After incurring that embarrassing loss on Thanksgiving night to the Denver Broncos, the New York Giants (7–5) bounced back with a huge win at the Meadowlands by defeating the Dallas Cowboys (8–4) 31–24.
With the win, the Giants climbed back into the divisional race, trailing Dallas and the Philadelphia Eagles (8–4) by one game. The Giants will face the Eagles next Sunday night at Giants Stadium—another pivotal game for Big Blue.
The game started out in classic NFC East style, with both teams battling back and forth throughout the first quarter as the defenses shut down offenses.
In the second quarter, Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff stripped running back Ahmad Bradshaw of the ball and recovered it near the Giants 20-yard line. This led to quarterback Tony Romo hitting wide receiver Roy Williams for a 4-yard touchdown strike in the right corner of the end zone and the visitors were up 10–0.
The Giants responded with less than two minutes left in the half. Manning hit receiver Hakeem Nicks with a quick pass for a 21-yard touchdown score.
Matching the effort of their offense, the Giants defense stepped up big time just before halftime as defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka knocked the ball out of Dallas running back Marion Barber’s hands. Osi Umenyiora picked it up and ran it back to the Dallas 28-yard line.
Umenyiora commented on the play, “I love this team, I love this organization, whatever I can do to help this team I’m all for it.”
Manning and the offense went back to work and capitalized by putting together another touchdown drive, this time going to bruising running back Brandon Jacobs, making the score 14–10 in favor of the Giants.
Momentum had clearly swung the Giants’ way as Dallas gave up two touchdowns in less than a minute and a half.
But Dallas didn’t begin their December swoon quite yet.
In the third quarter, Romo connected with Williams for his second touchdown catch of the game. But before the Cowboys could catch their breath, the Giants came right back on the next possession and scored another touchdown.
Manning threw a short drop-off pass to Brandon Jacobs who took it 74 yards down the left side of the field and increased New York’s lead to 21–17.
Jacobs’s catch was the longest scoring catch allowed by Dallas this season and the longest scoring throw for the Giants.
Early in the fourth quarter, kicker Lawrence Tynes connected on a 23-yarder and made it 24–17 for the G-Men.
Then came the nail in the coffin for Dallas. Domenik Hixon took a kickoff and ran it all the way back for a 79-yard touchdown, giving New York a two score lead at 31–17.
Domenik Hixon talked with www.giants.com about the much-needed win. He said, “It was truly a team effort, we knew what we had to do today against a very good Dallas team and we just wanted to put forth our best effort.”
Maligned for weeks, New York’s defense came to play in this game.
In their first meeting this season, the Cowboys pounded the Giants with 251 yards rushing. But on Sunday, they were only able to gain 40 yards on the ground.
Also different was the amount of pressure the Giants were able to put on Tony Romo as he was sacked twice.
Former Cowboy and current Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty spoke about his unit’s performance, “Guys trust each other. It felt great because it was a team effort.”
NY Jets 19, Buffalo 13
Chicago 17, St. Louis 9
Carolina 16, Tampa Bay 6
Jacksonville 23, Houston 18
Denver 44, Kansas City 13
Indianapolis 27, Tennessee 17
Philadelphia 34, Atlanta 7
Oakland 27, Pittsburgh 24
New Orleans 33, Washington 30
Cincinnati 23, Detroit 13
Miami 22, New England 21
San Diego 30, Cleveland 23
Seattle 20, San Francisco 17
Arizona 30, Minnesota 17