It felt like a game from 30 years ago as the Giants beat the Cowboys 10-7 on Sunday night football.
New York’s offense is fortunate as it did little other than a 61-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham Jr. but the defense was able to hold Dallas scoreless in the final three quarters.
“They kept us in it,” center Weston Richburg said in the locker room after the game. “We didn’t play a good game. We haven’t played a good game offensively all year. They’ve played lights out.”
Ben McAdoo has been aggressive as a coach, but called running plays on third and 11 twice in the final six minutes, content to punt it away and let the defense do its job. Nobody questioned the decision because of the performance of the offense. Manning threw an interception and lost two fumbles. He just avoided throwing a few more which Cowboys defenders had their hands on, including one which caused Richburg to put his hands on his helmet. “We’ve had a couple of games that were pretty nerve wracking but as long as we come out on top, that’s the biggest thing,” Richburg said.
One of the unsung heroes was Brad Wing, who got plenty of work, with five of his nine punts landing inside the 20. The punter didn’t think that the low score added any pressure though. “I feel like the pressure’s the same regardless of the situation,” Wing said. “It’s always pressure. It’s a pressure based business. You try not to think of the situation too much when you’re in it, you just got to go out there, execute, trust your preparation, trust your coach and go out and just execute.”
Now the Cowboys have 11 wins and two Giant losses. “I’m not sure what the other teams do, but when we play fundamentally sound and technically sound, we’re a really hard team to beat,” running back Paul Perkins said after he ran for 45 yards on 15 carries.
Robbie Gould got the Giants on the board with a field goal and kicked the extra point after the Beckham Jr. touchdown. Cowboy kicker Dan Bailey missed a 55-yarder off the horizontal post to end the first half.
“It was fun,” said Gould, who joined the team before its week 7 game and now is booting field goals in big games. “I mean, shoot, anytime you’re in a playoff run with that kind of atmosphere and our fans were great all game, and come away with a win, you’ve got to be excited about it.”
The cold weather and division rivalry were nothing for Gould who spent years kicking in Bears-Packers games. “Here’s the thing: both of them are very similar,” Gould said. “Obviously there’s a lot of history between both of the organizations, both rivalries. I think there’s more rivalries here in the NFC East than there are in the NFC North but I’ll tell you what, this place is pretty special.”
The Cowboys still have the best record in the NFC, and the Giants are looking at three road playoff games despite the possibility of finishing with the second best record in the conference. But a third Giants-Cowboys game is a possibility.
“Man, I would love to do it again,” Richburg said. “It would be fun. It would be a lot of fun.”
Would Dallas not want to see the Giants in January?
“I’m sure they would want to see us in the playoffs,” Perkins said. “I mean, you couldn’t write a better story than that, coming to see us in the playoffs, all the chips are on the line.”