EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Rod Smith didn't expect to see the ball come his way, or to see that much open field in front of him.
But quarterback Dak Prescott trusts the third-year running back's receiving skills – and Smith's 81-yard touchdown catch-and-run helped seal the Cowboys' 30-10 road win over the New York Giants on Sunday.
With the Cowboys leading 17-10 in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter, Smith ran an inside slant from the slot and beat his defender with a move to the inside.
"I got the defender outside of me. It really wasn't supposed to go to me," he said. "But I'd seen how open it was and the safety was double-teaming Dez (Bryant). Dak threw a perfect ball and caught me in stride."
Said Prescott: "We usually don't throw that inside slant, not many teams do. But when they give it to us like that, Rod did a great job and it was fun to watch him run."
Smith ran untouched for the score as Bryant and receiver Terrance Williams cleared the way for the final 20 yards.
A minute later, he was back in the end zone with a 15-yard touchdown run, pushing his total yards from scrimmage to a career- and game-high 160. The Cowboys (6-6) wrapped up their second straight victory to stay afloat in the NFC playoff race.
It was Smith's third career touchdown. All of them have come in the last three games during Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension.
Smith became the ninth Cowboys running back to notch a 100-yard receiving game, and the first since Lance Dunbar totaled 100 yards against Atlanta in 2015.
"We know Rod's talent," Prescott said. "That's why we've pushed him and given him the ball so many times like we have in the run game and in the pass game."
Smith finished with a team-best 5 catches for 113 yards and rushed 6 times for 47 yards. He and starting running back Alfred Morris (19 carries, 62 yards) combined for 160 yards on the ground, their highest combined total in the first five games of Elliott's six-game suspension.[embeddedad0]
Earlier in the fourth quarter, Smith also made a critical block in blitz protection that allowed Prescott to deliver a 54-yard pass to receiver Cole Beasley, setting up tight end Jason Witten's 20-yard touchdown that gave Dallas a 17-10 lead.
"I'm really out there just being me," Smith said. "I'm not trying to do too much, nothing too special. Just out there playing my game. If you give me an opportunity I'm definitely going to take full advantage of it."