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Defense, Special Teams Leads Giants to Victory Over Cowboys

That’s more like it.

Sort of.

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but all that matters is the Giants picked up a much-needed win over the Cowboys on Sunday. In doing so, they also took back first place in the NFC East after the Eagles fell to the Panthers on Sunday Night Football.

Simply put, this was not an offensive clinic by the Giants. Or the Cowboys for that matter, but it certainly felt like the Giants had a harder time moving the ball on Sunday.

Looking at the stats, it’s pretty hard to believe the Cowboys didn’t win this game. They dominated time of possession, keeping the ball for 38:04 compared to the Giants’ 21:56.

The Cowboys had 27 first downs, while the Giants had just 13.

Dallas totaled 460 yards of offense, including 233 on the ground. The Giants managed just 289 total yards.

And yet, it was Big Blue who left with the W, and that was thanks to some opportunistic play by the defense.

Things looked bleak at halftime, as the Cowboys held a 13-10 lead. But things changed in a big way on the first drive of the second half. With the ball at midfield, Matt Cassel, making his first start with the Cowboys, went deep but was picked off my CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who took it to the house to give the Giants the lead.

Giants RB Orleans Darkwa scored a touchdown in Sunday's win over the Cowboys (Photo: Getty Images).

Giants RB Orleans Darkwa scored a touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Cowboys (Photo: Getty Images).

Cassel’s play continued to deteriorate on the very next possession, as he was once again picked off, this time by S Brandon Meriweather.

After the Giants added a field goal on the ensuing drive, Cassel, once again, was picked off in Giants territory. Again, it was DRC.

The Cowboys threatened late, tying the game on an incredible touchdown grab by Devin Street. But the tie wouldn’t last long as former Cowboy Dwayne Harris returned the kickoff 100 yards for a Giants touchdown.

The Cowboys again threatened, driving into Giants territory and needing a touchdown, but were halted on 4th and 8, and while the Giants would ultimately have to punt away again, Cole Beasley gave away the game by muffing a punt, recovered by Giants WR Myles White.


Let’s get to the standouts of this wild affair.

Offensive Game Ball: RB Orleans Darkwa

On a day where no one on the offense really stood out, I’ll go with the guy who surprised me most, and may have earned himself more snaps. Darkwa made the team as the Giants’ fourth running back, but it wasn’t until Sunday that he saw significant snaps. He made the most of his eight carrie, tallying 48 yards (6.0 YPC) and a touchdown. With Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams failing to consistently bring it, Darkwa should be in line for more looks moving forward.

Defensive Game Ball: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

I could have gone with Brandon Meriweather or Jon Beason, but DRC really set the tone for the Giants defense in this one. He will be under more pressure than usual with Prince Amukamara sidelined, and he brought it big time on Sunday. In addition to his two picks, he kept Cowboys WR Terrance Williams fairly in check, as Williams recorded just four catches.

The Goat: QB Eli Manning

Manning wasn’t terrible on Sunday, but he didn’t do much to help win this game. He went 13-for-24 for just 170 yards, no touchdowns and no picks. So while he didn’t turn the ball over, he didn’t do much to advance it, either. Maybe it’s because Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle might not be at 100%, but if it hadn’t been for the Giants’ defense making plays and Dwayne Harris’ kick return score, we might be having a different discussion today.

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