New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning stood on the sideline hoping for another shot.
But when it finally came, the Dallas Cowboys had made the matter moot.
After Manning led New York on a touchdown drive with 5:28 remaining to pull the Giants to within 28-21 on Sunday at AT&T Stadium, the pressure fell on the Cowboys’ offense to secure the win.
It did, as DeMarco Murray rushed for 26 of his 128 yards with seven carries on the final drive to set up Dan Bailey’s 49-yard game-sealing field goal.
Manning and the Giants (3-4) did get the ball back trailing by 10 and with less than a minute remaining. Giants tight end Larry Donnell fumbled for the second time in the fourth quarter to clinch the Cowboys’ 31-21 win.
It was tough to swallow for Manning after he led his team on an 11-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham to make it a one-score game.
Manning finished with 248 yards and completed 21 of 33 passes, including three touchdowns.
“About five minutes left to go in the game, you’re thinking you hopefully get one more shot,” Manning said. “Just hoping to get another opportunity to go try to tie it up, but they did a good job. They ran the ball well. Tony [Romo] made some nice throws.”
Too much Murray
The Giants’ defense couldn’t stop the Cowboys when it needed to late. Especially on third down. On a crucial third-and-1 with 4:04 still on the clock, Murray was able to squirt threw for 8 yards and even put Dallas into field-goal range. Dallas converted on 9 of 14 third downs.
“They’re feeding him and he’s doing a good job of finding holes and being patient,” Giants defensive end Robert Ayers said.
Tough day for Donnell
Two fumbles in the fourth quarter by Donnell helped doom the Giants’ chances.
Barry Church stripped the ball from Donnell’s grip early in the fourth and Justin Durant recovered at the Giants’ 27, setting up a Cowboys’ touchdown a few plays later to stretch their lead to 28-14 lead.
“It’s obvious you’ve got to be able to hang onto the football. You say it until you’re blue in the face and out pops three balls today,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.
The Giants recovered one of the three fumbles.
With the game out of reach, Donnell fumbled again with less than 30 seconds left as Durant knocked it loose and Henry Melton recovered to seal the Dallas win.
Donnell did lead the Giants with seven catches for 90 yards.
11 Interceptions for the Giants, including one on Sunday against the Cowboys, which leads the league.
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back) did not play.
LB Jon Beason (toe) did not play in the second half.
DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not play in the second half. He’ll get an MRI on Monday.
“They’ve always been tough to stop. We’ve had a lot of games that have proven that. I just think their execution is very good and, of course, they’re running the ball and they have players that can make big plays for them.” — Giants coach Tom Coughlin on the Cowboys’ offense.