Easy To Forget, But Defense Won This

off the ground way more than the eight times he was sacked. Manning was hit from start to finish, which of course, was the plan.

"We wanted to get after him like that," said Ellis. "We figured they were going to pass a little more with (Brandon) Jacobs being out. Obviously, they're still a good team. But we thought we could get after Eli tonight and we did that. It always helps when you get a lot of pressure."

Lots of pressure leads to big plays from the secondary. Terence Newman, who had the assignment of shadowing Giants' receiver Domenik Hixon, picked off two passes and the Cowboys' made sure they didn't give up anything deep - the longest pass against them Sunday night was just 23 yards to tight end Kevin Boss, who did most of his running after the catch.

Pass rush was on. The secondary was sharp. The crowd definitely helped, knowing the importance of this game, the second-to-last here at Texas Stadium.

Add all of it up, and the Cowboys got exactly what they needed Sunday night - a victory.

No, the Giants didn't have Brandon Jacobs or Plaxico Burress. So what, right? That's the lesson we've learned about this season. You play with who you have. No one felt sorry for the Cowboys when Romo was out. So maybe, the Giants were short-handed. Life, it happens.

It's not like the Cowboys haven't had a few defensive injuries, too. But they're rolling now.

Maybe it's because Phillips is calling the defensive plays now. Maybe it's because Newman is healthy again and playing at a Pro Bowl level. Maybe it's because guys like Jay Ratliff and Bradie James are playing their way to Hawaii, too.

Or just maybe DeMarcus Ware is the best defensive player in the NFL and no one can block him.

Maybe it's all of the above. But the Cowboys won this football game Sunday because of the defense. And if they make the playoffs, it'll be because of the defense, too.

And there are no maybes about that.

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