EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Cowboys didn't look like a team that had won 11 straight games Sunday night. Penalties and miscues hurt them all evening and they couldn't overcome the setbacks in this 10-7 defeat to the Giants.
But like all games, there were a handful of plays that could go unnoticed, but yet changed the outcome of the game.
Let's take a closer look at five that affected this game.
Holding wipes out punt return – Several penalties on special teams hurt the Cowboys all night but none more than Byron Jones' holding call late in the second quarter. The Cowboys led 7-0 and had a chance to open the game up after Cole Beasley returned a punt 28 yards to the Giants' 29. But Jones was flagged for holding while the punt was in the air. The difference in field position proved to be 38 yards and the Cowboys had to punt the ball back to New York after it appeared they would begin a drive already in field goal range.
Sack knocks Cowboys out of FG range – With a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, the Cowboys were on the move again and had third down at the Giants' 32. But Prescott was not only sacked for a loss, but fumbled the ball back to the 40. While it appeared Doug Free alertly recovered it and rumbled for eight yards back to the line of scrimmage. Replay officials reversed the call and ruled Free down by contact. Still, taking an eight-yard loss forced a punt and nullified a chance to kick a field goal.
Church dropped gift pick – Barry Church nearly picked off a pass in the first half but it was knocked away by Odell Beckham at the last minute. But the second one – was nothing but a drop from Church, who could've likely changed the entire game if he hauls in a horrible throw from Eli Manning. Instead, Church couldn't come up with the ball after he hit the ground and the Giants were able to maintain possession in the third quarter. A pick there and the Cowboys at least go up 10-0 and perhaps two touchdowns.
ODB recovers his own fumble – While the Cowboys were able to come away with three turnovers, one they didn't get was costly. Beckham opted not to field a punt at the last second and the ball bounced right into his leg and was on the field with three Cowboys around him. But Beckham was able to get down first and corral the fumble instead, keeping the Giants with possession. Moments later, the Giants drove down for a field goal to get on the scoreboard.
Holding on Williams stalls drive – Late in the third quarter, the Cowboys led 7-3 but were on the move after a seven-yard pass to Cole Beasley that set up a third-and-1 at the Giants' 37, where it was definitely four-down territory. But a holding call on Terrance Williams pushed the ball back to the Cowboys' 49. From there, Dak Prescott was sacked and then threw a deep interception. The Giants took that possession and grabbed the lead on a touchdown to Beckham. Without the penalty on Williams, it's likely going to be at least 10-3 Cowboys if not more.