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By Gary W. Marchese Jr.
East Rutherford, NJ – The New York Giants defeated the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night by the score of 31-14. The win gave the Giants the NFC East Championship and a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2008. The Giants will take on the Atlanta Falcons next Sunday at home in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Eli Manning was brilliant once again and Victor Cruz who has become a household name this season came up big again. The Giants defense which has been maligned for most of the season had another strong game especially rushing the passer.
Manning was 24-33 for 346 yards, three touchdowns and he didn’t throw an interception. Ahmad Bradshaw rushed 16 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Jacobs rushed seven times for 16 yards, D.J. Ware carried it twice for 19 yards and Manning rushed six times for 14 yards. The leading receiver was Cruz who caught six balls for 178 yards and a touchdown. Hakeem Nicks caught five passes for 76 yards and a touchdown. Henry Hynoski the fullback had four catches for 31 yards, Bear Pascoe had two catches for 14 yards and Devin Thomas had a catch for 14 yards. Travis Beckum had two catches for 13 yards, Bradshaw had three catches for 12 yards and a touchdown and Ware had one catch for eight yards. Lawrence Tynes made 1-2 field goals. He missed a 40 yard field goal.
The Giants had six sacks after they had five last week so the vaunted pass rush is coming back to life after not doing anything since the beginning of the season. The Giants have dealt with a lot of injuries and with their four main pass rushers playing together now they may be peaking at the right time. The sacks came from Jason Pierre-Paul, Jaquin Williams, Chris Canty, Justin Tuck and two from Osi Umenyiora who made his return after missing four straight games.
Tony Romo was 29-37 for 289 yards two touchdowns and an interception. Felix Jones rushed the ball 11 times for 30 yards, Sammy Morris rushed it three times for 16 yards and Romo had two rushes for three yards. Romo deserves a lot of credit as he was hurting from his hand and he was really getting beat up back there but he tried to rally the team from a 21 point defecit. Dez Bryant led the Cowboys receivers with six catches for 70 yards. Jason Witten caught seven passes for 69 yards, Jones caught seven passes for 47 yards and Laurent Robinson caught four passes for 61 yards and two touchdowns. Miles Austin caught two passes for 20 yards, Tony Fiammetta caught one pass for 14 yards. Bennett caught one pass for five yards and Morris one for three yards. The kicker missed his only field goal attempt which was from 56 yards.
The Cowboys defense was able to get a couple of sacks on Manning who has been so good at escaping pressure. Ware got 1 ½ sacks and Jason Hatcher had ½ a sack. Abram Elam led the team with nine tackles and an assist.
The Giants at 9-7 won the NFC East and will host the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the playoffs next Sunday at 1:00PM. The Cowboys finish their season at 8-8 and will go home. If the Giants win that game then they will play either the Green Bay Packers or San Francisco 49ers away.