Giants Put Destiny In Own Hands, 37-34

The lead changed eight times, but in the end the Giants held onto the last one and moved into first place in the NFC East with a 37-34 win over the Cowboys. Here's the good and bad of the game.

It's all in their hands now.

Given the incredible 37-34 win in Dallas that not only snapped a four-game losing streak, but propelled them into first place ahead of Dallas, the 7-6 Giants now have their playoff destiny in their own hands.

Not only that, but they won't need any help from anyone else as long as they stay ahead of Dallas, which likewise fell to 7-6 but trails because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. As long as the Giants keep winning, they can enter the playoffs as NFC East champs, which may be their only shot considering wildcard hopefuls Atlanta and Detroit both won Sunday.

It was a wild game, with eight lead changes and the Giants' own Captain Comeback, Eli Manning, engineering two touchdown drives in the final 3:14 to dissolve a 12-point Dallas lead with just over five minutes remaining. Included in the carnage was a two-point conversion on the final drive, giving the Giants a three-point lead and setting up Tom Coughlin's smart free of kicker Dan Bailey on his first, made, 47-yard field goal attempt with six seconds left.

Then, every one of the 95,000-plus at Cowboys Stadium was treated to one last helping of Jason Pierre-Paul, whose monster game included a safety and two sacks on Tony Romo, as he got his fingertips on Bailey's second attempt to knock it well short.

The Giants played the first half without Ahmad Bradshaw, but it didn't matter as Brandon Jacobs put together a 101-yard, two-touchdown game after struggling all season.

Here's the good and bad of the Giants' wildest game this season.


JASON PIERRE-PAUL: The big defensive end came in on Tony Romo on the second possession, knocked him off balance, and caused the quarterback to fall into the end zone for a safety and a 2-0 lead. Later in the half, he popped the ball out of Felix Jones' hands for a fumble that produced a field goal and a 15-14 lead. Then, with six seconds to go after Tom Coughlin iced kicker Dan Bailey on his 47-yard make of what would have been a game-tying field goal, he came in and blocked Bailey's second attempt to seal the victory. He finished with two sacks and a forced fumble, along with a team-high eight tackles.

ELI MANNING: Sixth fourth-quarter comeback, this time from 12 points down with just over five minutes remaining. Just amazing. He kept his cool as Mario Manningham dropped an easy end zone throw, and then hit Jake Ballard for 18 to the Dallas 1 on his final drive. Jacobs powered it over for the winning points, and DJ Ware made it a three-point game. Manning made a bushel of good throws, but his best was when he recognized the blown coverage on Mario Manningham on an all-out blitz in the third quarter. Manning floated one into his arms for a 47-yard, go-ahead touchdown. He finished 27-of-47 for 400 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception that came off a batted pass.

Hakeem Nicks: Following the trend of last week's game against the Packers, Manning threw it deep right off and found Nicks for a 64-yard completion that ultimately resulted in a field goal. It was the Giants' 38th completion over 23 yards this year, an NFL high. Seven catches for 154 yards wasn't a bad outing.

BRANDON JACOBS: He ran hard and scored a touchdown as Ahmad Bradshaw sat out the first half for breaking curfew. His 19 carries for a season-high 101 yards and two touchdowns was a pleasant change from the slow, plodding Jacobs of most of the season.


RUN DEFENSE: The Giants allowed 109 rushing yards in the first half alone, which was a big reason behind Dallas taking the fifth lead change at 17-15 at halftime. They managed to knock out DeMarco Murray, but Felix Jones came up with 81 of his 106 yards, 28 of which led to the Cowboys' first touchdown.

Prince Amukamara: The first-round cornerback lost Laurent Robinson as Tony Romo dodged pressure and allowed a 74-yard completion that led to Romo's 6-yard throw to Miles Austin and a 27-22 lead in the fourth quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER PASS DEFENSE: For a second straight week, there was miscommunication in the secondary late in the game. This time it resulted in Corey Webster and Antrel Rolle blowing coverage on Dez Bryant's 50-yard touchdown pass that extended the Cowboys' lead to 34-22 with 5:24 left. Then they darned near loused it up after Manning brought them back into the lead, allowing Tony Romo to find Miles Austin for two big passes to move into field goal range. Luckily, Pierre-Paul plays for the Giants and got a hand on the potential tying field goal.

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