Tight (End) Squeeze: Cowboys Gobble Giants; Top 10 Whitty Observations

13 days ago Sports Illustrated

Despite 13 penalties and two turnovers, the Dallas Cowboys awakened in the second half to feast on the New York Giants in an easy 28-20 Thanksgiving victory at AT&T Stadium.

10. Perfection, Poof - It was just four days ago that the Cowboys played a "perfect" game ... a 40-3 blowout over the Minnesota Vikings. Didn't take long for them to screw this one up, as Ezekiel Elliott was stopped on 4th-and-2 from the 40-yard line on their first possession. 

9. Savvy Strategy - Long-time Cowboys fans were confident at halftime, knowing that committing seven penalties, two turnovers and a failed fourth-down conversion and trailing only 13-7 was relatively positive position. Other less football-familiar fans - Aunt Edna, I'm looking at you - casually walked by the TV and harumphed "Oh they're losing again. What a surprise."

8. Bogus Jonas - If the band of boy brothers is going to lip-sync, can't we save the time and energy and listen to just stream their catalog of ... hits?

7. Dubious Decision - Admit it, you watched Mike McCarthy go for it on 4th-and-2 from Dallas' 40 on the first possession and endured a little PTSD from Thanksgivings past. In 2020 McCarthy called two fake punts that both failed, leading to a humiliating 41-16 loss to the Washington Redskins. This aggressive decision - which failed when Elliott was stuffed - led to only an early 3-0 lead that the Cowboys quickly erased.

6. Salvation Celebration - Couple years ago it was Elliott hopping into the Salvation Army red kettle after a touchdown. This Thanksgiving it was a tight-end version of "Whack-a-Mole", as Dalton Schultz, Jake Ferguson and Sean McKeon all jumped in as Peyton Hendershot - after his 2-yard run in the fourth quarter - picked a helmet to boink with the football.

5. New York, Old Fodder - Cowboys are now 11-1 in their last 12 against the Giants. The only loss in that span? The meaningless 2020 finale quarterbacked by Andy Dalton that punctuated a 6-10 season.

4. Burned Brown - Guessing Anthony Brown doesn't like turkey. Or, at least Thanksgiving isn't his favorite holiday. The Cowboys' cornerback was stride-for-stride with Giants' receiver Darious Slayton in the second quarter, and even turned his head and looked back for the ball. But, inexplicably, when the ball arrived Brown didn't jump. Slayton did, and the resulting 44-yard catch set up New York's touchdown for a 10-7 lead. It was also Brown, remember, that was flagged for four pass-interference penalties and the key flag in overtime a year ago that led to Dallas' 36-33 loss.

3. Salvation Schultze - Dallas dominated the second half, jump-started by CeeDee Lamb's one-hand catch that looked like him grabbing a telephone up to his ear. But it was three scores by tight ends Schultze and Pendershot that buried the Giants. If that production wasn't enough, it was Ferguson's athletic leap-frog of a would-be tackler that wowed the crowd and produced the game's indelible image.

2. Turkey time - Had a really good point here, but ... tryptophan.

1. Giant Mirage - Dallas did everything to keep the Giants in the game. Turnovers. Penalties. Iffy risk-reward. But, let's face it, New York's offense - in particular, quarterback Daniel Jones - isn't capable of taking advantage. His inaccurate miss behind a wide-open Saquon Barkley on 4th-and-1 in the third quarter sent the loud message that Dallas needed no more than its existing 21 points to win.

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