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Recap: Giants lose heartbreaker to Cowboys, 37-34

AT A GLANCE:

The Giants' latest loss was a heartbreaker. Greg Zuerlein's 34-yard field goal as time expired gave the Dallas Cowboys a 37-34 victory against the Giants – who owned a 17-3 lead in the second quarter. It was Zuerlein's third field goal of the game and second in the last 1:56. After he tied the game with a 40-yarder, the Giants were forced to punt. Backup quarterback Andy Dalton then led the Cowboys on a five-play, 72-yard drive that included two completions that were confirmed by replay review. Despite more than doubling their previous high point total of the season, the Giants fell to 0-5 for the first time since 2017. Dallas improved to 2-3 and took over first place in the NFC East.

UP NEXT: The Giants return to MetLife Stadium to play their first NFC East home game of the season when they host the Washington Football Team next Sunday at 1 p.m. It is the second game in a stretch in which the Giants are scheduled to play five division foes in six games. The Giants last year swept the season series for the first time since 2014, ending a four-year streak which saw the teams split their two games. On Sept. 29, Daniel Jones threw for 225 yards and a touchdown in his first start in MetLife and the Giants allowed a season-low point total in a 24-3 victory. Jones threw a franchise rookie-record five touchdown passes in the rematch in FedExField on Dec. 22, when the Giants held three separate 14-point leads before winning in overtime, 41-35. The Giants have faced Washington 174 times in the regular season since their first game in 1932, making this their most frequently-contested rivalry. They lead the series, 102-68-4, including 7-3 vs. in MetLife.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE:

The Giants, who entered the game with 47 points and three touchdowns, scored 20 points and two touchdowns – in the first half, which ended with the visitors trailing 24-20.

After not scoring a touchdown in their previous two games, the Giants' offense began the game aggressively. On the fifth play, Daniel Jones handed the ball to Devonta Freeman, who flipped it back to the quarterback to set up a 17-yard flea-flicker completion to Darius Slayton. Two plays later, Evan Engram scored his first career rushing touchdown on a three-yard end around. It was the first rushing touchdown by a Giants' tight end since Sept. 29, 1996, when Aaron Pierce scored on one-yard run vs. vs. Minnesota.

The score ended streaks of 21 possessions and 144 plays without a touchdown and gave the Giants their first lead since they were ahead of Pittsburgh in the Sept. 14 season opener, 10-9.

The opening-possession touchdown was the Giants' first since Dec. 22, 2019, when Jones threw a 23-yard scoring pass to Sterling Shepard in an overtime victory in Washington.

The Giants took a 34-31 lead with 8:46 remaining in the fourth quarter on Devonta Freeman's four-yard touchdown run and Jones' two-point conversion pass to … rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas. It was Freeman's first Giants touchdown.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Thomas is the first NFL player whose listed position was offensive line to score on a two-point conversion (which were instituted in 1994).

Jones completed 22 of 30 passes for 222 yards but did not throw a touchdown pass for the fourth consecutive game. Slayton led the team with eight catches for including eight for 129 yards, including a game-long 39-yarder.

Freeman led the Giants' rushing attack with 60 yards on 17 carries.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE:

Linebacker Kyler Fackrell scored the Giants' second touchdown in 1:05 and gave the Giants a 14-0 lead when he intercepted a Dak Prescott pass that was tipped by Ezekiel Elliott and returned it 46 yards for a score. It was the first interception and first touchdown of Fackrell's five-year career.

The defensive touchdown was the Giants' first since Markus Golden scored on a 42-yard fumble return at New England on Oct. 10, 2019 and their first on an interception return since Jabrill Peppers' 32-yard runback after picking off a Dwayne Haskins pass against Washington on Sept. 29, 2019 vs. Washington.

Dak Prescott became the first opposing quarterback in the Super Bowl era with a touchdown reception against the Giants when he caught an 11-yard pass from wide freceiver Cedrick Wilson in the second quarter. The touchdown regained the lead for Dallas with just 16 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

Wilson was the first wide receiver to throw a touchdown pass against the Giants since Washington's Antwan Randle El on Dec. 30, 2006 (48-yard pass to Santana Moss).

Blake Martinez has repeatedly demonstrated he has a nose for the football with his team-leading tackle totals. Today, he did so with a critical recovery of substitute quarterback Andy Dalton's fumble at the Dallas 17-yard line with 10:55 remaining The takeaway led to Freeman's go-ahead touchdown. It was Martinez's first recovery since Nov. 26, 2017, for Green Bay at Pittsburgh.

View photos from the Week 5 matchup between the Giants and Cowboys in Dallas.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT SPECIAL TEAMS:

Graham Gano continues to demonstrate that he has a very strong kicking leg. He tied an NFL record by becoming the first player in Giants history to kick three field goals of 50 or more yards in a game. The first-year Giant kicked a 55-yard field to increase the team's lead to 17-3 with 13:30 remaining in the second quarter. It was the Giants' longest field goal since Aldrick Rosas' team-record 57-yarder vs. Chicago on Dec. 2, 2018. Gano's kick is tied with Joe Danelo's 55-yarder vs. New Orleans on Sept. 20, 1981 for the third-longest in Giants history. Ali Haji-Sheikh kicked 56-yard field goals vs. Green Bay on Sept. 26, 1981 and at Detroit on Nov. 7, 1983.

Later in the quarter, Gano kicked a 50-yard field goal – after Engram's touchdown reception on a fake was nullified by an illegal shift penalty.

Gano lifted the Giants to within 24-23 with a 54-yard field goal with 9:25 remaining in the third quarter.

Gano is the 11th kicker in NFL history with three 50+ yard field goals in a game – and the second this season. Tennessee's Stephen Gostkowski kicked field goals of 51, 54, and 55 yards in a victory at Minnesota on Sept. 27.

The only other Giants kicker with multiple 50-yarders in a game is Raul Allegre, who booted field goals of 53 and 52 yards at Philadelphia on Nov. 15, 1987.

Gano also kicked a 29-yarder in the fourth quarter to become the first Giants kicker with four field goals in a game since Aldrick Rosas vs. Dallas on Nov. 4, 2019 (21, 25, 26 and 29 yards).

INJURY REPORT:

NYG: Linebacker Lorenzo Carter was carted off the field at the end of the game's first series with an Achilles injury and did not return.

DAL: Quarterback Dak Prescott, who made his 69th consecutive start, left the game with an apparent serious right ankle leg injury suffered when he was tackled by Logan Ryan at the end of a nine-yard run with 6:33 remaining in the third quarter. Prescott was transported to a local hospital. He suffered a compound right ankle fracture and is undergoing surgery tonight. He was replaced by former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, now the Cowboys' backup. Dalton had thrown one pass this season, in Week 2 vs. Atlanta. Tight end Blake Bell suffered a knee injury covering a punt in the first quarter. Defensive tackle Tristan Hill was carted off the field in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury.

INACTIVES:

NYG: The Giants had a season-low four inactive players: linebacker TJ Brunson, defensive tackle RJ McIntosh, tight end Eric Tomlinson and tackle Jackson Barton.

DAL: The Cowboys' inactive players were quarterback Ben DiNucci, wide receiver Malik Turner, defensive backs Saivion Smith and Reggie Robinson and inside linebacker Rashad Smith.

LINEUP CHANGES:

NYG: Tae Crowder, the 255th and final selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, made his first career start at inside linebacker. Although Jabrill Peppers was in uniform after missing last week's game with an ankle injury, he did not start at strong safety. Logan Ryan and Adrian Colbert started at safety, as they did last week in Los Angeles. Peppers started the second series in place of Colbert. Wide receiver C.J. Board made his third consecutive start

DAL: Rookie Tyler Biadasz made his first career start at center in place of the injured Joe Looney.

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