I was lucky enough to be in attendance at Giants Stadium for their big win over the Cowboys, and I couldn't have asked for a better game (well, maybe it would have been nice if the guy sitting in front of me didn't throw up all over the guy sitting in front of him...).
Not only did I get to see the Giants save their season with a win over the hated Cowboys, I got to see two obnoxious Cowboys fans go silent after three quarters of taunting. I could even see Jerry Jones sitting in his press box. He disappeared out of sight after Domenik Hixon's punt return...weird. Everyone else seemed to be having such a good time; I wonder why Jerry wasn't enjoying himself.
- Show of hands: With about four minutes left in the first half and down 10-0, who honestly thought we were winning this game? Honestly?
- The biggest play of the game was probably the Hixon punt return (which proved to be the game winning touchdown). Instead of breaking down the play itself, I will break down Joe Buck's "play-by-play" of the play:
- Hixon fields the punt: "From just outside the 20, it's Hixon. Good coverage down field." A good start for Buck. Stating the situation and even painting a picture with his words.
- Hixon runs along the 30-yard line, breaking five tackles: "Hixon breaks out of it!" That's all? "Breaks out of it?" What was "it?" Five tackles?
- Hixon starts running up field at the 32-yard line: "Still going!" Alright, not bad.
- Hixon runs for 55 yards and gets two key blocks from Terrell Thomas and Derek Hagan: Six seconds of silence. Hey! Where'd Joe go?
- Hixon reaches 12-yard line and continues into the end zone: "Still going for the touchdown, there are no flags!" There he is! He was watching the play with the rest of us. I guess Joe got caught up in the moment and forgot to talk into his microphone.
- The crowd goes wild, Tom Coughlin loses his gum and Justin Tuck picks up Hixon: 31 more seconds of silence. I guess less is more. Certainly a minimalistic play-by-play approach from Buck. Good thing he's not on the radio.
- It was nice to see Antonio Pierce on the sideline. It's a shame that he may have played his last game as a Giant. And while he certainly slowed down the last couple of years, no one has ever questioned his heart or his desire. Maybe he'll be a defensive coordinator some day.
- Troy Aikman: "The teams that have had success against [Jason Witten] are the teams that will bang him."
- Compared to last week's game, Eli Manning played like an all pro. But overall, this was not a great performance from Manning. He made some big throws, such as the perfectly thrown 10-yard pass to Brandon Jacobs that turned into a 74-yard touchdown. But overall, he had some bad underthrows, including one where he missed a wide-open Steve Smith. The interception in the end zone was also poorly thrown, but I thought Mario Manningham should have done a better job of playing defense. The ball was up in the air long enough for him to make a play on it. An offensive pass interference would have been a good penalty in that situation. Still, it was a poor decision and a poor throw from Eli.
- Corey Webster has had a pretty good season, but he has shown that he is not a lock down cornerback. In fact, he was beaten on all three of the Cowboys' touchdowns. He was fooled badly by the fake sweep on the second Roy Williams touchdown, and he seemed to give up momentarily on the long Miles Austin touchdown with one minute remaining.
- Aaron Rouse (12 tackles, one sack) plays the run very well, and is clearly an upgrade over C.C. Brown. Unfortunately, the injury to Michael Johnson forced Brown back into the starting lineup. Hopefully Johnson can return for next week's game. New starting MLB Jonathan Goff (eight tackles) also plays the run well. They were both instrumental in limiting the Cowboys to 45 rushing yards and an average of two yards per carry. Quite a feat, considering the Cowboys ran for 251 yards last time these two teams played.
- Osi Umenyiora's recovery of a Marion Barber fumble (caused by Mathias Kiwanuka) was a huge play, and a turning point in the game. But Osi still doesn't look like he's playing at 100 percent. He has been turned into a third down pass rush specialist, and he didn't even really excel in that regard. Osi recorded only one tackle, and still seems to be recovering from his knee injury. Hopefully he can continue to improve and add to his league leading four fumbles recovered.
- Jason Witten is a very good receiver, but for one player to catch 14 passes for 156 says a lot about the defense's inability to adjust. If the Giants had lost this game, Witten would have been a big reason why. The Giants need to figure out a way to cover good tight ends.
- Refs weren't bad, but there were two plays that stood out to me. The no-call on Corey Webster after he grabbed Roy Williams was a pretty big play, as it should have extended a Cowboys drive. Seemed like a pretty obvious holding to me. Also, on the first drive of the game, Jason Witten was stopped a full yard short of the first down line, yet the ball was placed right on the line. It was as bad a spot as I have ever seen. Luckily no harm came from it.
- I'm going to go ahead and give the offensive game ball to Brandon Jacobs, on the strength of his 74-yard touchdown catch and run. He did a great job of keeping his feet in bounds along the sideline.
- The defensive game ball goes to the run defense for shutting down the Cowboys' run game (I know there is not a separate "run defense" and "pass defense," but I couldn't give the game ball to the entire defense since they allowed the passing game to run wild).
- Special teams game ball goes to Bear Pascoe, who was recently signed off the practice squad, for his big special teams tackle late in the fourth quarter. But seriously, the game ball goes to Domenik Hixon.
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