 11 plays and cut the Dallas advantage to 10-7 when Manning found WR Hakeem Nicks for a 7-yard score. But on the Giants’ next possession, they turned the football over again when HB Brandon Jacobs fumbled the ball away at the Giants’ 43-yard line. Five plays later, Dallas kicked a 41-yard field goal to go up 13-7. On this possession, the Giants knocked Cowboys’ QB Tony Romo out of the game with a broken left clavicle.
However, things got worse for the Giants as New York could not move the ball on their next possession. Dallas returned P Matt Dodge’s 69-yard punt 93 yards for a touchdown and took what appeared to be a commanding 20-7 advantage.
Nevertheless, from the point of the game, the Giants dominated until the 4th quarter. The Giants scored 31 unanswered points. 17 of those points came in the second quarter as the Giants drove 80 yards in 7 plays (end result being an 8-yard touchdown pass to Nicks), 56 yards in five plays (14-yard touchdown pass to WR Steve Smith), and then PK Lawrence Tynes hit a 53-yard field goal right before halftime.
At the intermission, the Giants led 24-20.
In the third quarter, the Giants kept piling on. After a three-and-out by the Cowboys, the Giants drove 55 yards in five plays with Manning hitting WR Mario Manningham for a 25-yard score. It was Manning’s fourth touchdown pass of the game. After another Dallas three-and-out, the Giants drove 70 yards in 6 plays to go up 38-20. Jacobs scored from 30 yards out.
The Cowboys went three-and-out on their next two possessions as well. Then Dallas turned the football over on downs after driving 52 yards in 11 plays down to the Giants’ 6-yard line. Things then got really sloppy. Bradshaw fumbled the ball away at the Giants’ 45-yard line. The Giants got the ball right back when DT Barry Cofield sacked reserve Dallas QB Jon Kitna and forced a fumble that DE Justin Tuck recovered. But the Giants turned the ball back over to Dallas when Manning was intercepted for the third time in the game, this time with about three and a half minutes to go. The Cowboys returned the pick 41 yards down to the Giants’ 15-yard line. The Cowboys scored on the next play and combined with the successful 2-point conversion attempt, the Giants’ lead was cut to 38-28.
The Giants’ recovered the ensuing onside kick and managed to gain 31 yards to set up a successful 26-yard field goal by Tynes at the 2-minute warning. But the Giants made it tough on themselves (and their fans) by allowing Dallas to 73 yards in 8 plays and 1:15 to cut the lead to 41-35 with under a minute to play. When Sintim recovered the Cowboys’ second onsides kick, the Giants nailed down the victory.
Highlights of the game are available at NFL.com.
Post-Game Injury Report: LB Gerris Wilkinson broke a bone in his left hand on a kickoff return. The Giants put a cast on it and he kept playing. Wilkinson will wear a cast for 2-3 weeks.
Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were FB Madison Hedgecock (hamstring), OT William Beatty (foot), OG Mitch Petrus, OL Jamon Meredith, DE Mathias Kiwanuka (neck), DT Linval Joseph, LB Phillip Dillard, and CB D.J. Johnson.
Article on HB Brandon Jacobs: Brandon Jacobs: The Untold Story by Aditi Kinkhabwala of The Wall Street Journal
Article on Giants’ Offensive Line: Giants’ Strong Running Game Product of Offensive Line’s Solid Blocking by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger
Article on OL Shawn Andrews: To Giants’ Andrews, Music is a Consuming Passion by Mark Viera of The New York Times