Let's face it. The Dallas Cowboys should never have been in this game after they let the New York Giants score on their first three drives of the game. But they never gave up, and with DeMarco Murray getting another 100 yard game, Dez Bryant throwing up the X a couple of times, and some great catches by Cole Beasley, Dallas improved to 8-3 with a 31-28 win. They are still perfect on the road this season, and this may have been as big a win as any this year.
It was largely a defensive failure for much of the game as the Cowboys repeatedly could not get off the field. The secondary gave up key completions to allow the Giants to keep driving. It was not until late in the first half that the defense found a way to get to Eli Manning after putting almost no pressure on him early. Odell Beckham, Jr. was simply brilliant for much of the game, catching one pass that will be replayed all week, despite the loss. But the defense finally stiffened as they managed to keep New York scoreless for the third quarter, and the Dallas offense, which had struggled in the first half along with the defense, came to life. A brilliant touchdown by Cole Beasley and an almost normally excellent catch and run by Dez Bryant gave the Cowboys a lead that seemed completely improbable.
Sometimes a game can turn on a single play, and this one might have. In the third quarter, the Giants had driven deep into Cowboys territory. Eli Manning had a mostly good Eli night, but on one play the bad Eli threw a ball high enough for it to get tipped right into Barry Church's arms. He returned it to just short of midfield, and Dallas took the lead on the first of Bryant's two scores.
The drama was not over because the Giants marched from their own seven-yard line to take the lead 28-24, but they made the mistake of leaving Tony Romo three minutes. Romo took the team right down the field for another Dez Bryant touchdown, and Dallas had the winning score. The Giants had 61 seconds, but a fourth down pass came up just inches short when reviewed, and Dallas was able to run the victory formation.
It was not pretty. The Cowboys let the Giants convert 11 of 16 third downs. They had continued problems getting pressure on the quarterback against the improvised Giants offensive line, but the one thing the Cowboys showed they had was determination. They never quit, they fought to the end, Romo got another fourth-quarter game-winning drive, and the defense had just enough stops to get this victory. Now they have a very short turnaround and have to face a Philadelphia Eagles team that cruised against the Tennessee Titans. There won't be much time to savor this one, which is a shame. This is a game that past Cowboys teams may not have won.