EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.– The Cowboys scored 20 points in the fourth quarter alone to pull away with an impressive and much-needed 30-10 win.
But all games have those plays that can get lost in the shuffle, but still played a huge part in the final outcome. Check out the five from this game that turned the tide.
Rod Smith Alertly Converts First Down –On the first drive of the game, the Cowboys appeared to be headed toward a punt but Dak Prescott's third-down pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage into the air. Running back Rod Smith had plenty of big plays during the day, but was able to locate the deflection in the air, catch the ball and get up the field for exactly the 8 yards needed on the play. Dan Bailey finished the lengthy drive with a field goal to get on the board first. Without that play, the Giants not only get the ball but likely have good field position.
Holding on Giants Leads to FG –After the Cowboys scored first to grab the lead, the Giants went on their own long drive and were looking to take the lead. Eli Manning missed an open tight end streaking down the field that likely would've been either a touchdown or a big gain inside the 10. Later in the drive, on first down from the Dallas 13-yard line, the Giants were flagged for a rare offensive holding call, something the Cowboys just haven't seen much in the last seven games. The 10-yard penalty pushed the Giants back to their 23, and conservative play-calling after that only resulted in a field goal, tying the score, 3-3.
Lee Sniffs Out Giants' Reverse –Sean Lee recorded a team-high 18 tackles in his return from a hamstring injury. But his only tackle for loss might have been one of the biggest plays of the game. Early in the fourth quarter, the Giants had a second-and-4 from the 26, and tried a reverse to Sterling Shepherd. But Lee was all over the play and stuffed the receiver for a 9-yard loss. The Giants didn't convert a third-and-13 and had to punt to the Cowboys, who only needed four plays to score and regain the lead.
Collins' Injured on Beasley's Long Catch –As pivotal as Cole Beasley's 54-yard reception was early in the fourth quarter, the injury that occurred to All-Pro safety Landon Collins was even more significant. Collins had to miss the next play, which was a 20-yard touchdown to Jason Witten, who split the seam and scored at the exact spot where Collins usually would be. Whether or not Collins being on the field would've changed anything, it was a perfect time for Witten to make his first and only catch of the day and give the Cowboys a seven-point lead.
Lewis Breaks Up Third-Down Pass –Trailing 17-10, the Giants were trying to march for the game-tying touchdown. On a key third-and-8 from the Cowboys' 46-yard line, Manning went to tight end Evan Engram, who was closely guarded by rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis. While the pass was behind both players, Lewis was able to turn around at the last second and look for the ball, which likely saved him from the pass interference call the Giants sideline was begging for. The no-call led to a punt back to the Cowboys, who scored the game-clinching touchdown three plays later on Rod Smith's 81-yard touchdown.