At long last, the Giants’ season is over.
But not before choking up one more fourth-quarter lead in crushing fashion.
The Giants took a seven-point lead with 2:35 left in the game, only to watch the playoff-bound Cowboys — who were locked into the fourth seed and had nothing to play for — steal it from them, ending a miserable year in fitting fashion with a 36-35 loss Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
Facing a fourth-and-15 from the Giants’ 32-yard line, Dak Prescott evaded pressure and let off a prayer to Cole Beasley, who hauled in the catch and got a knee down before falling out of the back of the end zone. The play initially was ruled incomplete, but upon further review, it was deemed a touchdown with 1:12 left in the game.
The Cowboys then went for two, and Prescott hit Michael Gallup for the 36-35 lead.
The Giants got the ball at their own 48-yard line with two timeouts and 1:05 on the clock, but Eli Manning threw four straight incompletions to end any hope of a final comeback.
The Giants got one key defensive stop late, but it wasn’t enough. On the Cowboys’ first play after the Giants took a 32-28 lead on Saquon Barkley’s 2-yard touchdown with 3:21 to go, Kerry Wynn came from behind to force an Amari Cooper fumble and B.J. Goodson recovered it at the Dallas 18-yard line. It led to Aldrick Rosas padding the lead with a 38-yard field goal to make it 35-28 with 2:35 left, leaving too much time for Prescott to win it.
Eli Manning talking like he expects to return as Giants QB
Eli Manning sure sounds like a quarterback who expects to…
The Giants went home with a 5-11 record while the Cowboys, the NFC East champs, headed to the playoffs with plenty of momentum.
Wayne Gallman’s first career rushing touchdown, a 2-yard scamper, gave the Giants their first lead of the day, 25-21, with 10:38 left in the fourth quarter.
But the Giants defense couldn’t back it up with a stop. They got the Cowboys into a third-and-10, only to allow Prescott to scramble and find Allen Hurns deep for a 49-yard gain to the 2-yard line. It set up a 1-yard touchdown from Rod Smith for the 28-25 lead with 9:11 to go.
The Cowboys had taken a 21-10 lead with five minutes left in the third quarter when Prescott found tight end Blake Jarwin for their third touchdown of the day, a 39-yard strike. Jarwin got through at least three defenders on his way to the end zone, including a non-tackle from safety Curtis Riley, who appeared to let up on a chance to make contact.
A 68-yard run from Barkley — which made him the third rookie running back to reach 2,000 yards from scrimmage in a season, joining Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James — helped set up a 6-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Evan Engram. The duo connected again for the two-point conversion, cutting the deficit to 21-18 with 1:53 left in the third.
Manning had turned the ball over twice on the Giants’ first two drives of the game. He was intercepted by Chidobe Awuzie in the corner of the end zone, then strip-sacked by DeMarcus Lawrence as the ball ended up in the hands of Antwaun Woods.
The Cowboys failed to turn either turnover into points, though, as Brett Maher pushed a 34-yard field goal wide right after the fumble.
Soon, though, the Cowboys got the Prescott-Jarwin connection warmed up. On a third-and-12 from the Giants’ 13-yard line, Prescott found Jarwin wide open in the end zone for a touchdown and 7-0 lead with 8:11 left in the second quarter.
After another Giants three-and-out, the Cowboys faced a third-and-9 when Prescott hit Jarwin again for a 19-yard touchdown and the 14-0 lead with 1:50 to go.
Before halftime, the Giants got on the scoreboard as Manning led a 10-play, 73-yard drive in 1:35. Cody Latimer ended it with a clutch one-handed grab, with a defensive back draped on him, for a 21-yard touchdown.
The Giants scored on their opening drive of the third quarter on a 48-yard field goal from Aldrick Rosas to cut the deficit to 14-10.