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Giants Ride Roller Coaster to Victory Over Cowboys

Giants blow huge lead, but recover in time to take 29-24 win

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    It was much harder than it needed to be, but that's Giants football for you.

    That giant gust you just felt wasn't from Hurricane Sandy. 

    It was a sigh of relief from the Giants after they held on for a 29-24 win over the Cowboys. They blew a 23-point lead and had to survive a replay review of what looked like a touchdown catch by Dez Bryant with seconds to play. 

    The review showed that Bryant's hand hit the back of the end zone as he came down with the ball on what would have been a spectacular catch. It was a fitting final moment for what was an exciting and frustrating day for both the Cowboys and the Giants. 

    It certainly didn't look like this game was headed toward anything exciting after the first 17 minutes. The Giants used four Cowboys turnovers to run up a 23-0 lead with the final feather in the cap coming on a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jason Pierre-Paul. 

    That was the third time Romo was picked off in the game and it seemed this was destined to go into the Bad Romo file that bulges in some recess of Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys were a comedy of errors -- Dez Bryant added a fumbled punt -- but that huge lead obscures the fact that the Giants didn't actually do enough with those giveaways from Dallas. 

    Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride's play calling has long been a thorn in the side of Giants fans and things definitely got conservative, but the execution was also lacking. Eli Manning misfired often, there were drops and the Giants had to settle for field goals that kept hope alive for Dallas. 

    And they took advantage. Romo rallied his team to 24 straight points over the second and third quarters with inspired play that vaulted the Cowboys into the lead and put the Giants on their heels.

    The biggest issue on defense was the Giants' complete inability to stop tight end Jason Witten, who caught 17 passes and continually moved the ball down the field when the Cowboys needed to make plays. Romo mixed in successful stuff to Bryant and Miles Austin as well, but the Witten plays were the killers.  

    Manning was 3-for-10 for 27 yards in the time it took the score to go from 23-0 to 24-23 and the Giants offense looked totally dysfuctional against the Cowboys defense. It's a rare look for the Giants offense and not a good one as illustrated by a play when a bad Manning throw left Victor Cruz to be the victim of a vicious and legal hit by Gerald Sensabaugh. 

    That play wound up as an interception, but it was also the point when the game started turning back in the Giants' direction. Their defense finally held and Manning, just as the fourth quarter started naturally, hit Hakeem Nicks for 30 yards to spur a drive that ended in another field goal. 

    Felix Jones fumbled on the next Cowboys possession after running into one of his blockers and the Giants again moved the ball just well enough to get a field goal. It felt like that might not be enough as Romo found Witten over and over again to move the ball deep into Giants territory, but Romo flung a ball away under pressure on fourth down that left the Giants to escape as winners. 

    It was much harder than it needed to be, but that's Giants football for you.

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.