AT FIRST GLANCE
After taking a two-possession lead into halftime, the New York Giants were outscored by 14 points in the final two quarters by the Dallas Cowboys, who won 31-28 at MetLife Stadium to give Big Blue its sixth straight loss.
The Giants (3-8) begin a two-game road trip against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who dropped to 1-10 on the season after a 23-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 12.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE
With right tackle Justin Pugh out due to a quadriceps injury and Geoff Schwartz making his Giants debut after being activated this week off injured reserve/designated for return, the Giants had a different starting offensive line for the first time this season. Adam Snyder replaced rookie Weston Richburg at left guard and Schwartz took over for Pugh at right tackle while left tackle Will Beatty, center J.D. Walton, and right guard John Jerry remained at their usual positions.
After breaking their 20-game streak without an opening-drive touchdown last week, the Giants found the end zone on their first possession for the second straight week on Sunday night. Eli Manning led a 13-play, 80-yard drive that was topped off by a three-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham Jr. for an early 7-0 lead. The rookie wide receiver then stole the show with an incredible one-handed snag for a 43-yard touchdown later in the second quarter, finishing with 10 catches for 146 yards and two scores.
The Giants excelled on third down, converting 11 of 16 attempts on the night, but no when it mattered most and stalled for much of the second half while the Cowboys outscored them 21-7 in the final two quarters.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE
Against the NFL's leading rusher, the Giants' last-ranked run defense allowed Dallas running back DeMarco Murray to gain 121 yards on 24 carries. The Giants did a good job of getting off the field on third down but gave up plays of 20 yards or more to four different receivers, including touchdowns of 45 and 31 yards by Cole Beasley and Dez Bryant, respectively.
That was before Dallas put together an 80-yard drive late in the fourth quarter, capped by Bryant's 13-yard, go-ahead touchdown from Tony Romo, who finished 18 of 26 for 275 yards and four touchdowns with a passer rating of 143.4.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE SPECIAL TEAMS
Preston Parker again provided a spark on kickoff return, breaking one for 37 yards in the second quarter that led to a touchdown drive highlighted by Beckham's circus catch. Steve Weatherford averaged 55.0 yards on four punts, including a long of 63.
Giants: CB Mike Harris, LB Jacquian Williams, OL Dallas Reynolds, T Justin Pugh, DE Kerry Wynn, G Brandon Mosley, and DT Cullen Jenkins. Cowboys: QB Dustin Vaughan, CB Tyler Patmon, S Jakar Hamilton, T Tony Hills, T Donald Hawkins, DT Josh Brent, and DT Terrell McClain.
Giants: Adam Snyder for Weston Richburg at LG; Geoff Schwartz for Pugh at RT; Mike Patterson for Jenkins at LDT; Mark Herzlich for Williams at WLB. Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens for Kyle Wilber at WLB.
LB Jameel McClain left in the second half with a knee injury but was able to return. WR Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a back injury in the fourth quarter and was also able to return later in the game. LT Will Beatty suffered an eye injury in the fourth quarter. G Adam Snyder left late in the game with a knee injury and did not return.
View the best photos from the game vs. the Cowboys