ARLINGTON, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys played to their food to start a Thanksgiving contest against the New York Giants before hitting a pace and pile up.
At the end of the meal, the Cowboys pulled off a 28-20 win over their NFC East rival that wasn’t as close as a last minute Giants touchdown looked.
Dallas powered another game to two sacks by favored Defensive Player of the Year Micah Parsons, the Cowboys’ two-headed rushing attack, and a near-perfect passing game by quarterback Dak Prescott in the second half to win their second game in five days.
The result: Dallas, improving to 8-3, has a solid hold on second place in the division. The Cowboys swept the Giants in this season’s series.
Dallas entered the game as a heavy favorite for a reason: The Giants are wracked with injuries, including along the offensive line, at catcher and in their secondary. However, they played through a difficult first half and effectively forced three turnovers from the home side.
Dallas turned the ball over on downs when Giants and former Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith blocked Ezekiel Elliott on fourth and second attempts. Prescott and his receivers also appeared to miscommunicate twice on what turned out to be interceptions, first by Giants cornerback Rodarius Williams on a sideline pass intended for Michael Gallup and immediately after on an over-the-middle target by CeeDee Lamb instead. grabbed by security Julian Love.
At halftime, the Cowboys were lucky to trail only 13-7, New York’s touchdown was on an impressive 44-yard catch by receiver Darius Slayton that set up a touchdown punch by 1 yard rushing back Saquon Barkley.
After halftime, however, the Cowboys took control. They retook the lead with a 75-yard, 14-play touchdown drive in which third-down demons were exorcised and receiver CeeDee Lamb’s left hand was enough. Tight end Dalton Schultz scored his first of two touchdowns on a 15-yard dart from Prescott. And in an improvement on the philosophy of sideline football, the Cowboys defense shut out the Giants in the second half on two turnovers on downs and a subsequent punt.
The game sent interesting mixed messages for lottery Odell Beckham Jr.. On the one hand, Dallas showed why the veteran receiver returning from a torn ACL would be more likely to advance to the postseason with the Cowboys than his first team, the Giants . On the other hand, the Cowboys’ passing game didn’t appear to be without targets. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb surpassed 100 yards (106) with just six catches, Michael Gallup had his best post-ACL performance with a day of five catches and 63 yards, and the Cowboys’ deep tight end room had three touchdown while moving the ball 82 yards adding to their blocking contributions.
Perhaps two moments sum up the Cowboys’ performance best.
There was Prescott’s 15-yard completion to Lamb despite a literal punch in the stomach by Giants passer Kayvon Thibodeaux, an apt metaphor for how the Cowboys took hits (some self-inflicted) early on but eventually drove toward victory.
And then there was the celebration — yes, we’re discussing a touchdown celebration — after rookie undrafted tight end Peyton Hendershot scored in the fourth quarter to cap Dallas’ eighth win of the season.
Hendershot and the other three Cowboys tight ends for the score — yes, Dallas ran a pack of four tight ends and it wasn’t even National Tight Ends Day — headed for Salvation Army Red Kettle beyond the end zone. Schultz, rookie Jake Ferguson, and tight end Sean McKeon jumped into the kettle, as the Cowboys, including Elliott, had done in the past.
Hendershot grabbed the ball as his position mates alternately popped out, in what was undoubtedly a delightful game of Whack-A-Mole.
In the end, that’s what this divisive contest in the Thanksgiving game became: a mole-smashing contest in which six different Cowboys guns became a collective problem that the Giants’ battered defense could no longer handle, while the rush on Dallas’ pass he played hits defensively. mole who repeatedly pressured Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, including seven hits and three sacks.
Jones completed the game 21 of 35 with 228 yards, one touchdown and no errors. Slayton, with his 44-yard catch, led all Giants skill players with 63 yards as Dallas’ improving run defense held Barkley to 39 yards on 11 carries and 13 yards on six targets (four catches) .
Prescott completed 21 of 30 attempts, including 11 of 14 shooting in the second half, for 261 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Elliott rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown.