In what might have been their ugliest win of the season, the New York Giants held on to beat the Dallas Cowboys, 10-7, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night. With the win, the Giants are now 9-4, ensured of their first winning record since 2012.
They also not only bounced back from last week’s disappointing loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers, they actually look like a playoff team in beating the NFC’s best team.
For much of the game, the Giants offense sputtered. Two Eli Manning fumbles were part of a first half where New York had seven possessions in which they punted five times and coughied up the ball twice. But in the third quarter, the home team finally got cooking and put some points on the scoreboard. In single-coverage on the outside, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. went over the middle and got a perfect ball from Manning, a pass that was delivered in stride. Beckham somehow split three Cowboys defenders and rolled 61 yards into the end zone, staking the Giants to a 10-7 lead, their first lead of the game.
The Cowboys, now 11-2, have lost both their meetings to the Giants this year. They have now lost three in a row to the Giants dating back to last season.
The Giants went down early, with Dak Prescott hitting a wide-open Terrance Williams for a 31-yard touchdown. Overall, both teams struggled to move the ball at times in a game that bogged down and at times was very sloppy.
With 5:50 left in the third quarter, Robbie Gould finally got the Giants on the scoreboard via a 39-yard field goal.
Despite getting the win, it was a sloppy performance from the Giants as Manning fumbled twice and had a fourth quarter interception.
Punter Brad Wing had five kicks inside the 20-yard line, none more crucial then his final punt that put the Cowboys on their own 3-yard line.
Three Things We Learned from the Giants in Week 14:
Ereck Flowers is wilting
He is not a left tackle, this much is clear from Ereck Flowers following yet another performance that was abysmal. His hand placement was terrible and he got beaten every which way, via the bull rush or off the edge with pure speed. The offensive line has been a weak link of not just the offense but the entre team this year and Flowers was the very worst part on Sunday night. Next year, the Giants must invest in a left tackle and move last year’s first round pick to the right side of the offensive line.
Secondary gets it done
Dak Prescott came into the game with two interceptions thrown, the rookie quarterback then going out and getting picked off twice on Sunday night. While things started rough for the unit, the Giants’ secondary only had that one miscue on the Cowboys’ first quarter touchdown. They adjusted well. They were called on to play man-to-man much of the night and they did well in their assignments and coverage.
There was also a big play on third down in the fourth quarter where Janoris Jenkins had a big tackle, wrapping up a Cowboys wide receiver just inches short of a first down, forcing a punt. Then late in the game, Jenkins forced Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant to fumble the ball which was recovered by safety Landon Collins, helping to ice the game for New York.
No doubt where Romeo was
Unlike Juliet in Shakespeare’s play who openly wondered “Wherefore art thou Romeo?,” there was no denying that Giants defensive end Romeo Okwara was on the field, making plays. Starting in place of the injured Jason Pierre-Paul, out for at least the regular season with a sports hernia, the undrafted rookie free agent out of Notre Dame played big.
He got his first NFL sack in the first half and was constantly in the backfield on a night where he registered five tackles.