by Drew Sarver
The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys meet today in a 4:25 PM EDT contest on Fox Sports. The NFC East rivals have met 105 times so far with Dallas holding a 59-43-2 edge and are the winners of the last two meetings.
The first time the Giants’ Eli Manning and the Cowboys’ Tony Romo faced off against each other was October 23, 2006, the first of 16 meetings between the two quarterbacks. The Giants took that first game with a big 36-22 road victory, but would finish 8-8, while the Cowboys were 9-7. The Cowboys gained a split of the series with a 23-20 win in December. Dallas dropped their playoff opener to Seattle when Romo dropped the snap as the holder on a potential game winning field goal against Seattle. He’s been much maligned ever since. (His dating Jessica Simpson didn’t help either.)
But this is about the the three most memorable wins for the Giants over the Cowboys since Manning and Romo became their team’s starting QBs.
January 13, 2008 Divisional Round of Playoffs
Dallas finished the regular season as the NFC leaders with a 13-3 record, three games ahead of the second place Giants. It earned Dallas a bye in the first round and the home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The two regular season meetings between the two squads resulted in a pair of Dallas wins – a 45-35 shootout on the first Sunday night of the season and a 31-20 Dallas win in week 10.
The final statistics of the playoff game showed Dallas with a 336-230 advantage in total yards and and 36 1/2 minutes of possession to the Giants 23 1/2. But the final score showed Giants 21 Cowboys 17.
The Giants took less than three minutes to get on the scoreboard first. Starting on their own 23, the Giants quickly moved towards midfield. Facing a 3rd-and-five from their own 43, Manning’s pass to Amani Toomer fell incomplete, but Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware was flagged for being offside. After Manning converted a 3rd-and-one, he found Toomer for what appeared to be a 10-yard completion.
But the Giants’ wide receiver slipped two tackles, got a big block from fullback Madison Hedgecock and raced to the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown. The drive consumed 2/3 of the Giants total yards for the day. The Cowboys answered back with a 96-yd drive that began late in the first quarter and ended on the first play of the second quarter when Romo found Terrell Owens in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown. It was a well thrown ball that went over the top of cornerback Corey Webster and settled in Owens hands just before he stepped out of bounds. The play was challenged by Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin, but was held up by review.
The Cowboys took the lead with 1:01 left in the first half on a Marion Barber 1-yard score, but the Giants move 71 yards in 36 seconds. Manning hooked up with Steve Smith on passes of 22 and 11 yards, with 15 more yards tacked on the latter play thanks to face mask penalty on DB Jacques Reeves. On 3rd-and-10, Manning found tight end Kevin Boss for 19 yards to the Cowboys’4-yard line where Manning found Toomer again to tie things up at 14 apiece.
Nick Folk‘s 34-yard FG gave the Cowboys a 17-14 lead after three quarters. After the teams exchanged punts, the Giants began the last scoring drive of the game. R.W. McQuarters returned the Cowboy’s punt 25 yards to the Dallas 37-yard line. Six plays later, Brandon Jacobs punched it in from the one to give the Giants a 21-17 lead.
The Cowboys were forced to punt in their first two possessions of the final quarter, but a Matt McBriar punt trapped the Giants back on their own 12-yard line with 3:46 left in regulation. The Cowboys defense got the job done – holding the Giants to a three-and-out – and took over at the Giants 48 after a Jeff Feagles punt. Romo found tight end/Giants killer Jason Witten for 18 yards to the Giants 22-yard line, but Dallas faced a fourth down after a short gain and two incompletions. Romo threw into double coverage in the endzone in attempt to find Terry Glenn, but McQuarters intercepted the pass to seal the Giants victory.
The Giants then beat Green Bay on the road and topped the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
December 11, 2011
The week 13 matchup had a big impact on the three-way battle between the Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles for the NFC East lead . The Cowboys entered the game at 7-5, while the Giants struggled their way to a 6-6 mark through 12 games. The game was about offense, with more than combined 700 total yards. Mannings’ 47-yard TD pass to Mario Manningham had given the Giants a 22-20 lead after three quarters.
But the Cowboys first drive of the 4th quarter resulted in a TD that took less than two minutes to complete. The big play was a 74-yard completion from Romo to receiver Laurent Robinson that set up a 6-yard TD pass to Miles Austin.
On the ensuing drive, the Giants moved from their own 20 to the Dallas 22, but Manning’s pass for D.J. Ware was picked off by Sean Lee and return 30 yards to the Giants 49. After a 1-yard loss, Romo and Dez Bryant hooked up on a 50-yard touchdown pass that put Dallas up 34-22 with just 5:52 to play. The Giants quickly countered back with a pair of completions to Cruz and another to Hakeem Nicks that moved the ball to the Cowboys 32. A 24 completion to Nicks gave them a first down at the Cowboys 8-yard line. Two plays later, Manning connected with tight end Jake Ballard to cut the lead to 34-29 with 3:20 left in the 4th.
The Giants had two timeouts and the two minute warning remaining when the Cowboys got the ball at their own 20-yard line following a touchback. The Giants got what they needed, a three-and-out series, and Coughlin used one of his remaining timeouts to stop the clock. A poor punt by McBride gave the Giants the ball at their own 42 with 2:12 left in regulation.
Manning hit Ballard with a 21-yard completion and then the Giants moved five more yards on Ware’s second offsides penalty of the game. With the ball on the Dallas 24-yard line and incomplete pass was negated by a defensive holding penalty on cornerback Frank Walker. The automatic first down moved the ball to the 19 and then Manning found Ballard again for an 18-yard gain to the 1. Now it was Dallas’ turn to burn their second timeout with one minute left in regulation.
On his second attempt, Brandon Jacobs carried the ball across the end zone for a go ahead touchdown. The Giants tacked on a two-point conversion when DJ Ware went through right tackle to find the end zone. A 12-point deficit turned inito a 3-point Giants’ lead in four minutes-fifty seconds. The Cowboys would have one more shot to keep the game going on the leg of rookie Dan Bailey, who is still a member of the Cowboys today and one of the best kickers in the league.
With the aid of 22- and 23-yard completions to Miles Austin, Romo led the Cowboys from their own 20 to the Giants 29-yard line in 38 seconds. Romo spiked the ball to stop the clock with eight seconds remaining in the 4th quarter as Bailey trotted on to the field. Just before the ball was snapped, the Giants used their final timeout. Already in motion, Bailey kicked the ball right down the middle, but the field goal didn’t count. On his second attempt, the Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul partially blocked the kick and the Giants had their victory.
New Years Day, 2012
The final game of the season would determine which team, the Giants or Cowboys, would go to the playoff and which team would go home. Both teams entered the January 1, 2012 contest with 8-7 records. The game was three weeks after the Giants surprise come from behind road victory in Dalass.
Unlike their previous meeting, however, this game was primarily in the Giants control.. With the game scoreless midway through the 1st quarter, the Giants got the ball on their own 4-yard line. Manning completed a 3rd-and-9 pass to tight end Bear Pascoe to keep possession of the football. In the previous week’s win over the New York Jets, Cruz took a short pass and turned it into a 90-yard TD reception. Against the Cowboys he did it again. On 3rd-and-1, Manning found Cruz at the Giants 31-yard line. With the help of a block, the sasa-dancing receiver blew past the defense and ran 74 yards for the first score of the day.
The Giants quickly got the ball back when defense held the Cowboys to a three-and-out. The Giants used a 10 play drive that spanned the first and second quarters to take a 14-0 lead. Ahmad Bradshaw finished the drive off with a 5-yard TD run.
The Giants last possession of the half resulted in another Bradshaw touchdown. The Gmen went 80 yards, thanks in part to a Bradshaw 29-yard run, and scored when Manning tossed a short pass to Bradshaw that resulted in a 12-yard TD. Bailey had a rare miss, from 52 yards, to keep Dallas off the scoreboard in the first half.
The Cowboys finally came alive in the third quarter. On their first possession, which began at their own 6-yard line, Dallas drove to the Giants’ 34. Romo then hooked up with Robinson for a 34-yard scoring play. The score would remain 21-7 until the 4th quarter when the Cowboys took over at the Giants 26-yard line after a short Steve Weatherford punt and a 13-yard Dez Bryant return. Three plays later, Romo and Robinson again combined for a score, this time a 6-yard TD pass. Up 21-14, the Giants suddenly found themselves in a much tougher situation.
A Lawrence Tynes‘ field goal added some breathing room and the Giants held the Cowboys to a punt on the ensuing possession aided by a Chris Canty sack. Chris Jones shanked the punt and the Giants got he ball at the Cowboys 45-yard line. After a couple of Bradsaw runs netted five yards, Manning threw to Nicks for a 36 yard gain to the Cowboys 4. After a Dallas timeout, Manning went to Nicks again for a touchdown.
The Cowboys got the ball back, down 10 with 3:46 remaining in regulation. The Cowboys got out to their own 46 before Justin Tuck strip-sacked Romo and the Giants’ Matthias Kiwanuka fell on the ball to put the finishing touches on the Giants win.
The Giants topped the Falcons at home, Green Bay and San Francisco on the road, and topped the Patriots in the Super Bowl for the second time five seasons.
Drew Sarver is the founder, publisher, managing editor, and a contributor for Designated For Assignment. He can be followed on twitter at @mypinstripes and @d4assignment or contacted by email at email@example.com.