The Giants stirred things up and set the tone before the opening kickoff on Sunday night.
Winning the coin toss, the Giants elected to defer to the Cowboys, sending their defense on the field to start the game.
"I told the coaches when we came in, if it was pouring rain, it was a good chance that I would defer," Tom Coughlin said after the clinching 31-14 victory. "There was the speculation about Romo's hand, which wasn't very accurate, and we thought that if it was going to be rainy and wet, he has to be under the center and maybe we can create something for ourselves. It didn't work that way but that was the thinking."
Aaron Ross received the message – both proverbially and literally – shortly after.
"We had no idea," cornerback Aaron Ross said. "Coach put it on our shoulders to go out there and pretty much make the statement for the team. We came out and had a great defensive stance and the offense fed off of it. The story is what it is now."
Including the opening drive, the Cowboys were held to three three-and-outs in their first four possessions.
The Giants defense went on to pitch a first-half shutout while the offense built a 21-point lead, their largest of the season.
"By us going out first, that just started the whole game," said defensive tackle Linval Joseph. "That gave us the power to show that we had to play. We showed up today."
The Giants held Tony Romo and the Cowboys scoreless until there was 6:54 to play in the third quarter and racked up six sacks on the night. Meanwhile, they held running back Felix Jones to 30 yards on 11 carries, giving up 49 rushing yards overall.
Linebacker and special teamer Chase Blackburn knew the decision to showcase the defense first boiled down to field position, which had been stressed all week.
"You have to win the battle of field position early, let our defense get started," Blackburn said. "I like it. That's good. Coach has confidence in our kickoff team and our defense."
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