“It was a big win, no doubt,” Giants quarterback Eli Manning said after throwing for 400 yards and two touchdowns. “We’re excited. It’s been a while since we’ve had that winning feeling.”
The Cowboys led, 34-22, with just less than six minutes to play after quarterback Tony Romo’s 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dez Bryant. But the Giants got an eight-yard touchdown pass from Manning to tight end Jake Ballard with a little more than three minutes remaining. They got the ball back and drove to tailback Brandon Jacobs’s one-yard touchdown run with 46 seconds to go, and added a two-point conversion.
Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey missed a 47-yard field goal attempt with one second left. The Giants called a timeout just before Bailey made the kick on his first try, then Jason Pierre-Paul blocked the ensuing attempt that counted.
“It wasn’t easy, obviously,” Giants Coach Tom Coughlin said. “Gosh, there’s plays out there you just shake your head.”
Manning also connected with wide receiver Mario Manningham for a third-quarter touchdown pass. He threw what appeared, at the time, to be a costly fourth-quarter interception to linebacker Sean Lee, just before Romo’s touchdown pass to Bryant. But the Giants persevered for their first victory in more than a month.
“We were just clicking,” Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said. “We understood what we had to do. We understood we had to get down there and get down there fast, and that’s what we did.”
Manning added to what has been a superb season for him, although it largely has been overshadowed by the potential record-breaking exploits of other quarterbacks like Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, New England’s Tom Brady and Drew Brees of New Orleans.
“He was really upset over the interception,” Coughlin said. “But he comes right back. He made some great plays coming down the stretch.”
Said Jacobs, who also had a first-half touchdown run: “If you ask me, he’s the best in the business when we have our backs to the wall and we need a score.”
The defeat was particularly painful for the Cowboys, who lost rookie tailback DeMarco Murray to a season-ending ankle injury suffered on a first-quarter carry. The team announced that Murray suffered a fractured right ankle and a high ankle sprain, and Coach Jason Garrett said after the game that he doesn’t expect Murray to play again this season.
Felix Jones filled in capably at running back and Romo threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers. But it wasn’t enough for the Cowboys.
“I just think you have to keep going,” Garrett said. “We’ve won probably four or five games this way, too.”