Cowboys vs. Giants score: Dallas rolls over rivals as New York loses Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones to injuries

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Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

It was a matchup headlined by Dak Prescott playing his first game against the New York Giants since suffering a season-ending fractured ankle against them in Week 5 of the 2020 season, and he'd land his vengeance in a big way when the Dallas Cowboys landed a 44-20 victory at AT&T Stadium to dig into the top spot of the NFC East standings a bit more. And it's a game that saw the Giants lose more than just the contest itself, with quarterback Daniel Jones joining running back Saquon Barkley as two franchise players carted off with a concussion and ankle injury, respectively. 

But prior to New York racking up injuries that included receiver Kenny Golladay being ruled out with a knee injury, they were having issues scoring against Dallas. The Giants defense came out firing, but it wasn't rewarded for its efforts, with kicker Graham Gano missing his first field goal attempt and the team mustering only 13 points in the first half before losing Jones and Golladay. (And this was against a Cowboys defense that was without the services of starting defensive linemen DeMarcus Lawrence and Neville Gallimore.)

On a day wherein Prescott was looking to exorcise the final demon of his 2020 season, he and his offense would do just that to go along with another round of complementary football from their defensive counterparts. With Sunday now in the books in the NFC East, two teams that were heading in very different directions going into Week 5 are picking up speed -- in the same directions they were already traveling. 

Why the Cowboys won

Prescott didn't get off to the best start, as the Cowboys coughed up the ball twice in the first quarter, both times on promising drives, but it was his resolve that ended up blinding Big Blue. His first error was a tip drill created by defensive lineman Lorenzo Carter, who reeled it in for his very own interception, and the Cowboys ended the quarter with Prescott fumbling a snap on the Giants five-yard line -- which they recovered. And in a game now headlined by the loss of Barkley, who was ruled out quickly after being carted off into the locker room in the first quarter with an ankle injury, the Giants took every bit of good fortune the Cowboys gave them. That is, until the gifts ceased.

Thanks to a smothering Cowboys defensive effort, Jones wasn't been able to capitalize on either of those takeaways early in the game. Instead, he narrowly missed throwing at least two interceptions to record-setting cornerback Trevon Diggs and was under siege for much of the first half. The Giants only mustered a field goal after Gano missed one in the first quarter following the aforementioned Prescott interception.  Prescott simply wouldn't be held down by errors, throwing a 49-yard touchdown bomb to CeeDee Lamb to remind the Giants of his lethality in the air. Meanwhile, Ezekiel Elliott (and to a lesser but still very impactful degree, Tony Pollard) had his way on the ground. 

Elliott rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, bringing his total production in the last four games combined to 468 yards from scrimmage with five touchdowns and a 5.66 yards per carry average. Pollard added 103 yards from scrimmage of his own against the Giants, and Prescott tried to scrape the rest of the meat off of their bones with 302 passing yards and three TDs. And then there was the defense, with defensive end Randy Gregory harassing both Jones and Mike Glennon all night while Diggs grabbed his sixth interception and narrowly missed on having a three-interception game. By the time Anthony Brown added a pick-six to the final score, the Giants were bloodied, beaten, flustered and flailing, and to the point they'll likely get a call from the league's front office for their late-game antics. 

The Cowboys aren't whole yet roster-wise and are still working to eliminate mistakes, yet despite those things, they're still good enough to throttle opponents in ways only elite teams can.

Why the Giants lost

Jones and the Giants offense found momentum late in the first half, but another stout Cowboys defensive stand cost them the abilities of Jones -- who was carted to the locker room for a concussion evaluation after being noticeably woozy following a tackle on third-and-goal. They'd score a touchdown on the drive to tie things up, but Prescott found Amari Cooper for a 24-yard strike on the following drive to take the lead back before they headed to the locker room, and that wasn't the last time Dallas would answer a punch with a haymaker. 

In the second half, it was all about seeing if Glennon could shock the world, with Jones being ruled out due to a concussion, and without Golladay who, like Barkley and Jones, was ruled out of the game with what was listed as a knee injury. But even without Golladay, the day belonged to rookie first-round pick Kadarius Toney, who had his coming out party against the Cowboys. Toney racked up 189 receiving yards on 10 catches and Dallas defense had no answer for him, because Diggs can't cover everyone. Toney did all he could to keep the Giants competitive, but Diggs and the relentless pressure of defensive end Gregory made things difficult for much of the game for the Giants offense. 

There were a couple of injury concerns for the Cowboys by way of Elliott and Cooper, but both returned to the game, and the former high-stepped his way into the end zone on a trick play that showed he was just fine physically. There wasn't anyone on either side of the ball for New York who stepped up to match the production and intensity of Toney, or even come close to it. Glennon ended the day with two interceptions while backup running back Devontae Booker posted a late-game touchdown to go along with 42 rushing yards.

Kudos to Carter for the early interception to try and establish a tone for the Giants, but the defense couldn't maintain it, even after recovering Prescott's aforementioned fumbled snap. Elliott, with assistance from Pollard, ground the Giants to dust, and when they were too exhausted to fight back, it was Cooper, Lamb and Cedrick Wilson Jr. kicking the dying horse en route to a 24-point blowout that still left meat on the bone.

Turning point

With the Cowboys attempting to put the Giants away early in the third quarter, Diggs' interception took whatever bit of hope the Giants had left out back and killed it with fire -- adding to his historic INT tally in the process.

Play of the Game 

Minutes before, Elliott was writhing in pain on the sideline after a good run that saw him unfortunately land on a plastic pylon camera, hurting his hip in the process. He'd return to the field and maybe the Giants thought he'd be hobbled, but he instead teamed up with Prescott for some early Halloween fun -- tricking the Giants and treating themselves to yet another touchdown.

The Hall of Fame coach is a believer

"I think this is the best Cowboys team I've seen since... " - Jimmy Johnson on FOX NFL postgame 

What's next

The Cowboys will now pack up and head east to battle the struggling but still talented New England Patriots, while the Giants will look to land their second win of the season against a dominant Los Angeles Rams team. 

Be sure to check out the live blog below for anything you missed from this bitter NFC East clash!

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DAL -7, O/U 53

Season Leaders

passing
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D. Jones 2428 YD, 10 TDS, 7 INTS
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D. Jones 2428 YD, 10 TDS, 7 INTS
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D. Prescott 3170 YD, 23 TDS, 8 INTS
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D. Prescott 3170 YD, 23 TDS, 8 INTS
rushing
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D. Booker 97 ATT, 376 YD, 2 TDS
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D. Booker 97 ATT, 376 YD, 2 TDS
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E. Elliott 173 ATT, 765 YD, 8 TDS
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E. Elliott 173 ATT, 765 YD, 8 TDS
receiving
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K. Golladay 26 REC, 409 YD
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K. Golladay 26 REC, 409 YD
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C. Lamb 57 REC, 829 YD, 6 TDS
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C. Lamb 57 REC, 829 YD, 6 TDS
Live updates
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@dallascowboys via Twitter
October 10, 2021, 11:38 PM
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Toney throws a punch at Kazee and he's ejected, but the Giants better be glad he didn't break his hand after swinging at a helmet to get his anger off. 

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And that TD will likely do it for the Giants. Ezekiel Elliott punches it in after a dynamic pass and catch from Dak Prescott to Cedrick Wilson Jr. 

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Massive stop there by the Cowboys defense. Looks like Toney's feet got tangled and he fell, but pressure from Micah Parsons also impacted/rushed the throw. Cowboys have a chance to put this game away on this next drive.

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@Giants via Twitter
October 10, 2021, 10:47 PM
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Toney is owning this game for the Giants. He has 147 yards on seven catches. Breakout game for the rookie. 

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@dallascowboys via Twitter
October 10, 2021, 10:35 PM
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@dallascowboys via Twitter
October 10, 2021, 10:35 PM
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Trevon Diggs broke the Cowboys franchise record for most INTs through the first four games of the season last week, and now he's simply pushing the bar higher. That's his ninth INT in his last 10 games and sixth in five games this season. 

Insanity. 

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