A tale of two halves: Dallas scores 21 unanswered in latter half of 28-20 win over Giants

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 24: CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys catches a pass while defended by Darnay Holmes #30 of the New York Giants during the second half at AT&T Stadium on November 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

A tale of two halves: Dallas scores 21 unanswered in latter half of 28-20 win over Giants

This was a much-needed win for the Cowboys as they took a 28-20 victory over the New York Giants in Dallas to secure second place in the division. It was a tale of two halves for the Cowboys, as they did not hit their stride until the second half began. The first half of play was filled with penalties and offensive mistakes, while the offense started firing on all cylinders later in the game.

Despite a rough first half, the Cowboys led in virtually every offensive category. Dallas had 430 total yards for the game and went seven-of-11 on third down. They controlled time of possession and punted only once.

Where Dallas lost was on two key areas that need to be addressed. The Cowboys committed 13 penalties and turned the ball over twice. They continue to be the most penalized team in the NFL, and it could cost them in the postseason as games get more challenging.

Now for more positive. Dallas did most of their damage in the second half scoring 21 unanswered points after trailing at halftime. That was in large part to Dak Prescott putting it together as the game progressed. After throwing two interceptions in the first half, Dak was nearly perfect in the latter half. Dak finished 21-of-30 for 261 yards and two touchdowns to go along with the two interceptions.

Dallas continued to run the football effectively with Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott was the leading rusher in this one, as he carried for 92 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Pollard complemented that with 60 yards on 18 carries of his own. Additionally, rookie TE Peyton Hendershot had one carry for two yards that resulted in a score.

CeeDee Lamb put up his second 100-plus yard game of the season, pulling in six catches for 106 yards. Lamb made a number of acrobatic catches over the course of the game and seems to be showing more qualities of a true top target as the season goes along. Dalton Schultz had two scores in the game, doubling what he had prior to this matchup. Schultz and rookie Jake Ferguson combined for 88 yards receiving on seven catches.

The Dallas defense continues to do its job as the top defense in all of football. Most impressive was that they held star RB Saquon Barkley to just 39 yards rushing on 11 carries. Barkley scored a touchdown on a one-yard run to go along with his subpar day. The Giants did a better job than expected at keeping pressure away from QB Daniel Jones, but the rush still made an impact. Micah Parsons again got on the board with two sacks in this one totaling 11 for the season.

The Giants would start with the football and show some offensive creativity from the jump. A short play-action screen to Lawrence Cager would be good for 20 yards on the opening play. However, the Dallas defense would stiffen on the next set of downs forcing the Giants to punt, giving the Cowboys the ball with just over two minutes played in the game.

Dallas would start at their own 20-yard line and immediately show how aggressive they wanted to be. The Cowboys would take a couple of shots downfield, but none would come to fruition. They would not wait to make a controversial coaching decision going for it on fourth and two from their own 40-yard line. The play would result in a turnover on downs giving the Giants great field position on the Cowboys’ side of the field.

The Giants would strike first on their next possession on a 57-yard Graham Gano field goal, putting them up 3-0 with just under 10 minutes to go in the first quarter. Penalties got the best of the Giants on this drive, as two big ones forced them out of a touchdown chance, including one that wiped a score off the board.

On Dallas’ next possession, they would go back to their commitment to running the football, which has been proven to work for this offense. However, the drive would end abruptly as Dak Prescott threw his fifth interception of the season on a pass intended for Michael Gallup. Giants’ rookie DE Kayvon Thibodeaux jumped on the hard count without crossing the neutral zone; however, the Cowboys’ offense thought he had, causing Dak to make an ill-advised free-play type throw. The Giants would get the ball back at their own 31-yard line with just over seven minutes to play in the first.

Nothing would come of the Giants’ drive off the interception as the Dallas defense continued to pressure Daniel Jones and contain Saquon Barkley in the run game forcing a three-and-out.

Dallas’ next drive would leak into the early second quarter and result in their first score of the game. They would embark on an 11-play drive starting from the Dallas seven-yard line, ending in a six-yard touchdown run from Ezekiel Elliott, giving the Cowboys a 7-3 lead. Dak finally looked to be in rhythm completing all four of his pass attempts on the drive, including a 25-yard strike to CeeDee Lamb to put Dallas in the red zone.

The Giants would answer right back on their next drive with a touchdown of their own. After a 44-yard completion downfield to Darius Slayton, Saquon Barkley punched in a 1-yard touchdown run to give New York a 10-7 lead with nine and a half minutes to play in the half.

After both teams traded scoreless possessions, Dallas would start a promising drive with about seven and a half minutes to go in the half. However, Dak would throw his second interception of the game on a pass over the middle intended for CeeDee Lamb at the Giants 10-yard line. Julian Love came down with the pick killing the momentum for Dallas.

With under two minutes in the half, the Giants would go on a nine-play drive resulting in a 47-yard field goal giving the Giants a 13-7 lead to end the first half. The Cowboys struggled with penalties late in the first half and could not move the ball consistently in either facet.

The Cowboys started with the football to start the second half and finally found some ground offensively. They led a 15-play drive taking up half of the third quarter resulting in a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz, putting Dallas on top 14-13. Despite the numerous penalties on Dallas during the drive, they were able to find the end zone for a lead.

Dallas’ defense would step up in a big way on the Giants’ next possession forcing a turnover on downs near midfield. They brought consistent pressure on Daniel Jones, sacking him once on the drive allowing Dallas to get the ball back in New York territory.

The offense would take advantage of that opportunity tacking on another much-needed touchdown adding to their lead. After a one-handed 21-yard catch from Lamb, the Cowboys would score on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Dak to Dalton Schultz, giving Dallas a 21-13 lead with two minutes left in the third quarter.

The Dallas defense held up for the entirety of the third quarter allowing the Cowboys to gain momentum in the second half. The next Cowboy drive would make it 21 unanswered points for Dallas in the second half as they had another successful possession. The 11-play drive would result in a two-yard touchdown run from rookie TE Peyton Hendershot giving Dallas a 28-13 lead with just under nine minutes to go in the game.

The previous play almost turned into another circus catch from CeeDee Lamb. Another one-handed catch in the back of the end zone; however, the officials would rule it incomplete with replay review upholding that ruling as he did not get both feet in bounds.

The Giants would move the ball on the next possession on an 11-play drive; however, the Dallas defense would hold, keeping the score 28-13 with just over three minutes to play.

Dallas would miss on the opportunity to score points on their final drive due to a missed 46-yard field goal from Brett Maher, but it gave the Giants just over a minute to put up two touchdowns for an opportunity to tie the game.

The Giants would score a touchdown on their last drive with just eight seconds left on the clock. Daniel Jones completed a one-yard touchdown pass to Richie James to cut the lead to 28-20 in favor of Dallas.

The Giants’ last hope fell in the hands of an onside kick, which would go unsuccessful, sealing the win for Dallas 28-20 at AT&T Stadium. Dallas moves to 8-3 taking sole possession of second place in the NFC East as the Giants fall to 7-4 and third place in the division.

The Cowboys will stay put in Dallas for their second game of a three-game home stand as they take on the Indianapolis Colts next Sunday night.

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