EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Cowboys had all kinds of big plays on both sides of the ball and even another 50-plus yard field goal on special teams.
We had a defensive score by Jourdan Lewis and long touchdown catches by Amari Cooper, Blake Jarwin and Michael Gallup.
But all games have those plays that go unnoticed but still play a major factor in the outcome. Here are the five you can’t forget about:
Smith stuffs Barkley in the hole – The Giants had just picked off Dak Prescott on the first play of the game and had a first-and-goal at the 8-yard line. After a 4-yard run by Saquon Barkley on first down, Barkley got it again on second down and met Jaylon Smith one-on-one in the hole. Smith had a nice tackle in the middle of the field, keeping the powerful back to just 2 yards, setting up a third-down. The Giants didn’t convert and had to settle for a field goal, giving the Cowboys a big stop after the early gift.
Woods snags the pick – Just before the half, the Cowboys seemed content to go into the locker room down 12-10, but Daniel Jones threw up a deep ball that Xavier Woods made a play on, picking off the pass and then returning it 29 yards to the Giants’ 39. That led to a 52-yard field goal by Brett Maher, giving the Cowboys a one-point lead at the break after the team struggled to stay in the game for the first quarter and a half.
Chop block after NYG punt – At the start of the third quarter, the Cowboys allowed a big kickoff return to near midfield, giving the Giants great field position and the momentum. But the Cowboys’ defense stiffened again, forcing a punt. Not only did they get the ball back, but the Giants were then flagged for a chop block on the punt, putting the ball on the 26-yard line instead of the 11. That gave the Cowboys much better field position, and although they still punted, the Giants got it back on their 35 and eventually fumbled the ball away to the Cowboys.
Lee stops Barkley in open field – The Cowboys led 16-12 and had the Giants on a third down at the Dallas’ 10-yard line. New York was moving the ball and looking to take the lead when Jones was forced to dump the ball off to Barkley. But Sean Lee was all over it, stopping the Giants’ back for a 2-yard gain. That forced the Giants to kick yet another field goal, keeping the Cowboys in the lead at 16-15.
Cowboys get 2 PI calls – On two straight possessions, the Cowboys were able to be on the right side of some close pass interference plays. The first one was not called as Chido Awuzie deflected a pass on second-and-goal. The Giants opted to challenge the play, but the NFL once again showed its going to be very difficult to overturn a non-PI call, and so the Giants were forced to settle for another field goal, keeping Dallas ahead 23-18. On the next series, on third-and-6, the Cowboys got a pass interference call to again go their way as Cooper was held down the sideline. The penalty extended the drive and the Cowboys eventually scored on a 45-yard touchdown pass to Cooper.