Stat worth noting II: A week after committing an unsightly 16 penalties, the Giants were flagged ‘only’ six times against the Cowboys.
Turning point: The Giants appeared to be in big trouble when the Cowboys intercepted Eli Manning for the third time. However, Keith Davis’ pick in New York territory was negated by a pass interference call on Aaron Glenn, who had two earlier INTs of Manning. On the next play, Tiki Barber burst 27 yards to complete the momentum swing that propelled New York to a huge victory.
Play to remember: Kendrick Clancy turned in a beautiful play in forcing Drew Bledsoe to fumble, a free ball that was picked up by Antonio Pierce and returned 12 yards for a TD. Clancy was able to grab the arm of Bledsoe before he attempted to hand the ball off, forcing the veteran QB to put the ball on the turf.
Play to forget: On the play after Dallas cut the Giants lead to 17-10, Eli Manning dropped back and launched a perfect deep pass to Tim Carter. Carter, who had run right by the Dallas defender, dove inside the 15-yard line, but was unable to come up with the game-clinching catch. While it would have been an impressive catch, it was a ball that most certainly should have been caught.
By the numbers
1: The Giants’ lead in games in the NFC East with four contests to play.
2: New York’s positive turnover differential. They coughed it up twice on Manning INTs, but forced four Dallas turnovers.
4: Number of penalties by the Giants defense on Dallas’ opening possession. Needless to say, they got away with it.
33: Distance in yards of Jay Feely’s missed field goal, which banged off the right upright.
What they said
“Right now, we’re in first place. It’s December and with four games left, we control our own destiny and that’s all you can ask for in the month of December.” – Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce
“They didn’t just blow us out but we’ll take our hats off to the Giants because they won. It just didn’t go our way and we didn’t make the plays and they did.” – Dallas safety Roy Williams
What went right
The Giants defense answered the bell time after time. They sacked Drew Bledsoe four times, batted away nine of his passes, including two interceptions, and also forced and recovered two fumbles.
The real Brandon Jacobs returned. After some recent struggles, Jacobs took his first carry of the game, followed great blocks by Jim Finn and Chris Snee, and bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out to open the game’s scoring.
One week after committing 11 penalties, New York’s offensive line was only flagged once – a false start on Luke Petitgout late in the game.
New York held serve. Since this game was at Giants Stadium and Dallas had captured the previous meeting, the Giants really needed to win to basically avoid a two-game deficit, and they did.
What went wrong
The offense had multiple opportunities to put the game away and just couldn’t do it. Twice they got the ball in the final 4:14 and both times had to give it back to the Cowboys.
The receivers had another case of the dropsies. Twice, Tim Carter got his hands on passes, but couldn’t reel them in and Plaxico Burress added another.
While he only officially finished the game with seven tackles, Cowboys safety Roy Williams seemed to be around the ball all day, with the Giants having little hope of neutralizing him.
The confidence level of Jay Feely, who missed his fourth kick in two weeks, has to be at an all-time low. The rumors that New York’s kicker is not 100 percent physically are growing louder.