Tight for much of the game, three touchdowns inside the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter lifted the Dallas Cowboys to a 30-10 win over the New York Giants. With the loss, the hapless Giants are now 2-11.
In their first game under interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo, the Giants showed life and enthusiasm despite a score line that would indicate a blowout. The Giants kept things close for much of the game as the two teams were knotted up at 10-10 for much of the second half. But eventually, the playmakers on the Cowboys eventually broke through.
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With the win, the Cowboys saw their slim playoff hopes improve as their record has improved to 7-6.
Admittedly, the Giants had some struggles moving the ball but they limited turnovers and mistakes, things that have been costly and plagued them much of this year. In Eli Manning’s return as the starting quarterback, the Giants were able to move the ball but struggled to sustain drives.
The four-time Pro Bowl quarterback was 31-of-46 for 228 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Tied 10-10 midway through the fourth quarter, Dak Prescott hung in the pocket well, finding Cole Beasley on a flat route. The Cowboys wide receiver cut and weaved for a 54-yard reception through the heart of the Giants secondary before being tackled at the 20-yard line. On the next play, Prescott hit tight end Jason Witten over the top for a touchdown and what would become a 17-10 lead for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys next possession was capped off by running back Rod Smith’s 81-yard catch and run, again through the heart of the Giants secondary.
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Good to be back
With Manning under center, the Giants certainly seemed to have a bit of confidence back, the veteran barking out audibles and systematically moving the Giants down the field in the first half.
Manning finished the game 31-of-46 for 228 yards with a second quarter touchdown pass and two interceptions late in the fourth quarter. All told it was a solid game for Manning, showing well one week after being benched. It is crystal clear that the Giants struggles on offense aren’t his fault. His two interceptions both came with the Giants trailing and desperately trying to move the ball. Hard to pin either interception on him given the circumstances.
Spags had them focused
In his first game as interim head coach of the Giants, Steve Spagnuolo not only had a good if somewhat plodding gameplan but had his team focused and ready to play. Unlike the past few weeks where the Giants seemed to lack a spark and in particular some focus, this young team fared well and hung with a team in the hunt for the playoffs. The defense was buzzing for three quarters, even with players dropping in and out of the game due to injuries and getting banged up. The offense stuck to their simple if somewhat boring plan to run the ball and sprinkle in some screens. Unlike his predecessor, Spagnuolo seemed to have a pulse on the sideline and showed it. The team lacked big plays and playmakers down the stretch, something Spagnuolo can’t control at this juncture.
Rookie looked good
In the most extended action of his young NFL career, running back Wayne Gallman looked good. Gallman with just 271 rushing yards this whole year on 66 carries, showing flashes of potential but never getting a real prolonged run of snaps. In an extended run on Sunday, Gallman was more than solid. He moved well and was patient waiting for holes to develop, cutting well. While he missed a big hole once or twice, he was overall reliable…Something that one of the worst rushing offenses in the league could surely get used to. Gallman led the Giants in rushing with 12 carries for 59 yards and showed some good elusiveness in the process.