Big ‘D’ doesn’t stand for Dallas. It stands for the dominant Giants defense that terrorized Dak Prescott and the Cowboys on Sunday night and quite possibly saved Big Blue’s season.
Even without Jason Pierre-Paul, Steve Spagnuolo’s crew stood up to Dallas’ superb offense with swagger and confidence to offset the ineptitude of Eli Manning’s offense in a 10-7 victory that swept the season series over their formidable NFC East rivals.
All the Giants’ offense needed was one play, and they got it late in the third quarter: Odell Beckham Jr. broke a short slant from Manning an electric 61 yards to the end zone, sending the fans at MetLife Stadium into bedlam and giving the hosts the three-point lead they would never relinquish.
Prescott, the sterling Cowboys’ rookie quarterback who entered the game with 19 touchdowns and two interceptions all season, was picked off twice by Giants DBs Janoris Jenkins and Leon Hall. Hall’s interception also came on a pass targeting Jenkins’ man.
Jenkins was the player of the game. He blanketed Dez Bryant to no catches on seven targets until Bryant finally caught a 10-yard pass late in the fourth quarter, and then forced Bryant to fumble that completion for a Landon Collins recovery. Then Jenkins knocked down a pass intended for Bryant on 4th-and-10 to seal the win.
Odell Beckham sprinted to a 61-yard touchdown to put the Giants ahead in the third quarter.
(Al Bello/Getty Images)
Jenkins, a free-agent signing from St. Louis, completed a dominant season in the head-to-head series against Bryant. Dallas’ No. 1 receiver also managed just one grab in Big Blue’s Week 1 win down in Dallas.
Defensive Romeo Okwara, 21, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Notre Dame, had a monster game replacing injured Jason Pierre-Paul, as did linebacker Devon Kennard, who was turned loose against Dallas’ short-game attack.
The Giants (9-4) won for the seventh time in eight games and bounced back from the previous week’s 24-14 loss in Pittsburgh. They also prevented the Cowboys (11-2), who already had clinched a playoff berth, from sealing the NFC East title on their turf. The win snapped Dallas’ club record 11-game winning streak that began in Week 2 after Big Blue had defeated the ‘Boys in Week 1 on the road.
Former Giants captain Justin Tuck had called for leadership from key Giants in the Daily News on Thursday and he saw it from the defensive side of the ball in spades.
Janoris Jenkins was all over Dez Bryant on Sunday night.
The offense shot itself in the foot all day: Manning had four turnovers, two interceptions and two fumbles. Beckham had two drops and a muffed punt that the Giants recovered. Victor Cruz had a drop and a Manning interception that the receiver could have provided more help to prevent.
But the Giants found a way, which was critical in a wild Week 14 that saw all the other NFC wild-card contenders win. Washington (7-5-1) won in the East, Atlanta (8-5) and Tampa Bay (8-5) won in the South, and Detroit (9-4) and Minnesota (7-6) and Green Bay (7-6) all triumphed in the North.
Atlanta and Detroit lead their respective divisions, but the Falcons could become a wild-card contender if the red-hot Buccaneers jump them. Even as the Lions’ separate in the North, that still leaves the Giants competing also with both the Packers and Vikings, as well.
The Giants host the Lions next Sunday. They then go to hostile Philadelphia the Thursday night before Christmas before visiting Washington on New Year’s Day in a potentially critical division clash.
Dak Prescott added a fumble to his touchdown and two interceptions.
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)
Ben McAdoo’s offense was despicable in Sunday’s first half, gaining 84 total yards while Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott gained 86 on the ground himself for the Cowboys. The Cowboys led 7-0 at half on a 31-yard Prescott touchdown pass to a wide-open Terrance Williams in the first quarter on broken coverage, seemingly victimizing safety Andrew Adams and corner Eli Apple.
Williams redeemed himself for not getting out of bounds on the Cowboys’ final drive in Week 1, allowing the clock to run out and the Giants to escape Dallas with their season-opening 20-19 win down in Texas.
Dallas would not lose again — until Sunday night, of course, when McAdoo’s Giants sent a message to their doubters that just maybe, they are in fact for real.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News