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Key Plays: Giants vs. Cowboys


Key Play 1: Felix Jones loses it

On Sunday night, Jason Pierre-Paul became the first player this season to record a sack, block a kick and force a fumble in the same game (according to ESPN Stats and Information). With the quarterback takedown already under his belt, Pierre-Paul stripped the ball from running back Felix Jones deep in Cowboys territory. The ball popped up and right into the hands of Deon Grant, who took it down to the 14-yard line. After an incomplete pass, a Brandon Jacobs run, and another incompletion, the Giants had to settle for a field goal. Lawrence Tynes' 26-yarder gave the Giants a 15-14 lead late in the first half.

Key Play 2: Manning and Ballard keep hope alive. 

Manning's only interception of the game led to a quick 50-yard touchdown to Dez Bryant from Tony Romo late in the fourth quarter. While the two teams were within one possession of each other for the majority of the back-and-forth game, the Giants found themselves down by 12 with 5:41 remaining. Manning and company went right to work and picked up four first downs, taking them down to the Dallas 8. On second down, Manning hit at the goal line and the ruling on the field was a touchdown. The play was reviewed, and the ruling on the field was confirmed, thus capping the 80-yard drive to cut the deficit to five.

"Well, I just knew – Coach (Kevin) Gilbride was sitting right there," Manning said after the game.

"He said, "Hey, we need two scores.  Go do it." That's what we needed.  We needed two scores and that was the mindset.  We've been in these situations before.  It's nothing new.  I don't like being in these situations.  It's becoming a habit and a bad habit but we find ways to overcome it.  It's a fun way to win but I'd like to have a lead and try to hold onto one for once."

Key Play 3: Romo can't close the door, misses Austin.

On third-and-five at the Dallas 25 with a  five-point lead, Tony Romo had a wide open Miles Austin on a go route. There was not a single Giant between Austin and pay dirt, but Romo overthrew him just enough to be out of reach. The missed opportunity to go back up by 12 with two minutes to play resulted in a rare three-and-out and a Giants stop. On the ensuing drive, Brandon Jacobs gave New York its final lead of the game.

"As soon as I saw him let it go, I knew it was overthrown," Victor Cruz said. "But Miles was catching up to it a little bit. I was just happy that he overthrew it and it gave us another chance."

Key Play 4: All drawn up for D.J. Ware.

The Giants took the lead with less than a minute remaining. Mission accomplished. But the one-point margin needed to be three against a Dallas offense that was moving the ball. Similar to the Green Bay game a week ago, D.J. Ware got the call for the two-point conversion. Out of the shotgun, Eli Manning ran the draw play to Ware, who took it in for the successful conversion and set up the last-second drama that was about to happen.

Key Play 5: JPP does it. 

After Tom Coughlin iced Dallas kicker Dan Bailey on his first attempt (which was successful), Pierre-Paul pinned his ears back again for the second 47-yard attempt. Taking a different route, Pierre-Paul got a mitt on the ball, which trickled to the turf and bounced into the end zone. The blocked field goal turned the ball over to Manning, who took the victory formation as the team walked away with a 37-34 victory.

"The first one, the guard blocked me," Pierre-Paul said. "He's a strong cat, you know?  He was heavy; I couldn't push him.  So the second one, I was like, man, I have to push through the center to at least try to get the blocked kick.  I gave great effort and I blocked the kick. … I didn't go through the guard.  I stepped left and blocked through the center. … It felt good.  I knew we weren't going into overtime."

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