Game Review: Surge beats Giants in the second half

Much like the Cowboys themselves, Dak Prescott’s day consisted of two halves. In the first two quarters, he was a walker 6-for-10 for 116 yards without touchdowns and two interceptions for a 44.8 passer rating. But he would complete 15 of 20 passes for 145 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the second half to end the day with a respectable 91.1 passer rating.

CeeDee Lamb passed the century mark as he rushed for the second time this season, mixing in some highlight reel catches on his way to 106 yards. Michael Gallup also had his best game of the year with some powerful grabs that resulted in 63 receiving yards. Tight end Dalton Schultz also got involved, setting a personal best with two touchdowns that day.

The Cowboys also put in some effort on the ground, totaling 170 rushing yards, their fourth straight game to surpass 150. Ezekiel Elliott led with 92 yards on 16 carries while Tony Pollard had 60 more on 18 carries.

Similarly, Dallas’ defense improved throughout the day. Linebacker Micah Parsons added two more sacks, his sixth multi-sack game of the season, with defensive end Dorance Armstrong adding to his already lofty career-high total of eight sacks. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch led his team with eight tackles.

The Cowboys held Saquon Barkley, who came in second in the NFL in the rushing, to a paltry 39 yards while the Giants converted just 27 percent of their third-down chances. For the second straight week, Dallas also dominated possession time, 34:09 to 25:51.

The Giants came on the board first on their second possession thanks to a 57-yard field goal. When the Cowboys failed to get a fourth and a second at their own 40, New York was in great field position. A 23-yard connection put the Giants at the 17-yard line, and then Dallas paused when an apparent touchdown was recalled for an illegal downfield penalty. Shortly thereafter, the guests had to be content with the field goal.

Some apparent confusion on offense led to a Prescott interception, but a quick three-and-out and a punt put the Cowboys back in business right at their own 7-yard line. The third time was the stimulus as Dallas got their offense going this time. Gallup made three catches for 24 yards with Prescott and then fired a 25-yard dart at Lamb to put the Cowboys first-and-goal at the Giants’ 6-yard line in the final play of the first quarter.

They only needed one more snap to get into the end zone. Elliott finished the 11-play, 93-yard drive with a shot down the middle for his seventh rushing result of the season. That was Elliott’s 75th overall career touchdown, tying him with Dez Bryant for the fourth most in Cowboys history.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as the Giants responded immediately by going 75 yards to the goal line in nine games. Wideout Darius Slayton provided the big hit when he vaulted high above cornerback Anthony Brown and hauled in a 44-yard reception at the Cowboys 1-yard line. Two games later, Barkley stormed into the middle to put New York back in the lead 10-7.

Then disaster struck again. For the third time in the team’s last four games, Prescott threw an interception down the middle just before halftime. Again he tried to go to Lamb, but cornerback Darnay Holmes tipped the ball and safety Julian Love came down with the pick to give the Giants the ball at their own 27-yard line with 1:50 in the quarter.

Dallas appeared to retaliate when safety Donovan Wilson intercepted an offer from Daniel Jones, but cornerback Trevon Diggs was called out for illegal contact, the turnover nullified. Still alive, the Giants then reached the Cowboys’ 29-yard line. There, Graham Gano cleared the post from 47 yards out as the clock struck, and New York went into the break with a 13-7 lead.

After a pretty ugly first half, the Cowboys had to come out and make a statement. They did, marching 75 yards to the end zone in 14 games while eating up 7:39. Nine of those plays hit the ground, but it was a 15-yard pass from Prescott to tight end Schultz in the back left corner of the endzone that got the result.

Just as the Cowboys relegated to fourth place in their own territory in the first quarter, so did the Giants here in the third quarter. And the result was the same, Jones’ pass attempt to Barkley on the fourth and 1 at his own 45-yard line fell incomplete.

Only Dallas turned New York’s gift into a touchdown. Schultz got his second result of the day, a 6-yarder that sent him tumbling into the end zone. But the ride’s showstopper was Lamb. The star wideout made a spectacular one-handed catch on the left touchline while being handicapped for 21 yards to give Dallas the first hit.

The good times rolled on as the Cowboys scored their third straight touchdown of the second half on their next possession. This time it was a 10-play, 80-yard drive with rookie tight ends providing the highlights. Jake Ferguson took a short pass, pivoted up and overcame a would-be defender for a big 30-yard gain. The touchdown then came as Peyton Hendershot got in motion before accepting the handoff and running in untouched from two yards out.

All four tight ends on the team then celebrated with Schultz, Ferguson and Sean McKeon jumping into The Salvation Army Red Kettle while Hendershot played a quick game of Whack-a-Mole.

With that, there was really nothing to do but count down the clock and head home for a round of Thanksgiving leftovers. Brett Mahar got an opportunity for a 46-yard field goal, but turned his shot to the right. The Giants followed that up with another touchdown to round out the scoring, but it was too little, too late.

The Cowboys will now enjoy a long weekend, with second place in the division currently secure and the Philadelphia Eagles still in their sights.

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