ARLINGTON, Texas – Daniel Jones threw it skyward, and Darius Slayton soared to the moon and snatched the ball from Anthony Brown, 44 yards down and one to go, and two plays later, Saquon Barkley was in the end zone, and Jerry The World sat in stunned silence.
It was Giants 10, Cowboys 7, 9:28 before halftime.
Exhausted and decimated Giants 10, Cowboys 7.
And then Darnay Holmes swung a Dak Prescott pass through the air against CeeDee Lamb and Julian Love accepted the gift interception, the second thrown by Prescott, at NYG 10 just after the two-minute warning.
Exhausted, decimated Giants 13, Cowboys 7 at halftime.
It was a workout clinic hosted by Brian Daboll and DC Wink Martindale.
But you play 60 minutes, or all the coaching genius in the world won’t matter.
The Cowboys’ talent advantage returned all the resilience, combat and mental toughness the Giants could muster.
End result: Daniel Jones and the Giants — 28-20 losers — brought a water gun to a shootout.
It was inevitable that their defense would break and not just fold.
Boy, could they use Odell Beckham Jr.
Jones could have used name tags to identify some of the bodyguards who valiantly stopped Micah Parsons and the rest of the Cowboys predators from turning him into a turducken on the first Thanksgiving of his life.
He tried to be the gladiator inside Jerry Jones’ screaming Coliseum, but he couldn’t play Russell Crowe.
The Cowboys weren’t about to let Barkley (11 carries/39 yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 4-13 receptions) impose his will on the day.
But here’s what Daniel Jones and the Giants had to do before they even boarded their flight home:
It’s a game.
You are 7-4.
The playoffs are always there for you.
Don’t let this turn into Black Friday.
No time for Thanksgrieving.
Mom said there would be days like this.
Daboll said there would be bumps in the road.
There are no tears in football, and no excuses.
And no medals for trying.
The Giants look like a team that needs to be healthy by commanders Dec. 4.
A team without half of its starting secondary, three-fifths of its starting offensive line and, OMG, that wide receiver corps.
Daboll tried to revive his attack late in the third quarter.
He was fourth and first in NYG 45 at the end of the third quarter, Cowboys 14, Giants 13, when Daboll launched there, and Barkley could not correlate a short, less than perfect pitch from Jones while falling backward.
And it was basically a ball game.
Because soon Prescott was rolling right and found Dalton Schultz with a 6-yard TD pass and it was Cowboys 21, Giants 13.
And soon, someone named Jake Ferguson jumped Jason Pinnock in the open field, and the Giants were killed on the road.
The Cowboys had shown complete disregard for the threat Jones presented them when they went fourth-and-second to the Dallas 40 on their first possession and paid for it when Jaylon Smith and Jason Pinnock stuffed Ezekiel Elliott and Graham Gano threw a 57-yard FG.
And then Rodarius Williams intercepted Prescott.
Every step of the way, the Giants had no margin for error
To wit: Nick McCloud couldn’t afford to miss a punt at the Dallas 1 and let it squirt into a touchback.
Tire Phillips couldn’t be the ineligible man on the field on a 24-yard TD pass from Jones to Isaiah Hodgins.
Holmes could not have been flagged for illegal contact on a failed third conversion that would have forced the Cowboys to go for a field goal.
Holmes could not have been flagged for holding a missed third-and-seven early in the third quarter nor beaten minutes later on third-and-twelfth by Lamb for 14 yards on the drive that ended with Prescott shooting a 15-yard TD. passes to Schultz against McCloud on third base which made Cowboys 14, Giants 13.
Slayton’s grab was a case of even a blind squirrel finding an acorn. The best team won.