X's and O's: Giants 33, Cowboys 31

Here is a look at how the Giants did, position by position, against the Cowboys.


Eli Manning completed seven-of-nine passes for 64 yards on the Giants' game-winning drive. Manning was fortunate that a terrible throw on a third-and-seven play wasn't intercepted by LILB Bradie James at Dallas' 10 early in the third quarter. James was standing in front of RB Brandon Jacobs, but Manning threw it anyway. Bottom Line: Manning played great late under intense pressure.


Ahmad Bradshaw cut inside to break a tackle around the line of scrimmage and gain 11 yards for a first down at Dallas' 23 early in the fourth quarter. They went ahead 30-24 on Lawrence Tynes' 36-yard FG four plays later. Brandon Jacobs' stiff-arm of RILB Keith Brooking near the line of scrimmage sprung Jacobs for a 31-yard run early in the third quarter. Bottom Line: They overcame a tough first half.


Steve Smith's fake to the outside forced RBC Orlando Scandrick to fall down, leaving Smith wide open for a 22-yard touchdown that helped give the Giants a 27-24 advantage, with 13:31 left in the game. While laying on his back in the end zone, Mario Manningham's concentration enabled him to catch a touchdown pass he initially bobbled. That 22-yard score allowed the Giants to move in front 20-14, with just 53 seconds to go before halftime. Bottom Line: Manningham and Smith both had great games.


Down 31-30 with about 3:30 to play in the game, LG Rich Seubert's holding penalty negated a 25-yard reception by TE Kevin Boss. The infraction backed the Giants into a first-and-20 situation from their own 15. But Eli Manning was not sacked and was hurried on only two plays. Bottom Line: DeMarcus Ware wasn't a factor in the outcome.


RDE Osi Umenyiora struggled against the run, most notably on a first-and-10 play from the Giants' 17 in the third quarter. Umenyiora was out of position and blocked entirely too easily by FB Deon Anderson, who sprung RB Marion Barber for a 15-yard run that led to a TD that put the Cowboys ahead 24-20 at the 3:32 mark of the third. C Andre Gurode sealed off DT Fred Cofield and RG Leonard Davis knocked back DT Fred Robbins to open a huge hole for Barber, who rushed for a 2-yard TD to help give the Cowboys a 7-3 lead with 4:15 to go in the first quarter. Bottom Line: They were bad against the run and barely pressured Romo.


WLB Michael Boley missed a tackle on RB Felix Jones that allowed Jones to rush for an extra 21 yards on a 24-yard run in the third quarter. MLB Antonio Pierce called a coverage change that enabled rookie CB Bruce Johnson to intercept Tony Romo's errant pass, which Johnson returned 34 yards for a TD that gave the Giants a 10-7 lead at the 2:56 mark of the first quarter. Bottom Line: They played well overall.


RCB Terrell Thomas, who played poorly against the run all night, fell for RB Marion Barber's inside fake just past the line of scrimmage and missed a critical tackle late in the fourth quarter. Barber's 35-yard gain helped set up Felix Jones' 7-yard TD run on the next play, which moved Dallas in front 31-30, with 3:40 left in the game. SS Kenny Phillips didn't give up on a strange play on second-and-10 from Dallas' 24 late in the first half. His interception off TE Jason Witten's foot should've resulted in a 28-yard TD return, but the Giants went ahead 20-14 three plays later anyway. Bottom Line: They picked off three passes and defended three more.


A rare poor punt by Jeff Feagles gave the Cowboys great field position (their own 43), with 1:56 to play in the third quarter. Feagles' placement was perfect, but K Lawrence Tynes pushed a 29-yard FG attempt wide left early in the third quarter. The Giants were ahead 20-17. WLB Bryan Kehl alertly scooped up a fumble that WR Sinorice Moss failed to recover late in the first quarter. Kehl also poked loose the ball from KR Felix Jones, before he recovered the fumble at Dallas' 27. Bottom Line: Tynes made up for his miss with the game-winning FG.


Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride was too conservative inside Dallas' red zone early in the second quarter. On third-and-goal from Dallas' 12, Gilbride's call for a short toss to WR Steve Smith accounted for just a 3-yard gain. The Giants settled for a 28-yard FG by K Lawrence Tynes and a 13-7 lead. Bottom Line: They ruined Jerry Jones' big night.

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