ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Eli Manning and the New York Giants finally have something to show for all their hard work — first place in the NFC East.
On the verge of being knocked to the edge of the playoff chase, Manning led the Giants to two touchdowns in the final 3:14 and Jason Pierre-Paul blocked a field goal as time expired, giving New York a 37-34 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
“Good to get that winning feeling again,” Manning said.
New York ended a frustrating four-game losing streak filled mostly with narrow losses to division leaders. The Giants (7-6) appeared headed to another setback when they were trailing 34-22 with 5:41 left, but a series of clutch plays on their part and meltdowns by Dallas reshaped the division race.
With three weeks left, these clubs are tied atop the NFC East. New York has the inside track and will host Dallas in a season-ending rematch on New Year’s Day.
The Cowboys lost their second straight, both in dramatic, frustrating fashion that involved missed kicks by rookie Dan Bailey, who’d been so good for so long this season. The really bad news for Dallas was running back DeMarco Murray breaking his right ankle, ending his record-setting rookie season.
Manning was 27 of 47 for 400 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted once, on a tipped pass, and it led to a touchdown that appeared to put the game away for Dallas.
But Manning came back with a pair of touchdown drives. The first went 80 yards in eight plays, capped by an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jake Ballard. The New York defense had allowed Tony Romo to throw touchdown passes on the two previous possessions, but it forced a punt, and it was a short one. Then the Dallas defense had two penalties that helped scoot along a drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Brandon Jacobs, with D.J. Ware adding a 2-point conversion.
Romo hit Miles Austin for a pair of long gains that gave Bailey a chance to force overtime. He made a 47-yarder that ended up not counting because New York coach Tom Coughlin called a timeout. His second try was denied by Pierre-Paul, who already had contributed an early sack for a safety.
“Guys stepped up and made some big plays,” Manning said.
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(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.)