Division games are rarely easy in the NFL, especially in the NFC East. The Dallas Cowboys entered a cold and blustery MetLife stadium with their season on the line. Their opponents, the New York Giants were also playing for something – pride. After seeing two time Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning benched while on the road last week, Giants fans were eager to show their admiration for #10. The pregame atmosphere was electric, one would never guess the home team was 2-10. For three quarters these two teams battled like the hated rivals they are, but eventually, the cream always rises to the top.
The Cowboys continued their mantra of winning the coin toss and electing to receive. The opening drive was a lengthy one for Dak Prescott and company. It stretched out over 16 plays covering 73 yards and eating 7:46 off of the game clock. However, Dallas stalled inside the five-yard line and were forced to settle for a Dan Bailey field goal. Midway through the first quarter, Dallas lead 3-0.
Eli Manning would make his triumphant return to the New York offense by leading an impressive drive of his own. The drive would cover 63 yards over 17 plays while taking 9:24 off of the clock. Similiar to the Dallas drive, New York would be unable to find the end zone, settling for a field goal and 3-3 tie.
Prescott would find some initial success on the Cowboys next drive. He picked up a first down with his legs, and also found tight end James Hanna for a long completion. However, the drive would stall after back to back drops by Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley. Bailey would come on to try a 53-yard field goal that faded just enough to bang off of the right upright – no good.
After trading punts, the Giants offense would take the field at their own 32-yard line. A 35-yard completion from Manning to Evan Engram would ignite the drive. Manning would eventually find tight end Rhett Ellison for the one-yard touchdown. The score would give the Giants a 10-3 lead.
Dallas took over just before the two-minute warning looking for points before the half. Looking to make up for dropping a possible touchdown earlier in the game, Dez Bryant showed up in a big way on this drive. Prescott found Bryant for an 11-yard completion followed by a 50 yard touchdown catch and run. The teams would head to the half tied at 10.
The third quarter was a punting exhibition as neither squad could sustain any type of offensive success. The Cowboys wounds were self-inflicted as Bailey missed another field goal, and Jason Witten committed a holding penalty that negated a long Alfred Morris run.
However as mentioned before, the cream always rises to the top. The fourth quarter saw the Dallas Cowboys superior talent take over. Facing a 3rd and 2, Prescott was able to connect with Beasley who put a move on his defender in route to a 53 yard gain. Prescott found Jason Witten for the touchdown on the very next play, and the Cowboys retook the lead 17-10.
Manning and the Giants offense continued to be stymied by the Cowboys defense, a quick punt gave the ball back to Prescott. Again facing a 3rd and 2, Prescott came through. This time he found Rod Smith on a slant route for an 81-yard touchdown. Bailey would continue his rough day as he missed the extra point, keeping the score at 23-10, Dallas.
The Cowboys defense would put the cherry on top so to speak with interceptions from Sean Lee and Jeff Heath. Rod Smith would cap the scoring with another touchdown, bringing the final score to Dallas 30 New York 10.
The Cowboys were able to withstand the initial wave of emotion from the Giants Sunday afternoon before Prescott and the offense finally hit their stride late. The victory moves Dallas to 7-6 on the year and 4-1 in the division. Despite not getting much help to their playoff hopes from other teams around the league, it is nice to see these Cowboys playing quality football down the stretch. The goal continues to be to win out, get to 10 wins, and let the chips fall where they may.
Dallas will take the field next Sunday night in Oakland on Sunday Night Football. It will be their last game without Ezekiel Elliott. Keep stacking Ws and who knows what will happen.
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