ARLINGTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 24: Dalton Schultz #86 of the Dallas Cowboys scores a touchdown during the second half in the game against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on November 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
The Cowboys (8-3) used a stout running game and big plays in the second half to beat their NFC East rival New York Giants (7-4), on Thanksgiving Day, 28-20, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Tight ends produce
It was a big day for the Cowboys’ tight ends, with Jake Ferguson, Dalton Schultz, and Peyton Hendershot having big days in the win on Thursday afternoon.
Ferguson, who leapt a defender on a 30-yard catch and run in the second half, led the duo with 57 yards on three catches.
While Ferguson was making the spectacular plays, Schultz was putting points on the board. Schultz caught a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes from Dak Prescott while making four catches for 31 yards.
Hendershot did not have a catch, but he did get one carry and scored on a two-yard run midway through the fourth quarter to push the Cowboys’ lead to 28-13.
Prescott raises play
After struggling through the first half with a pair of turnovers, the Cowboys quarterback picked up his game in the second half. His play brought the Cowboys from six down to a 15-point win.
Prescott finished with 261 yards passing, and two touchdown passes, both to Dalton Schultz, on 21 completions. He was 11-of-14 for 145 yards in the second half, as he raised his play when the Cowboys needed it most.
In the first half, Prescott’s accuracy did him no favors. While he was 10-of-16 for 116 yards, he had two costly interceptions in the opening 30 minutes of play. The second of the two coming as the Cowboys looked to put up points late in the second quarter and trailing 10-7.
Prescott’s throw was behind CeeDee Lamb at the New York 10-yard line, which Julian Love grabbed on the deflection. The Giants turned that pick into a Graham Gano 47-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
Running game dominates
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott had his biggest game of the season, putting to rest talk about his injured knee that had him sidelined earlier in the season.
Elliott rushed for 92 yards on 16 carries, including one touchdown.
Tony Pollard was the perfect complement, rushing for 60 yards on 18 carries. He also caught two passes for two yards.
CeeDee Lamb added 11 yards on two carries, while Dak Prescott had just one carry for five yards.
Tight end Peyton Hendershot had the only other run for the Cowboys, a two-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Elliott got the Cowboys off to a big start in the first, rushing for 61 yards on seven carries. He had a 22-yard run, his longest in the game, as well as the Cowboys only touchdown of the first half. Pollard, who had more carries with nine, had just 19 yards.
Barkley shut down
Giants running back Saquon Barkley came into Thursday’s game as the NFL’s second-leading rusher, but for the second game this season, the Cowboys shut him down.
Barkley, who had 81 yards on 14 carries in the Cowboys’ win over New York in Week 3, finished with 39 yards on 11 carries, including the Giants’ only touchdown in the game.
It was not the run that had the Cowboys confused in the first half; it was the passing game the Giants brought to AT&T Stadium. Dallas held New York to 44 yards on 12 carries in the opening 30 minutes and Barkley to just 29 yards on eight carries.
The Giants ended the night with 90 yards rushing on 21 carries, good enough for just a 4.28-yard-per-carry average.
Third Down defense
The Cowboys’ defense kept Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense in check on the plays that counted most. They held the Giants to three-of-11 on third downs in the game.
Dallas also stopped Saquon Barkley on a fourth-and-one run in the first half, the Giants’ first attempt on fourth down in the game. They went for it on fourth-and-9 late in the fourth quarter, but Jones was again off target on his pass.
The Cowboys forced four Jamie Gillan punts for New York.