Giants record: 6-6
This time last year: 8-4
Time of game: 3:05
Stat worth noting: As usual, penalties hurt the Giants. Big Blue was flagged an astounding nine times for 94 yards.
Stat worth noting II: Believe it or not, Eli Manning threw for two TDs and no INTs while Tony Romo was picked off twice and went without a scoring strike.
Turning point: The Giants had tied the game with 1:06 to play. It only took Dallas one play to turn things back in their favor. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten easily outran the shoddy coverage of Will Demps and Antonio Pierce for a 42-yard gain that moved the ball to New York’s 26 with 24 seconds to play.
Play to remember: The Giants offensive play-calling has been suspect at best of late, but John Hufnagel and Co. must get their props for this one. On a third-and-three from the New York 47-yard line and the Giants lined up in shotgun formation, center Shaun O’Hara snapped the ball directly to Tiki Barber, who took the ball around right end and gained 20 yards.
Play to forget: For all his talent, you can almost bank on a foolish play or penalty from Plaxico Burress each week. This Sunday’s version came early in the second quarter after a Tiki Barber run for no gain. Burress went out of his way to flatten Cowboys S Keith Davis well after the whistle with a cheap shot. The 15-yard penalty moved New York back into its own territory and thwarted their drive.
2 – Games the Giants trail Dallas with only four to play.
4 – Number of personal fouls committed by the undisciplined Giants. Bob Whitfield, Plaxico Burress and Jason Bell were nailed for unnecessary roughness and David Tyree was caught for an illegal crack back block.
8:33 – The time consumed on New York’s monumental 17-play, 75-yard march in the third quarter. However, they had to settle for a field goal.
“We did some things that gave us a chance to win the game and we didn’t finish it.” – Giants coach Tom Coughlin
“As long as we’ve got time on the clock, I feel like we have a chance.” – Cowboys QB Tony Romo
What went right
Dallas moved easily on its first possession of the game, but new kicker Martin Gramatica fared as well as his predecessor Mike Vanderjagt, missing his first FG try as a Cowboy, a 44-yarder.
Eli Manning was masterful on New York’s first drive, leading the troops on a much-needed 10-play, 66-yard drive. Manning completed both of his passes and even scrambled for another seven before connecting with Jeremy Shockey for a 17-yard TD pass to open the scoring.
Manning again rallied the Giants, leading them on a 63-yard drive in the game’s final minutes to knot it up. Manning hit Plaxico Burress for a five-yard TD with 1:06 to play.
The defense was clearly buoyed by the return of Sam Madison and Brandon Short, who combined for seven tackles.
New York was able to move the third-down sticks pretty well, converting six-of-12 opportunities as they rolled up 396 total yards.
Even though the Giants lost and their entire season is on the brink, they did look awful pretty in their red uniforms.
What went wrong
Mathias Kiwanuka picked off a Tony Romo pass in the first quarter but dropped the ball as he tried to switch hands after a 12-yard return. That led to Dallas’ first touchdown. Kiwi must have thought the ball was Vince Young.
DeMarcus Ware stopped Brandon Jacobs for a loss of three yards on a fourth-and-one before halftime. The decision by the 264-pound Jacobs to bounce outside was foolish at best.
Twice during the second half the Giants had to settle for field goals when they were in goal-to-go situations.
The Giants jumped offsides on two consecutive plays right before halftime, when Jeremy Shockey and then David Diehl were flagged five yards.
The Cowboys continually hurt New York with its kickoff return game. Miles Austin averaged 26.8 yards on four kickoff returns and Abram Elam’s one return netted 25 yards. It only seemed like Dallas started at its own 40 each possession.
Michael Strahan was unable to play and the return of Osi Umenyiora netted no fruit whatsoever, as he finished the game without a tackle.