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Six winners and three losers from the Cowboys win over the Giants

The Cowboys got a win they really needed, who were the keys?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports


Sean Lee - Wow, can there be any doubt about his importance to this team. Of course he led the Cowboys in tackles with a total of 18, 10 of them solo. He also had a huge tackle for loss in the fourth quarter, right before the Cowboys offense exploded. Then he capped it off with an interception. Please, Sean, stay healthy.

Rod Smith - Rod Smith steals the show. The little-used running back got a few opportunities and capitalized. He scored a rushing touchdown and had 47 yards on six carries, for a 7.8 ypc. Not bad. But it was his 81-yard touchdown catch that was truly memorable. He had 113 yards receiving on five catches. He also caught a tipped pass on the first dive that he ran for a first down, converting a third down, that extended the drive and got Dallas their first three points.

Dak Prescott - Finally, Dak Prescott has a big game again. It looked rough early as his receivers kept dropping passes. But then the explosion happened. Granted he got a bunch of help on yards after the catch from Cole Beasley and Rod Smith, but he did end up with 332 yards and three touchdowns, along with a 137.1 passer rating.

Cowboys young secondary - Chidobe Awuzie broke up a pass on a key third down, and he tipped the ball in the air that Sean Lee grabbed. On the first drive of the second half, the Giants got to midfield but faced a third down, Jourdan Lewis broke up the pass on that attempt and forced a punt. Xavier Woods had a big tackle for loss that forced a 3rd and 8, then Lewis broke up the pass on that 3rd and 8 and forced a punt. The young guns looked good without Orlando Scandrick.

Jeff Heath - The much-maligned Jeff Heath had a great game. On good special teams he had a good kickoff coverage that stopped the Giants at the 17-yard line. He had a hit on a tackle that forced a fumble (Rams recovered), and he had 11 tackles (8 solo). He added an interception for good measure.

Playoff hopes - They are still alive, even though they haven’t gotten a lot of help from other teams this week. The window is getting smaller, but all they can do is keep winning.


Dan Bailey - That was a brutal game for Mr. Automatic. He hit a 53-yarder off the upright, then later tried a 50-yarder that never stood a chance. He also couldn’t get the ball to the end zone consistently, and for the first time in his career, he missed an extra point. Is that groin still bothering him?

Defensive line - The penalties on the line were ridiculous. They had four offside penalties, a holding call and a hands to the face call. And some of these came at critical moments. Between the drops, Bailey’s misfortunes and these penalties, the Giants stayed in the game. They also didn’t create the kind of pressure that was expected against a bad line (although Lawrence was active) and they allowed a little bit of a run game.

Wide receivers (drops) - Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley had a couple of big plays in the game, and Beasley’s in particular had a galvanizing effect on the team. But they were dropping passes early, and they just couldn’t seem to get open except for short, underneath routes. They rallied at the end, and they did have some key blocks on the long plays, but they have to quit dropping passes.

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