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Notes: Leonard Williams leads Giants' sack parade

DT Leonard Williams - Signed to three-year contract

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Notes and statistics from the Giant' 23-19 victory against the Dallas Cowboys in MetLife Stadium:

*The Giants' broke a three-game losing streak and finished Joe Judge's first season as head coach at 6-10, their best record since they were 11-5 in 2016. The Giants will finish first in the NFC East and host Tampa Bay in an NFC Wild Card Game if Washington loses to Philadelphia Sunday night. If Washington wins, the Giants will finish second.

*If the Giants finish first, they will be the first six-win playoff team in NFL history.

*Should that happen, Judge will join Dan Reeves (1993), Jim Fassel (1997) and Ben McAdoo (2016) as first-year head coaches to lead the Giants to the playoffs since the 1970 merger.

*The Giants' 3-5 record in MetLife Stadium is their best since they were 7-1 in 2016. They were 2-6 at home in each of the previous three seasons.

*The Giants' 4-2 division record is also their best since 2016, when they were 4-2.

*The Giants swept NFC East foes Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington at home for the first time since 2005.

*The Giants ended a seven-game losing streak to Dallas. They had last defeated the Cowboys on Dec. 11, 2016, a 10-7 victory in MetLife Stadium.

*The two Giants-Cowboys games this season were decided by a total of seven points (the Cowboys won on Oct. 11 in Dallas, 37-34).

*The Giants won despite finishing 0-for-seven on third-down conversion attempts. This is the first time the Giants won a game without converting a third down since the 1970 merger. They last had no third-down conversions when they were 0-for-seven in a loss at Carolina on Oct. 7, 2018.

*The Giants led at halftime, 20-9. It was their second-largest halftime lead of the season, topped only by the 20-3 advantage they held in Washington on Nov. 8. In each of those games, the Giants secured division victories by scoring 20 points in the first half and just three in the second. They won in Washington, 23-20.

*This was the fifth game this season in which the Giants did not allow a first half touchdown. That included three consecutive games from Nov. 2-15 against Tampa Bay, Washington and Philadelphia, as well as the victory in Seattle on Dec. 6.

*Daniel Jones' first pass of the second half was intercepted by safety Donovan Wilson. It was the Giants' first turnover since Colt McCoy lost a fumble on their final offensive play against Arizona on Dec. 13. The Giants had gone 23 possessions and 145 offensive plays without committing a turnover.

*The interception was the first thrown by Jones since Nov. 2 against Tampa Bay. Jones had thrown a career-high 177 passes without an interception.

*The Giants took a 6-0 lead just 3:14 into the game when wide receiver Sterling Shepard scored a touchdown on a 23-yard reverse. It was the Giants' fourth opening-possession touchdown this season and second against Dallas. The others were vs. Philadelphia on Nov. 15 and at Cincinnati on Nov. 22. The Giants were 3-1 in games in which they scored on their opening drive. Each of the first-series touchdowns against the Cowboys were scored on runs by players at positions where carrying the ball is not their primary function; tight end Evan Engram scored on a three-yard run in Dallas.

*Jones completed 17 of 209 passes for 229 yards, two touchdowns and his first interception in two months. He also rushed for 17 yards on nine carries (including two kneel-downs at the end). Jones finished the season with 11 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions.

*Shepard had game-high totals of eight receptions for 112 yards, his ninth career 100-yard game and first of the season. The yardage total was Shepard's highest since he had 113 yards at Indianapolis on Dec. 23, 2018. No other Giants player had more than two catches on Sunday.

*Shepard scored the first rushing touchdown and had the longest run by a Giants wide receiver since Dec. 29, 2013, when Jerrell Jernigan ran for a 49-yard score in a victory against Washington in MetLife Stadium. Entering Week 17, nine NFL wide receivers had rushed for touchdowns this season.

*Shepard also had a one-yard run later in the first quarter. He has each of the last three multiple-carry games by a Giants wideout. Shepard had two rushing attempts vs. Detroit on Sept. 18, 2017 and at Tampa Bay on Sept. 22, 2019.

*Shepard scored the Giants' second touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Jones. It is the first time in Shepard's five-year, 65-game career he scored two touchdowns in a game.

*Shepard is the second Giants player with a two-touchdown game this season. Running back Wayne Gallman scored on runs of two and one yards in a victory against Philadelphia on Nov. 15.

*Shepard is the first Giants player with a rushing and receiving touchdown in the same game since Dec. 22, 2019, when Saquon Barkley scored on a 67-yard run and a 33-yard catch in an overtime victory at Washington.

*Shepard's eight receptions gave him a team-high 66 for the season. Engram, who played all 16 games for the first time in his four-year career, was second with 63. Engram had two catches for 17 yards on Sunday.

*Wide receiver Dante Pettis, playing in just his second game, increased the Giants' lead to 20-6 with the first touchdown of his three-season NFL career on a 33-yard pass from Jones with 45 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Pettis was awarded to the Giants off waivers on Nov. 4, a day after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. He spent 10 days on the Reserve/COVID-19 list before being reinstated on Dec. 1. Pettis scored his first touchdown on his 41st career reception.

*Gallman led the Giants' rushing attack with 65 yards on 11 carries. He led the Giants this season with career-high totals of 147 carries, 682 yards and six touchdowns.

*The Giants sacked Dallas quarterback Andy Dalton six times, their highest one-game total since they had six sacks in a loss in Washington on Nov. 23, 2017. It was their highest sack total in a victory since they had seven at Cleveland on Nov. 27, 2016.

*Leonard Williams led the sack parade with a career-high 3.0. Dalvin Tomlinson, Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell each had solo sacks.

*The Giants finished the season with 40 sacks, their highest total since they had 47 in 2014. Williams led the team with 11.5 sacks, the most by a Giants' player since Jason Pierre-Paul's 14.5 in 2014. The Giants had 36 sacks in 2019, led by Markus Golden's 10.

*Tomlinson became the first Giants defensive player to begin his career with the Giants and start each of his first 64 games in the league since the NFL went to 16 games in 1978. Former Giants Offensive lineman David Diehl, a fifth-round draft choice in 2003, holds the club record with 120 straight regular season starts to begin a career.

*Two linebackers – Martinez and rookie Tae Crowder – led the Giants with 11 tackles apiece.

*Rookie Xavier McKinney ended the Cowboys' final possession with his first career interception, picking off Dalton's pass in the end zone with 1:15 remaining.

*Kicker Graham Gano earned two lines in the Giants' record book. His 50-yard field goal with 6:27 remaining in the fourth quarter was his 30th consecutive successful attempt, a franchise record. He had shared the mark with Josh Brown, who hit 29 straight attempts in 2014-15. Gano made 31 of 32 attempts this season, a .9687 percentage that is the second highest in Giants history. In 2018, Aldrick Rosas made 32 of 33 attempts, a success rate of .9696.

*Gano kicked his fifth field goal this season of 50 or more yards, including four against the Cowboys. That is a franchise single-season record. Brown (2014) and Rosas (2018) each had four.

*Gano's extra point try after the Giants' first touchdown was wide left. This season, he missed more extra points (two) than field goals (one).

*Greg Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter is tied for the second-longest ever against the Giants. Green Bay's Mason Crosby kicked a 57-yarder in MetLife Stadium on Nov. 17, 2013. Current Dallas coach Mike McCarthy was then the Packers' head coach. Gano booted the longest field goal against the Giants, a 61-yarder for the Panthers at Carolina on Oct. 7, 2018.

*Zuerlein joined Tampa Bay's Ryan Succop as kickers with four field goals against the Giants this season.

*The Giants' inactive players were wide receiver Golden Tate (calf), defensive back Madre Harper, punter Ryan Santoso, offensive linemen Kyle Murphy and Jackson Barton and defensive end RJ McIntosh.


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