Much had transpired since opening day when Eli Manning rallied the New York Giants in the fourth quarter to a 20-19 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, ruining rookie quarterback Dak Prescott’s debut.
Dallas came in Sunday 11-1 with an 11-game winning streak. The Giants were 8-4, but had a six-game winning streak ended last week against Pittsburgh.
But rookie coach Ben McAdoo’s club still had the inside track on a wild-card playoff spot when they met on the icy Met Life Stadium Field Sunday night.
Behind a spectacular defensive effort, which sacked Prescott twice and also intercepted him twice, the Giants took a 10-7 win to complete the season sweep.
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The game-winner came late in the third quarter when Eli Manning hooked up with Odell Beckham Jr. on a 61-yard slant pattern in which he outran Brandon Carr to the end zone.
“We had to wake up at some point,” Beckham told NBC Sports afterward, “This was an amazing atmosphere and we knew what was on the line.
“But our defense is what held us together.”
Beckham finished with four catches for 94 yards.
Other than one late first-quarter breakdown — on which the Giants bit on Prescott’s fake pitch to Ezekiel Elliott while Terrance Williams streaked uncovered downfield for a 31-yard touchdown catch — the Giants defense had all the answers.
The defense got a huge assist from punter Brad Wing, who consistently bottled up Dallas deep in its own territory. He had five punts downed inside the 20 and had a long of 57 yards.
For the night, the Cowboys converted 1 of 15 third downs.
The Giants defense played without Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered a groin injury in last week’s loss to the Steelers and is out indefinitely.
However, rookie Romeo Okwara replaced the injured Pierre-Paul in the lineup and finished with eight tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, three quarterback hits and a pass defensed.