It was as if he was playing toss with his dad in his New Orleans backyard, or a pickup game with his brothers in the Grove at Ole Miss. Eli Manning was right at home Sunday, in a stadium he is now 3-0 lifetime.
The Giants quarterback moved effortlessly in the pocket and wasn't sacked once, which allowed him the pinpoint accuracy needed to throw for 400 yards and two touchdowns. Manning was 27-of-47 passing on the night, throwing a fourth quarter interception which appeared to shift the game in the Cowboys' favor for good, but then went on to direct the two scoring drives that overcame a 12-point deficit in the final minutes.
Listing backward away from trouble, or stepping up into the pocket, Manning was hit only twice on the night by Cowboys defenders.
"He was retreating, retreatring and throwing the ball," said linebacker Victor Butler, who filled in more than usual for DeMarcus Ware, as the Cowboys starter struggled through neck pain. "They made a lot of great plays. You can't take anything away from their offense, and we've just got to execute as a defense. A lot of costly penalties, I had one myself that kind of hurt us. In the end, we've just got to execute."
New York wide receiver Hakeem Nicks finished with seven catches for 154 yards, while Victor Cruz added 83 yards on seven grabs. Manning hit receiver Mario Manningham for his first touchdown, and tight end Jake Ballard for his second.
Manning's 400 yards was the most any quarterback has thrown for against the Cowboys this year.
The two scoring drives he directed to win the game in the fourth quarter were of 80 and 58 yards.
"We're not communicating as well as we should on defense, and it's hurting us a little bit," cornerback Terence Newman said. "When you're scrambling from the get-go, before the play even starts, to me, that doesn't help us out a whole lot. It's nothing the coaches do, it's just us to each other . . . We didn't do our part on defense, especially on the back end. Give credit to Eli and the guys he's throwing the ball to.
"For us being in the situation we were in with five minutes to go, it was definitely a letdown," cornerback Terence Newman said. "They scored a touchdown, got the ball back and scored another touchdown. In my head all we needed to do was get a stop and this game was ours. We didn't get the stop."