The Giants walk off the field as Dan Bailey, far left, and the Cowboys celebrate his game-winning field goal. Credit: Getty Images
The Giants had a chance to close the gap to just one game in the NFC East with a win over the rival Cowboys.
Instead, they came up short late for the second time this season.
The Giants rallied late for a game-tying touchdown by Louis Murphy, seeing extended playing time due to the absence of Hakeem Nicks, and two-point conversion run in by Andre Brown. That made it 21-21 with 4:53 left to play.
But the Cowboys moved methodically down the field to kick a game-winning 35-yard field goal with no time left on the clock.
The loss drops the Giants to 4-7, while the Cowboys are tied for first in the division at 6-5.
What we learned ...
1. Strip and score
The Giants played mistake-free football for so much of the game. But it was a huge fumble by Victor Cruz that might have cost them the game. Cruz did little wrong. He was fighting for extra yardage when Orlando Scandrick stripped the ball and it landed directly in the hands of Jeff Heath, who returned it 50 yards for the game's opening touchdown. It was the only turnover of the game, but it loomed large in the final score.
2. Bogged down
Cashing in trips to the red zone have been a consistent theme with the Giants, never more so than Sunday. The Giants kicked two field goals from inside the 10-yard line (a 21-yarder and a 23-yarder, both in the second quarter). The absence of Nicks hurts them with jump balls in the end zone, but he doesn't even have any scores this season regardless. Both times they drove the length of the field, only to bog down in the red zone.
3. Rolle over
The Cowboys really abused the Giants' secondary on the final drive of the game, matching up Dez Bryant all over the field, specifically with Antrel Rolle. Bryant, one of the top receivers in the game, was matched up one on one with Bryant in the slot twice and caught easy passes. Rolle, a safety and an older one at that, could not stay with the ultra-athletic Bryant. Though, to be fair, Terrell Thomas was also victimized on a 5-yard catch against Bryant. In total, Bryant had 28 yards receiving on the drive.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter@MetroNYSports.