EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants predicted there would be blood, and Jason Hatcher saw to it they were correct.
Still in uniform, his head masked to keep out the cold, Hatcher met the media in a frenzy following Sunday's 24-21 win against New York. If the emotional nature of his play didn't paint a clear enough picture, his face – smeared with eye black and what appeared to be blood – did.
"I just finished eating a Giant. They said blood would be shed, right? It's Giant's blood, from the Giants," Hatcher said. "I don't know which one it is, but I ate him – it was all of them."
Hatcher's theatrics, emphasized by a blood smear under each eye, undoubtedly stemmed from Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who told reporters last week New York would "put it on" the Cowboys. In addition, he made comments about spilling blood on the field at MetLife Stadium. Pierre-Paul was just one of a handful of Giants to make incendiary comments.
"We just got disrespected. We didn't talk all week – we let them do the talking," Hatcher said. "Revenge is a dish best served cold, and it was cold out there tonight. The way we did it – we was cold. We came up here and took it."
That wasn't without some struggle. The game displayed all the intangibles typically associated with division rivalries, punctuated by a last-second finish. The two teams jawed at each other extensively during pregame warmups, and the evening was highlighted by several big hits and late flags – namely by the Giants.
"We don't pay attention to that. We had a way we was going to play, we knew we couldn't get caught up in the emotion of the game and get penalties – let them do it," he said. "They got crazy after the ball, hitting people out of bounds – we don't do that. We've got class, and we showed it tonight. We came and took it."
Revenge might be best served cold, but Hatcher ran hot – not just in his interviews, but his play -- in his first action since suffering a stinger in the Nov. 3 win against Minnesota. Hatcher tallied three tackles on the night and added two sacks of Giants quarterback Eli Manning, each one accompanied by a vibrant celebration dance.
The performance gave him nine sacks on the season. [embedded_ad]
"I just finished feasting on Giants," he said said. "You don't get it? You don't see the blood?"
It was just the boost of leadership the Cowboys needed after their last time out against New Orleans. The Saints racked up 625 yards of offense on Nov. 10 while Hatcher watched from the sidelines.
Things weren't perfect with the veteran back in the lineup -- the Giants racked up 202 rushing yards. But in limiting Manning to just 174 passing yards, Hatcher said it was enough improvement for a result.
"You've just got to remember to forget fast in this league. We got embarrassed by the Saints," he said. "We forgot about it, we moved on through the bye, we made some adjustments -- we didn't play our best tonight, but we did enough to win."
After three weeks of waiting to play again, Hatcher did enough to re-insert himself into the league's consciousness. His sack tally has him among the league leaders – and not just defensive tackles. With just five games remaining in a contract season, that fact didn't seem lost on him.
"Pro Bowl, 2014 – holler at your boy," he said.