ARLINGTON, Texas– This game had some milestones, some highlight plays and a few long-awaited debuts.
From Jason Witten's big night to the first game for Jaylon Smith, there was plenty of material stemming from the Cowboys' 19-3 win over the Giants here at AT&T Stadium.
But like all games, there were a handful of plays that often get lost in the mix, but still changed the outcome of the game. Let's take a closer look at five that affected this one.
- Jones' first punt inside 10 – Chris Jones pinned the Giants back all game long and it started with his first punt of the night. His 38-yard punt put former Cowboys specialist Dwayne Harris at his own 5, where he was buried for a 1-yard gain. That was a trend that didn't change as Jones pinned the Giants back four different times, keeping the Giants on their heels all game. The first one led to a Cowboys field goal, which proved to equal what New York would score all night.
- PI Call on Jenkins – Earlier in the first quarter, Dez Bryant wanted a pass interference call on Janoris Jenkins but didn't get it. Later in the second, Jenkins was flagged on a similar play when he pushed Bryant out of bounds. The call resulted in a 21-yard penalty to the Giants' 15. Two plays later, Dak Prescott found Witten over the middle for the only touchdown of the game. That penalty seemed to put the Cowboys in prime position to score.
- Tapper's First NFL Sack – What a way to make your first big play. Charles Tapper, who made his NFL debut Sunday night after missing all of last year with a back injury, sacked Eli Manning on second and goal inside the 5-yard line on the Giants' first possession of the second half. The Cowboys led 16-0 and New York was marching for points. But Tapper exploded through the line and dropped Manning for a 9-yard loss. It pushed the Giants back far enough where they couldn't convert third down, settling for a field goal and swinging the momentum back to Dallas again.
- Lee's Tackle For Loss – After a roughing the passer penalty on Maliek Collins extended the Giants' drive in the fourth quarter, Sean Lee stepped up with a big tackle for loss on the ensuing play. His two-yard loss put Manning and the Giants beyond the chains. Lee then had close coverage on a pass over the middle that fell incomplete. On third down, Manning missed Brandon Marshall in the left flat that seemed to have a big-gain written all over it. But the tackle for loss by Lee put the Cowboys' defense in a position to get off the field.
- Hair-Ball Extends Drive – Ok, so no highlight reel is going to exclude the highlight of Cole Beasley pining the ball against his golden-locks for a catch. But it wouldn't have mattered what point in the game the catch occurred for it to get plenty of buzz. The part not to forget here is what that catch did in terms of extending the drive. The Cowboys led 16-3 with 11:49 to play at their own 24. The catch by Beasley not only gave them a first down, but kept the ball in Dallas' possession. By the time the Cowboys had to punt, three more minutes were off the clock and the ball was inside New York territory. The Giants got the ball back at their own 10 with 8:26 left. Without the catch by Beasley, they probably have the ball around their own 30 with 11:40 to go in the game.