ARLINGTON, Texas – This game had all kinds of drama, with big plays occurring from start to finish. Most of those went the Giants way at the beginning as Dallas went down 23-0.
Then the rally began and the Cowboys were able to grab a 24-23 lead in what was definitely a tale of two games.
Like always, there were key plays that affected the final outcome of the Giants' 29-24 win. Here are five, which all occurred after the Cowboys rallied, that might have altered the final score.
1. Down by a foot – Danny McCray's interception off Eli Manning appeared to be a huge play for the Cowboys' defense after the offense grabbed a 24-23 lead. McCray was able to catch the ball off the rear end of Gerald Sensabaugh. McCray got up alertly and ran about 20 yards to the Giants' 45. But officials ruled McCray was down by the shoe of Victor Cruz, who was blasted by Sensabaugh. That was a change of field position that proved to be dramatic because the Cowboys were more conservative.
2. Romo sacked for 12-yard loss – On the first play following the McCray interception, Romo was dropped for a 12-yard loss by former defensive end Chris Canty. That put the Cowboys in a second-and-22 hole from which they couldn't recover and they eventually had to punt to the Giants, who drove for the go-ahead field goal. Before that sack, the Cowboys were in a groove in the passing game and looked in position to pad their 24-23 lead.
3. Slant to Nicks– Trailing 24-23, the Giants got it going on offense thanks to a perfect throw and catch by Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks. The 29-yard slant got the Giants off of their own 15-yard line and put them in position to be aggressive. Manning drove the offense down for Lawrence Tynes' 43-yard field goal.
4. Felix fumble– The Cowboys were moving the ball and needing just a field goal to take the lead before Felix Jones coughed up a fumble near midfield. Center Ryan Cook was pushed backward into Jones, who didn't have a secure handle on the ball and fumbled it away, recovered by Stevie Brown, who also had two interceptions. The Giants were able to capitalize and add a field goal, which proved to be costly as the Cowboys were twice in field-goal range at the end, but needed a touchdown to win.
5. Second-and-1 to Witten– We all remember third-and-1 to Kevin Ogletree when the pass interference was called and then taken away. We remember fourth-and-1 when Romo scrambled and threw an interception. But on second down, Romo barely missed Jason Witten in the flat. The ball trickled off Witten's hands out of bounds. That seemed like the easiest of plays to convert and would've likely given the Cowboys a great chance to score with still more than a minute to play. Witten had 18 catches but the one he barely missed proved to be costly.