1. Penalty On Punt
With the Giants leading 7-0 midway through the first quarter, the Cowboys forced a punt and were about to get great field position on the New York 42. But an offsides penalty on Jason Hatcher, who lined up in the neutral zone for whatever reason, didn't give the Giants a first down, but five more yards and a re-kick. This time, Jeff Feagles punted to the Cowboys' 42, an 18-yard difference in a game where offensive yards were hard to come by. The Cowboys were able to get a big pass on that drive to Roy Williams, but Brad Johnson later threw an interception that was returned 57 yards to set up the Giants' second touchdown.
2. Manning Stripped By Air
Trailing 14-0 early in the second quarter, the Cowboys finally got a break when Eli Manning simply lost the ball while trying to pass on third-and-13. DeMarcus Ware recovered at the Giants' 16. While the Cowboys lost the ball two plays later on Terrell Owens' fumble, they were able to get an interception moments later by rookie Mike Jenkins, who returned it for a touchdown. The Manning fumble changed the field position and gave the Cowboys' some life.
3. Barber's Short Gain
It was only a one-yard loss, but had an effect on the ensuing play. With the Giants leading 14-7 late in the first half, the Cowboys were trying to get into field goal range or maybe score a tying touchdown. After a 21-yard run by Barber to the Cowboys'41 with less than three minutes left before halftime, Barber was stopped for a one-yard loss on first down. Immediately, that puts the onus back on Brad Johnson and his arm. On second-and-11, he was picked off trying to throw a sideline route to Jason Witten. The interception gave the Giants the ball near midfield and allowed them enough time to score a touchdown which gave New York a 21-7 halftime lead.
4. Giants Recover A Scare
The Giants were poised to go into the locker room leading 21-7 but they escaped disaster in the final minute when running back Derrick Ward fumbled the ball on a simple running play. While two Cowboys had a chance to recover, Giants lineman Kareem McKenize fell on the ball at the 22. New York ran one more play of the half. But had the Cowboys pounced on the ball, they would've had about 40 seconds and two timeouts to possibly cut into the two-touchdown lead.
5. Tuck's Penalty
There aren't many plays in the second half that changed the course of the game, but the score would've been worse had it not been for a roughing-the-quarterback penalty on Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, who drove Brooks Bollinger into the ground after an incomplete pass during a third-quarter drive. The play occurred on third-and-six and Bollinger's pass was incomplete. But the drive stayed alive because of the penalty. The Cowboys went on to score a touchdown on a 16-play drive that went into the early fourth quarter.