New York Giants Rise From the Dead To Defeat Dallas Cowboys

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IDecember 7, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants during play against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Giants-Broncos game last week will forever be known as The Year the Giants Ruined Thanksgiving.

Every time I bit into one of my turkey sandwiches in the days that followed I tasted the ineptitude of the Giants performance.

When I dug into a meal of leftovers, all I could think of was the zombie-like, going-through-the-motions play of the Giants in Denver that night (do zombies go through the motions?).

Would I ever be able to enjoy and celebrate Thanksgiving again? How could turkey taste so bitter?

Things were not looking good for Big Blue (or my taste buds). In fact, they looked dead and buried.

But yesterday, they climbed out of their grave and defeated Dallas for the second time this season (does that make them zombies for this game, too? I’m really confusing myself here). They’re still trailing in the division and wild card races—but they're alive.

After digging themselves a 10-0 hole in the second quarter, the Giants showed some life, grit, and fortitude by going on a 31-7 run the rest of the way until Dallas’ not-quite-garbage-time-but-at-least-desperation-time TD with a minute left in the game.

Giants Defenseive Coordinator Bill Sheridan is looking like a genius with his personnel moves this week. Tony Romo and Jason Witten (man, is he good) had big games, but the Cowboys only gained 45 yards on the ground after running wild on the Giants in week two, and Romo was pressured throughout the game.

New starter Mathias Kiwanuka and new second-stringer Osi Umenyiora teamed up for a key forced fumble/recovery that led to a Giants touchdown and was a big momentum changer. Aaron Rouse had a strong game, with 12 tackles and a sack. He produced for a secondary still on the mend after an injury to budding superstar Kenny Phillips.  Hopefully he can provide an answer for the playoff run.

The Cowboys controlled the ball for most of the game, but Giants were the team that came up with big plays at critical times and showed signs of life that have been dormant for quite some time.

Brandon Jacobs shocked everybody, including himself, with his 74-yard catch-and-run TD. He only rushed for 39 yards, but that play (which was the first play of the drive) made up for it.

The offense also had two four-play scoring drives, one of which included a heads-up Eli Manning shovel pass to Kevin Boss when the QB was about to be taken down for a sack. Despite a couple of drops, Steve Smith was good, with six catches for 110 yards. And Hakeem Nicks scored a touchdown, slipping by a couple of would-be tacklers on a nifty move.

The backbreaker (and eventual game-winner) was Domenik Hixon ’s 79-yard punt return for the Giants’ final touchdown. He had been fairly pedestrian with his returns this season, so it was good to see him finally break free for a long run. And he obviously had some great blocking in front of him.

Justin Tuck ’s best friend, Flozell Adams, was at it again with his weekly cheap shot. It’s all part of his repertoire: tripping, pushing from behind, wedgies, wet willies, biting, foot stomping, the Three Stooges eye gouge, tying an opposition lineman’s shoelaces together, the windmill and strategically stabbing an opponent with a fork. He’ll employ any move or tactic short of a legal blocking technique. “I would never lower myself to do something like that,” he stated after the game.

All three phases of the game produced for the Giants, though none of them were especially great. They actually played with toughness and heart after Thanksgiving’s desultory showing and made enough big plays to win the game. And while they’re not sitting pretty, they can at least feel good about themselves going into the last quarter of the season.