AT FIRST GLANCE**
In a critical NFC East matchup, the New York Giants scored in all three phases of the game for a 27-20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Big Blue improved to 4-3 and is guaranteed at least a share of first place in the division (Philadelphia plays Carolina on "Sunday Night Football"). Dallas lost its fourth-straight game, falling to 2-4 on the season.
The Giants head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in Week 8 and will face the New Orleans Saints for their first of back-to-back road games. New Orleans defeated Indianapolis 27-21 on Sunday to improve to 3-4 on the season.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE
The last team in the NFL without a 100-yard rushing game this season, the Giants ended the drought with 132 yards on 25 carries for an average of 5.3 yards per attempt.
Running back Orleans Darkwa, who had no carries yet this season, provided a much-needed boost with eight runs for 48 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown.
Wide receiver Rueben Randle sparked two scoring drives with big receptions of 44 and 24 yards. Eli Manning went 13 of 24 for 170 yards.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE
Takeaways on three consecutive drives in the second half sparked the Giants, who were tied for the NFL lead with a plus-six turnover differential heading into Sunday.
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted a pass from Matt Cassel, the Cowboys' third starting quarterback of the year, and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter.
It was Rodgers-Cromartie's second defensive score against the Cowboys this season and seventh of his career. The veteran previously had a 57-yard fumble return in Dallas in Week 1. On the Cowboys' ensuing drive, safety Brandon Meriweather intercepted Cassel again at the one-yard line before Rodgers-Cromartie grabbed his second of the night on the possession after that. In all, the Giants scored 10 points off turnovers.
With Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo, it was Cassel's first start for the Cowboys after the team made the switch from Brandon Weeden over their bye week.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE SPECIAL TEAMS
Former Cowboy Dwayne Harris turned in the big play of the night and broke a tie ball game in the fourth quarter with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, tying the longest in franchise history. Kicker Josh Brown broke his own franchise record with 19 consecutive made field goals, including two on Sunday from distances of 47 and 30 yards. Myles White returned a muffed punt with 1:26 remaining in the game to seal the victory.
NYG: CB Prince Amukamara, WR Victor Cruz, DB Brandon McGee, LB Uani 'Unga, OL Bobby Hart, DT Louis Nix III, DE Damontre Moore. DAL: WR Dez Bryant, QB Kellen Moore, CB Tyler Patmon, RB Rod Smith, G Ronald Leary, TE Geoff Swaim, DE Ryan Russell.
Five standout performers in the Giants Sunday matchup against the Dallas Cowboys
NYG: none. DAL: Cole Beasley for Bryant at WR, La'el Collins for Leary at LG.
LG Justin Pugh and S Brandon Meriweather along with season captains QB Eli Manning, LB Jon Beason, and LS Zak DeOssie.
NYG: CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (finger), DE Owa Odighizuwa (hamstring), DE Robert Ayers Jr. (concussion evaluation), LB J.T. Thomas (ankle). DAL: RB Joseph Randle (back strain).