Miles Austin had a chance to bury the Giants' playoff hopes four weeks ago.
During the first edition in Dallas, the Cowboys wide receiver blew right by cornerback Aaron Ross down the seam. The Giants had brought an all-out blitz in the fourth quarter, leaving him wide open for Tony Romo that would have been a sure touchdown.
It was debated whose fault it was, but regardless, the pass fell a few feet in front of Austin and bounced to the turf incomplete. It would have been the knockout blow to put the Cowboys up by 11 points late in the fourth quarter. However, Eli Manning and the Giants took over with 2:12 to go.
The rest, as they say, was history.
In a game predicated on communication breakdowns in the Giants' secondary, Austin caught four passes for 63 yards and a touchdown in the Dec. 11 meeting. Ross and company had greater success this Sunday in the winner-take-all, limiting the two-time Pro Bowler to two catches for a meager 20 yards and no touchdowns.
"We put a good game plan together, and we executed basically," Ross said after the game. "The offense got off to a fast start, and we fed off of each other. That's basically what happened."
Ross' up-and-down campaign has been emblematic of the defense and the Giants as a whole this season. Winning three of the last four, the Giants defense is coming together at the right time.
Ross recalled the low point of the season when they followed up the thriller in Dallas with a disappointing loss at home to the Redskins, placing the Giants outside of the playoff bubble looking in.
"We're the Giants," Ross said. "Never give up on us. We're going to fight to the end. We believe in each other. We believe in the coaches. Coaches believe in the players. As long as we believe in one another, the sky's the limit…That's always the dream – to win the Super Bowl. In order to win the Super Bowl, you've got to win your division. So we took one off the board and we're heading to the next one."
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