EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (KXAN) — The Dallas Cowboys aren’t going to the playoffs. Andy Dalton’s interception with the game on the line in the fourth quarter effectively ended Dallas’ season with a 23-19 loss to the New York Giants.
Facing pressure on third-and-goal from the Giants 16-yard line, Dalton heaved the ball into the end zone, setting up an easy interception for Xavier McKinney with 1:24 remaining in the game.
The Cowboys, Giants and Washington all entered Sunday with a chance to reach the postseason as the NFC East division champions. Dallas’ loss keeps New York’s hopes alive. If Washington loses on Sunday night to the Eagles, the Giants will represent the NFC East. If the Washington Football Team wins, WFT will make the postseason.
Dallas entered Sunday’s game on a three-game winning streak, but Mike McCarthy’s first season with the franchise ends in a disappointing 6-10 record.
There were some unnecessary dramatics in the final minute after a fumble by Giants running back Wayne Gallman as New York was attempting to run out the clock. Gallman was able to recover his own fumble at the 39-yard line, fighting off a wild scrum to keep possession and keep the Cowboys’ offense off the field.
The officials reviewed the play after conflicting signals for which team had possession, but replay clearly showed Gallman with the ball during the dogpile. The Giants were able to bleed out the clock after the run for a first down.
The first half was dominated by the New York Giants. Every aspect of the game, offense, defense and special teams, were in favor of the home team as they stretched their lead to 20-9 at halftime.
New York opened the game with a 78 yard touchdown drive capped off with a 23-yard run by Sterling Shepard for a 6-0 lead. Dallas forced Daniel Jones to fumble on their next possession, setting up a 38-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal.
Jones hit Shepard in the passing game for a 10-yard touchdown, pushing the Giants lead to 13-3 in the second quarter. After another Zuerlein field goal, New York peppered the Cowboys secondary with passes on a quick six play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The Giants grabbed a 20-6 lead on a 33-yard touchdown reception by Dante Pettis.
Zuerlein made it a 20-9 deficit with a 57-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
The Cowboys flipped momentum in the third quarter, boosted by a Donovan Wilson interception after the Jones pass bounced off the hands of Giants tight end Evan Engram. Dallas pushed the pace after the turnover, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott plunged over the goal line for the Cowboys’ first touchdown of the game.
The Dallas defense forced two straight punts and Zuerlein nailed his fourth field goal of the game, getting the Cowboys within 20-19.
The Giants responded with their best drive of the half, reaching the Cowboys 36-yard line. Wilson sacked Jones for a big loss on second down, forcing the drive to end in a Graham Gano field goal for a 23-19 Giants lead.