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Giants vs. Cowboys Postgame Notes

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Notes and statistics from the Giants' 31-14 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

*The Giants won their final two games to finish 9-7 and win the NFC East championship. They will host the 10-6 Atlanta Falcons Sunday at 1 p.m. in an NFC Wild Card Game.

*The Giants' finished in first place for an NFL-record 23rd time. They had been in a three-way tie with the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers (this season's NFC North titlists).

*The Giants will make their 3 1st postseason appearance, which is also a record. They had been tied with Dallas for the most playoff seasons in league history.

*The Giants won their final two regular season games for the first time since 2002, when they finished the season with a four-game winning streak and reached the playoffs as a wild card team.

*With their 9-7 record, the Giants have finished .500 or better for seven consecutive seasons, their longest streak a since they did it 10 years in a row from 1954-63.

*This is the first time since the 1970 merger that the NFC East champion has fewer than 10 victories.

The last time the Giants played in a division in which the titlist had single-digit victories was 1967. That year, they finished 7-7 in the Century Division of the NFL's Eastern Conference. The Cleveland Browns won the division with a 9-5 record. The Giants haven't finished in first place with less than 10 victories since 1958, when their 9-3 mark tied Cleveland atop the Eastern Conference. The Giants won the conference playoff before losing to Baltimore, in overtime, 23-17, in what some call the "Greatest Game Ever Played."

*The Giants beat the Cowboys twice in the last four weeks to sweep the season series from Dallas for the second time in three years.

*The Giants finished 4-4 at home in their second season in MetLife Stadium.

*The Giants' defense tied its season high with six sacks; the unit also had six vs. Seattle on Oct. 9. The Giants finished with 48 sacks, their highest total since the 2007 Super Bowl champions led the NFL with 53.

*The Giants finished the season with an NFL-low 1,427 rushing yards (89.2 a game). They are just the second team since 1990 – when a second wild team was added in each conference – to make the playoffs with the league's fewest rushing yards. The others were the 2008 Arizona Cardinals and the 2009 Indianapolis Colts – both of those teams reached the Super Bowl.

*Dallas rushed for only 49 yards, the lowest total by a Giants opponent since Seattle ran for 37 yards on Nov. 7, 2010.

*The Giants had 331 net passing yards and had an at least 200 passing yards in every game in a season for the first time in their history

*The Giants had no offensive turnovers for the fourth time this season. Since 2009, they have won their last six games in which the offense did not turn over the ball.

*The Giants led at halftime, 21-0, their biggest advantage after two quarters since they led Philadelphia, 24-3, on Dec. 19, 2010. It was the first time they jumped out to a 21-0 lead since Oct. 10, 2010 at Houston. Their 21-point lead was the largest they had in any game this season.

*It was the second time this season the Giants did not allow a point in the first half. On Nov. 6, they were tied with New England at halftime, 0-0.

*The Giants scored their first touchdown on a 74-yard pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz that concluded a 96-yard drive. It was the second-longest series of the season in terms of yards gained; the Giants scored on a 99-yard drive last week vs. the Jets – also on Cruz catch-and-run of a Manning pass.

*Dallas later scored a touchdown on a 96-yard drive, the longest by a Giants opponent since Indianapolis traveled 98 yards to a touchdown on Sept. 19, 2010. The longest previous drive by an opponent this season was a 90-yarder by Miami on Oct. 30.

*Tom Coughlin won his 142nd regular season game as an NFL head coach, tying him with former Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher for 19th place on the all-time list.

*Coughlin also has eight postseason victories and became the 19th coach in NFL history with 150 wins. 

*Coughlin has led the Giants to the postseason for the fifth time, tying him with Bill Parcells for the most appearances by a Giants coach. This will be Coughlin's ninth postseason appearance, including four with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

*Eli Manning completed 24 of 33 passes for 346 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 136.7 that was his second-highest of the season (he had a career-high rating of 145.7 at Philadelphia on Sept. 25).

*It was Manning's eighth 300-yard game of the season and the 22nd of his career, breaking a tie with Phil Simms and moving him into first place on the Giants' career list.

*Manning's four-yard touchdown pass to Hakeem Nicks with 3:41 remaining was his 15th this season in the fourth quarter, an NFL record. Manning had been tied at 14 with Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas (1959) and Peyton Manning (2002).

*Manning, who threw every one of the Giants' passes this season, finished the season with Giants records in attempts (589), completions (359) and yards (4,933). His 29 touchdown passes were the second-highest total of his career (he had 31 last year) and his 16 interceptions were nine fewer than he threw in 2010.

*Victor Cruz caught six passes for 178 yards (29.7-yard average), including a 74-yard touchdown. The 178 yards was the highest total by a Giant since Plaxico Burress had 205 in a victory over St. Louis on Oct. 2, 2005.

*It was Cruz's fifth touchdown reception this season of at least 68 yards and his fourth of at least 72 yards (both Giants records), including the team-record 99-yarder last week vs. the Jets.

*Cruz finished the season with a franchise-record 1,536 yards – 193 more than Amani Toomer's former team record – and a team-high nine touchdown receptions. Cruz's 82 catches tie him with Toomer (2002) for second on the Giants single-season list behind Steve Smith's 107 in 2009.

*Nicks caught five passes for 76 yards and a touchdown and finished the season with 76 receptions for 1,192 yards and seven scores.

*Ahmad Bradshaw scored the Giants' second touchdown on a five-yard run in the second quarter. It was his ninth rushing touchdown of the season, breaking the career-high of eight he set in 2010 – which broke the career-high of seven he established in 2009. It was the second year in a row a Giants back rushed for nine touchdowns; Brandon Jacobs did it in 2010.

*Bradshaw also scored the Giants' third touchdown on a 10-yard reception with 1:09 remaining in the second quarter. It was his second career touchdown catch and first since Sept. 14, 2008 at St. Louis, where he had an 18-yard touchdown reception.

*Bradshaw scored two touchdowns for the second week in a row; he scored on runs of 14 and 19 yards in the victory over the Jets. The last Giant to score at least two touchdowns in back-to-back games was Brandon Jacobs on Nov. 9 (two three-yard runs at Philadelphia) and Nov, 16, 2008 (two one-yard runs vs. Baltimore).

*Bradshaw was the first Giants player to score on rushing and receiving touchdowns in the same game since Jacobs scored on a one-yard run and a 74-yard catch on Dec. 6, 2009, also in a home game vs. Dallas. Bradshaw accomplished the feat in 2008 in St. Louis, where, in addition to his 18-yard catch, he scored on a 31-yard run.

*Bradshaw had a 29-yard run, his and the team's third-longest of the season.

*Fullback Henry Hynoski had a season-high four catches, including three on one second-quarter drive.

*Jason Pierre-Paul had one of the Giants' six sacks to finish the season with 16.5, the highest total by a Giant since Michael Strahan had 18.5 in 2003.

*Osi Umenyiora played for the first time since spraining his ankle in New Orleans on Nov. 28 and sacked Tony Romo twice – his first against Dallas since Oct. 23, 2006. Despite missing seven games, Umenyiora's 9.0 sacks were the team's second-highest total.

*Justin Tuck, Chris Canty and rookie Jacquian Williams had the other sacks. It was the first sack of Williams' career.

*Antrel Rolle intercepted Tony Romo in the third quarter, his second pick of the season. He had a pick at Arizona on Oct. 2. The Giants intercepted 20 passes this season, their highest total since the 2000 NFC champions had 20.

*The Giants won the pregame coin toss for the seventh time this season and for the first time deferred receiving the ball until the start of the second half. Three of their opponents deferred after winning the coin toss – Buffalo, Miami and the Jets.

*The Giants' inactive players were tight end Jake Ballard (knee), wide receiver Ramses Barden, linebacker Mark Herzlich (ankle), offensive linemen Jim Cordle and James Brewer, defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy and defensive end Justin Trattou.

*The Giants' first-place finish determined their final two opponents for the 2012 season: They will host the Green Bay Packers and visit the 49ers in San Francisco – as they did this season. The Packers and 49ers each won their division titles.

The remainder of the Giants' opponents is determined by the NFL's scheduling rotation. They will, of course, play home-and-home series with NFC East foes Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington. In 2012, the NFC East will play the NFC South and the AFC North. The Giants will host New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Pittsburgh and travel to Atlanta, Carolina, Baltimore and Cincinnati.

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