As the Cowboys entered their bye week, limping off of the New Orleans debacle, I wrote that the two weeks between that game and the Week 12 matchup with the Giants were the most pivotal period of Jason Garrett's tenure as head coach. Up to that point, the Cowboys players seemed to be 100% bought in to Garrett's philosophies and backed their head coach. However, after the beating they took at the hands of Sean Payton's Saints team, it seemed as though some doubt was beginning to creep into the locker room.
Then as the bye wrapped up and the Giants won their fourth game in a row, New York decided to start opening their mouths, speaking of spilt blood, guaranteed wins, and bullying certain Cowboys receivers to take them out of the game. Through all of this, Garrett spoke both in the media, and I'm sure in the locker room, about spending your time preparing rather than talking. I'm sure he reminded the team to be constantly respectful of the opponent while focusing on the task at hand, he reminded them of being great everyday rather than being caught up in trying to hype the team up for a game that was obviously very important to both teams.
When the Giants changed their pre-game schedule to ensure a meeting of the teams at the 50-yard line, and continued to chatter, you could feel the moment building, this game would decide the direction this Cowboys team would take the rest of the year. When the Giants were able to come back and tie the game, anxiety levels for Cowboys fans everywhere reached an all-time in-game high. If the Cowboys had taken Garrett's approach to the game, and been defeated by the team that was chirping all week, Garrett could have started to lose this team and his message would begin to fall flat.
Instead, they were able to stay the course, complete their two-minute drive, and escape the frigid New Jersey conditions with a 24-21 win, a 6-5 record (4-0 in the NFC East) and a lead in the division thanks to a tie breaker advantage over the Philadelphia Eagles. Garrett's message now rings even truer to his players - if they focus on the right things every day they can accomplish their goals. Now sitting with their fate completely in their own hands, they can make the short week turn-around in preparation for the Oakland Raiders and look to go to 7-5 and take true command of the division going into the last quarter of the season.
More from Blogging The Boys:
- Cowboys 24 - Giants 21: Giants Talk The Talk, Dallas Walks The Walk
- Cowboys @ Giants: Early Twitter Reactions To Cowboys Win
- The Arrow Points Up For Dallas: Cowboys 24 - Giants 21
- Cowboys 24 - Giants 21: Alive & Kicking In The Playoff Hunt
- Cowboys 24 Giants 21 Final Score: Dallas Buries Giants And Return To Win Column