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(Sunday, December 11th)
Final Score: NY Giants 37, Dallas 34
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - The Giants benched their starting running back for a half and the Cowboys lost theirs to a broken ankle.
But in the end, first place in the NFC East came down to a kick.
Brandon Jacobs scored his second touchdown with 46 seconds left and New York blocked a field goal at the end of the game, escaping with a 37-34 win over Dallas on Sunday night and a piece of first in the division.
For Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey, it was a bit of cruel deja vu.
A week after he was iced by his own coach, Bailey kicked a 47-yard field goal through the uprights in the final seconds that would have tied the game.
But it didn't count. The Giants had called a timeout.
Lining up again, his second kick was deflected by Jason Pierre-Paul and fell short with one second remaining, ending the game and letting the Giants (7-6) pull even with Dallas atop the division.
"We have to process this game and somehow put it behind us," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who called a timeout last Sunday that negated what would have been a 49-yard game-winning field goal by Bailey against the Cardinals.
Bailey was short on his second try in Arizona and Dallas fell in overtime. Somehow, the team found itself in a similar position for a second straight loss.
"You can't let losses linger," said Garrett, "just like you can't let success and wins linger."
Eli Manning passed for 400 yards and two touchdowns in a thrill-a-minute game the Giants started without running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who was benched for the first two quarters for violating teams rules.
Things were worse for the Cowboys (7-6), who lost rookie sensation DeMarco Murray to a broken ankle in the first quarter. Tony Romo threw for 321 yards and four touchdowns, but Dallas blew a 34-22 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Giants took the lead on Manning's eight-yard touchdown pass to Jake Ballard and Jacobs' one-yard run on back-to-back possessions. They snapped a four-game losing streak, winning for the first time since November 6 over the Patriots.
"I'm just proud of the way we battled," said New York head coach Tom Coughlin. "There were some plays out there where you shake your head. But they had a few, too."
Both teams blew coverages in the second half. Manning spotted Mario Manningham wide-open for a 47-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter that gave the Giants a 22-20 lead.
But New York let Romo complete a 74-yard pass to Laurent Robinson on 3rd- and-10 in the fourth quarter, setting up Miles Austin's six-yard touchdown catch inside the right pylon.
Manning and Manningham connected for 15 yards to convert a 4th-and-3 chance, but Sean Lee intercepted him off a tipped pass three plays later. Just two snaps after that, the Giants left Dez Bryant wide-open on the right side for a 50-yard touchdown -- his only catch of the game -- for Dallas' 34-22 lead.
"A hard-fought game," said Garret. "We gave ourselves a chance to win."
But also a chance to lose.
Manning found Ballard for a TD at the goal line with 3:14 remaining and Dallas went three-and-out after Romo couldn't hit an open Austin on third down.
Manning had a ball snapped over his head -- and a perfect pass dropped by Manningham in the end zone -- but the Giants got a first down on a holding penalty and Jacobs, who rushed for 101 yards, barreled across the goal line.
A two-point conversion try was good, but the Giants ended up not needing it.
"It was a fun way to win," said Manning, "But I would like to have a lead for once."
Earlier, Pierre-Paul tripped up Romo for a safety and Lawrence Tynes kicked a 23-yard field goal on the ensuing possession to give the Giants a 5-0 lead in the first quarter.
Romo led the Cowboys on an 80-yard drive that ended in John Phillips' 12-yard touchdown catch for a 7-5 lead. The Cowboys QB rolled right on the play, then threw across the field to Phillips, who followed blockers into the end zone.
The TD came four plays after Murray was helped off the field after rolling his ankle on a low tackle. Felix Jones broke off a 26-yard run to set up the score and rushed for 106 yards in the game.
With Bradshaw on the bench, Jacobs put the Giants back on top with a one-yard run in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Dallas responded with Romo's nine-yard touchdown pass to Robinson, who leapt to catch the line-drive throw, and the teams exchanged field goals after that.
Tynes' 26-yarder came after a Jones fumble and Bailey kicked a 49-yarder to give the Cowboys a 17-15 lead at halftime. He also booted a 49-yarder in the third quarter.
The Cowboys said Murray had a fractured right ankle and high ankle sprain, potentially ending his season...The Giants and Cowboys will play again in Week 17, finishing the season in New Jersey...Robinson caught four passes for 137 yards...Hakeem Nicks had seven catches for 154 yards for the Giants.
12/12 01:05:05 ET
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