It was cold. It was a little slick after a light pregame snowfall. It was prime time. It was bitter division rivals. All in all, it was perfect for some old-school, smash-mouth football.
So perhaps, not surprisingly, what it wasn't perfect for was Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' passing attack as Dallas fell to the New York Giants, 10-7, snapping its 11-game winning streak. The rookie quarterback suffered the worst game of his young career, completing just 46 percent of his passes (17-of-37) for only 165 yards. And while he did throw one touchdown, he also had two interceptions – this after throwing only two picks total over his first 12 games.
Dallas did have some success on the ground, as Ezekiel Elliott ran for 107 yards on 24 carries. But overall, the Cowboys mustered only 260 yards of total offense against the Giants' stout defense and were a dismal 1-for-15 on third down opportunities.
On the other side of the ball, the Dallas defense played well enough to win, as the Cowboys held their opponent to less than 20 points for the eighth time this season. New York also had just 260 yards of total offense and weren't much better on third down either, converting only 2-of-14 tries. The Cowboys also generated three turnovers and posted three sacks.
All in all, it was a good effort for the defense. In the end, though, it wasn't enough.
Things seemed to be going the Cowboys way early on. While Dallas was only able to put seven points on the board in the first half, the offense totaled 174 yards of offense through the first two quarters, led by Elliott's 86 rushing yards on 15 carries, a 5.7 yards per carry average. In fact, the rookie running back was involved on seven of the 10 plays during the Cowboys' first scoring drive, rushing for 24 yards.
Scoring honors went to Terrance Williams on the series, who after a beautiful fake pitch by Prescott to the left, was wide open cutting across the field back to the right. It was an easy 31-yard completion for the quarterback and gave the Cowboys the early 7-0 lead.
Meanwhile, the Dallas defense pitched a shutout through the first 30 minutes, only the second time this season the unit has held an opponent scoreless through the first half. The group also blanked Cincinnati in Week 5.
[embeddedad0]The Cowboys were helped by a pair of fumble recoveries early on. Cedric Thornton first pounced when the ball slipped out of Eli Manning's hand and then Sean Lee fell on the prize after Benson Mayowa recorded a strip-sack of the Giants passer. While neither eventually resulted in Dallas points, the turnovers kept New York from gaining any momentum.
Still, with the Giants moving into Cowboys territory three times in the first half, there was concern about how long the Dallas defense could hold up against New York. The home team's turnaround started midway through the third quarter when the Giants used 11 plays but traveled just 35 yards before Robbie Gould kicked a 39-yard field goal to give his side three points.
But after Prescott was intercepted on an ill-advised deep attempt to Dez Bryant, New York needed just two plays to then take the lead. On second-and-10 at their own 39-yard line, the Giants saw Manning hit Odell Beckham Jr. on a slant route across the middle. The receiver then split the safeties and raced 61 yards for the score and a 10-7 New York advantage as the clock ticked over to the fourth quarter.
While the score remained close, as the game went on the Giants only continued to gain control. The Cowboys offense was unable to get anything going and although the Dallas defense was up for the fight, it too began to wear down.
New York followed up its scoring drive with another march deep into Cowboys territory, this time reaching the Dallas 22-yard line. But the Giants were thwarted once more as rookie cornerback Anthony Brown dove in front of another Manning offering to record the first interception of his career.
Again, however, the Cowboys could do nothing with the gift and they never threatened again, the Giants defense able to stifle any thoughts of another Dallas fourth-quarter comeback. Once Dez Bryant fumbled with just more than two minutes remaining, the game was essentially over. The Cowboys got one more crack at it with 1:06 left, but forced to start on their own 3-yard line, there would be no miracle on this night.
Despite the loss, their second of the season to the Giants, the Cowboys still hold a two-game lead in the NFC East with a NFL-best 11-2 record. They'll now return home for another prime-time matchup, hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next Sunday.
Look through some of our favorite photos from Cowboys vs. Giants game at MetLife Stadium.