In a hard fought defensive battle of NFC East foes, the New York Giants were able to get the better of the Dallas Cowboys for the second time this season. The Giants won this game 10-7 but it could have gone either way. This game is huge because if the Cowboys could have won, they would have clinched the NFC East and the number one seed in the NFC.

Both defenses played great, there were a total of six turnovers between the two teams. Eli Manning had all three turnovers for the Giants, but it could have been more if Barry Church would have been able to hold on to two interceptions.

Eli Manning loses the ball after being hit by Benson Mayowa (pic via Paul Moseley).
Eli Manning loses the ball after being hit by Benson Mayowa (pic via Paul Moseley).

The Dallas defense has played better than many expected this season. They rank second in the league in the least amount of rushing yards given up each game at 83.1. They also rank fifth in the league in least amount of points given up per game at 18.3.

Sean Lee has played great all year and this was by far his best game of the season, and probably career. He had an astonishing 18 tackles. He was constantly filling the rushing lanes and bottling up the Giants’ running backs all game. He is without a doubt a top linebacker in the league when healthy.

At the end of the first half, Dallas had a great chance to go up 10-0 but came up just a few inches short. Dallas was able to set up Dan Bailey for a 55 yard field goal, but before the game Bailey said that his long in this kind of weather was about 53 yards. He knew his range because the ball hit the front of the crossbar and missed.

This was one of Dez Bryant‘s worse games of his career. He caught only one of nine targets for 10 yards and a costly fumble on the Cowboys’ last possession of the game. Janoris Jenkins did a fantastic job of shutting down one of the top receivers in the NFL.

Dak Prescott faced another tough defense and he struggled. He completed 17 of 37 passes for 165 yards with a touchdown, but had two interceptions. One of them was not his fault because Bryant slipped when making a cut and the ball went right to Jenkins.

Terrance Williams catches a pass for a touchdown in the first quarter (pic via Rodger Mallison).
Terrance Williams catches a pass for a touchdown in the first quarter (pic via Rodger Mallison).

Prescott is starting to be doubted for struggling the past couple of weeks, and some people are saying Tony Romo should be the starter again. I do not think that is the best scenario. Yes, Prescott has struggled the past couple of weeks but that is going to happen when you go up against two great defenses. Another thing, he helped lead the Cowboys to 11 straight wins, that is unheard of for a rookie quarterback. He gives Dallas the best chance to win, because of the strong chemistry and leadership he has with the rest of the team.

Cole Beasley has not been Prescott’s favorite target the last couple of weeks. He had only 2 catches for 23 yards last week against Minnesota and this week he had 4 catches for 41 yards. He needs to get more involved in the offense if the Cowboys want to have a lot of success.

Other game notes:

  • Ezekiel Elliott more than doubled his rushing output from week one (51 yards) against the Giants rushing for 107 yards this week
  • Terrance Williams scored his second touchdown in the past three games
  • Sean Lee recorded the most tackles in a game all season by a single player with 18 total tackles against the Giants
  • The Cowboys’ sixth round pick, Anthony Brown recorded his first career interception this game
  • Lucky Whitehead was suspended this game due to violating team rules

This game was a humbling one for the team, especially the rookies. It taught them that wins do not come easy in the NFL and to win, you have to give it all you got and not take any team for granted. You can not expect to win every time you take the field and this loss could not have come at a better time for them to realize this.

The Dallas Cowboys will look to get back in the win column this Sunday as the red hot Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town on Sunday Night Football.