Giants end Cowboys' 11-game win streak to keep division hopes alive
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With a no-huddle offense and no-fooling-around defense, the New York Giants snapped the Cowboys' 11-game winning streak with a 10-7 victory Sunday night, preventing Dallas from clinching the NFC East.
Dallas (11-2) hadn't lost since the season opener against the Giants (9-4), who solidified their position in the NFC playoff chase as the top-wild card team. New York still hopes to catch Dallas in the division, and it can thank a stingy, aggressive defense for still having that opportunity.
Missing star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants couldn't stop rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott from rushing for 107 yards. But New York's pressure stymied the other Cowboys rookie standout, quarterback Dak Prescott, blanked receiver Dez Bryant until 2:13 remained -- he fumbled away the ball on that play -- and held Dallas to one conversion in 15 third-down attempts.
"Talk about us winning, the defense, holding the game down against clearly one of the best teams in the league," said Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., whose 61-yard touchdown reception provided the winning points. "They got two young guys over there doing their thing and one of the best receivers in the league, and the (defense) found a way to hold them to seven points. That's really the story."
The Giants had three sacks, continually made Prescott uncomfortable, and he threw two picks.
"It's a bad feeling but it gets you resettled, gets you back right," said Prescott, who has made Tony Romo's return from injury basically a non-headline so far. "After we lost to these guys the first time, we went on that run. Maybe we can do something similar."
New York's offense was unsightly much of the night, blanked at halftime with only 84 net yards. Then it switched to the no-huddle and put together a short drive to Robbie Gould's 39-yard field goal, making it 7-3.
But Beckham, stepped up, as he often does, and sped through the Cowboys on a 61-yard touchdown play. Beckham caught Eli Manning's pass at the Giants 48 and raced all the way to the end zone for the lead the defense preserved.
"I just caught a slant and tried to hit a gear," he said, "and I looked back -- actually I didn't have to look back, I could feel somebody running, and (cornerback Brandon) Carr was running as fast as I ever felt somebody chasing me. I had to hit another gear. My hamstrings got a little tight. It was a real race."
Beckham won, and it was just enough.
"This is huge man," linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. "The so-called best team in the league and they got two losses, both to us."
Manning was 17 for 28 for 193 yards, one TD, one interception and two fumbles. His main adversary was linebacker Sean Lee, who had 18 tackles.
There wasn't much offense in the opening 30 minutes -- Prescott threw for 101 yards and Manning had only 80. That was no issue for Dallas, which simply let Elliott control matters with 15 rushes for 86 yards; 2 more yards than the Giants had in total offense. The one big play was Prescott's 31-yard TD pass to Terrance Williams as the Giants completely bit on a play-action fake.
New York was plagued by sloppiness and poor blocking in the second straight game in didn't score in the opening half. Dallas got to Manning three times in that half, forcing fumbles on two of those sacks. Lee seemed to be in on every tackle for the Cowboys, forced one fumble and recovered another.
Dallas came close to extending its 7-0 lead on the final play of the first half, but Dan Bailey's 55-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar.
Prescott had thrown for a touchdown and not been intercepted in five straight games, a rookie record. He got a TD early Sunday when he connected with the wide-open Williams for a 31-yard score, but the string ended when Bryant slipped as Prescott threw and Janoris Jenkins picked off the second-quarter pass.
Prescott finished 17 for 37 for 165 yards.
Manning passed Hall of Famer Warren Moon for seventh place in career passing yards and has 47,477 since joining the team in 2004. Older brother Peyton is the leader with 71,940 yards.
New York lost RB Shane Vereen (concussion) in his first game back after being idle for nine games with a triceps injury. DT Johnathan Hankins left with a neck burner in the second half.
Cowboys: Host Buccaneers on Dec. 18
Giants: Host Lions on Dec. 18