Hidden Handful

Williams hauled in the offering for 27 yards to the Giants' 24.

    • Double Tackle By McCann - On the Giants' second offensive possession, with a first down at the Cowboys' 23, left cornerback Bryan McCann made a nice hustle play on Giants receiver Mario Manningham, who caught a quick bubble screen. McCann made the play to stop him, but couldn't get him wrapped up. Manningham kept trying to fight for extra yards and eventually went backwards, where McCann got up and stopped him for a five-yard loss. The Giants never recovered on that drive and settled for a field goal. But after last week's disaster in Green Bay, the Cowboys needed some early confidence and the way they stiffened up defensively to force only three points, proved to be a sign of things to come. * NYG False Start - The Cowboys led 9-3, but the Giants were knocking on the door with a second-and-goal from the 2. And that's why they've got Brandon Jacobs in the game, to get tough yards around the goal line. Jacobs got the ball and headed into the end zone as whistles were blowing. The Giants were flagged for a false start by offensive tackle Will Beatty. That pushed the ball back to the 7. New York was able to get back to the 2-yard line on an Ahmad Bradshaw run, but we all know what happened next as on third down, Eli Manning threw a pick to Bryan McCann, who raced 101 yards to the end zone for the longest interception return in Cowboys history. Instead of leading 10-9, the Giants were now trailing 16-3. * Third-Down To Roy - There aren't many plays in the playbook to convert a third-and-22, but the Cowboys tried anyway and Jon Kitna connected, delivering a perfect pass to Roy Williams down the left sideline. Williams hauled in the offering for 27 yards to the Giants' 24. On the next play, Kitna fired a touchdown strike to Miles Austin, giving the Cowboys a 20-point lead once again. * Intentional Grounding - While you knew the Cowboys could get some pressure on Eli Manning, you just didn't exactly expect it to come from Josh Brent and Jimmy Saddler-McQueen. But that duo forced Manning to not only hit an ineligible lineman with a pass, but it was intentional grounding. That led to a second-and-20 where the Giants eventually got it to fourth-and-1 at the Cowboys' 42. The defense, of course, stuffed Jacobs for no gain, giving the ball back to the offense with a 13-point lead with just over 10 minutes to play. * Holding Bowen - The Giants were in comeback-mode, trailing by 13 but on the move at the Cowboys' 48. That's when the new stadium erupted after Manning hit Hakeem Nicks down the sideline for an electrifying touchdown to cut the Cowboys' lead to six but that's when everyone noticed the flag back at midfield. Either that, or Stephen Bowen helping out the officials by making the holding-call sign to the Giants' bench, with a little dance included. Bowen was held by lineman Kevin Booth. The play not only wiped out a touchdown, but caused so much confusion for the Giants to get back to the huddle, they had to hurry to get the next play off. And as a result, the snap was too low for Manning to handle. The quarterback tried to pick it up, only to fumble with Anthony Spencer recovering the ball with 7:18 to play. Those are just a handful of key plays that made a difference. Obviously, there were other big plays in the game with long passes and touchdowns, but games like this always have a few that sometimes fall between the cracks. These were five plays that shouldn't go unnoticed.
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