Cowboys vs. Giants score, takeaways: CeeDee Lamb, Ezekiel Elliott key Dallas’ 2nd-half surge on Thanksgiving

With or without Odell Beckham Jr., the Cowboys’ offense is a force to be reckoned with. A week after scoring 40 points in Minnesota, Dallas scored touchdowns on three consecutive second-half drives against the Giants on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys’ scores led to a 28-20 victory that moved them to 8-3. The Giants fell to 7-4 after losing their second straight game.

Trailing 13-7 at halftime, the Cowboys took the lead for good on Dak Prescott’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz midway through the third quarter. The score capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive that saw the Cowboys enforce their will in both the run and the pass.

Prescott and Schultz teamed up in the end zone again moments later after the Cowboys’ defense stopped the Giants on fourth-and-1 at New York’s own 40-yard line. Daniel Jones, facing pressure from Donovan Wilson, threw an off-target pass to Saquon Barkley that Barkley was unable to contain from behind.

The Cowboys provided the coup de grĂ¢ce on their next drive when Peyton Hendershot scored on a jet sweep from two yards out. CeeDee Lamb made three impressive catches on the drive, including a one-handed grab two plays before Hendershot’s score.

The Giants briefly gave their fans a glimmer of hope when Richie James caught a short touchdown pass with eight seconds left. But the Cowboys quickly extinguished that hope when Lamb recovered the onside kick.

The Giants led at halftime due to two interceptions by Prescott. The second pick, courtesy of safety Julian Love, set up Graham Gano’s 47-yard field goal on the final play of the half. Barkley gave the Giants the lead on a one-yard touchdown run less than six minutes into the second quarter.

Here’s a closer look at what’s down in Dallas.

Why the Cowboys won

Just like they did in their Week 3 win over the Giants, the Cowboys dominated on the ground. Elliott rumbled for 92 yards and a score on 16 carries. Pollard contributed 60 yards as the Cowboys as a team rushed for 169 yards and two scores on 39 carries.

Prescott bounced back after a so-so first half. He went 11 of 14 for 145 yards and two touchdowns and no picks. Prescott, now on a 10-game winning streak over the Giants, had success getting the ball to Lamb, who hauled in six passes for 106 yards. Prescott also had success getting the ball to tight ends Jake Ferguson and Schultz, who caught a combined seven passes for 88 yards.

Defensively, the Cowboys’ dominated possession declined. They held the Giants to 3 of 11 on third down and 0 of 2 on fourth down. As usual, the Cowboys enjoyed a great game from Micah Parsons, who had two sacks and two tackles for loss.

Why the fighters lost

It was a rough night for the Giants’ offense, especially in the second half. Barkley had just 39 yards on 11 carries in the game. Slayton had just one catch for five yards in the second half. Jones threw for just 105 yards in the second half, and a good portion of those yards came when the Giants trailed by double digits.

Without much help from their offense, the Giants’ defense — playing without cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Fabian Moreau — wilted in the second half. They couldn’t get off the field as the Cowboys went 7 of 11 on third down. New York also allowed touchdowns on each of Dallas’ drives inside the 20-yard line.

Turning point

It looked like a shootout might be coming after the Cowboys scored on their first drive of the second half. The Giants quickly picked up a first down on a short run by Barkley on their ensuing drive. But a sack two plays later by Parsons and a five-yard completion to Barkley set up a fourth-and-1 at the Giants’ 45.

The Giants, who opted to score in a similar spot in the first half, decided to go for it. The play call looked good when Barkley was open in the flat. But Wilson’s pressure appeared to affect Jones’ accuracy as the ball was behind an open Barkley, who tried but was unable to haul in the pass. The Cowboys added to their lead seven plays later.

The Giants only had 10 men on the field on the decisive play.

Play the game

Lamb’s one-handed catch was impressive for several reasons. Not only was it a great catch, it came at a crucial moment when the Cowboys were looking to take a double-digit lead. It was one of several eyebrow-raising catches for Lamb, who went over 100 receiving yards for the second time in three games.

A shout-out is also in order for Ferguson’s big hurdle on the Cowboys’ final scoring drive.

Citable

“Our defense can win a lot of games, so we’ve got to lean on them. Those guys played well tonight … allowed us to gain momentum. We just took over the game. That’s what we can do. Build out of that second half and just kept growing.” — Prescott, to Fox’s Erin Andrews after the game when asked about his defense’s second-half performance

What’s next

Dallas will face the Colts in the Cowboys’ second of three consecutive home games. The Colts, who will host the Steelers on Monday night, have split their last two games after naming Jeff Saturday as interim coach. Indianapolis played well on Saturday; they handled the Raiders in Week 10 before narrowly defeating Philadelphia last Sunday.

The Giants will host Washington in their second of four straight games against NFC East division foes. After a 1-4 start, the Commanders are 6-5 after wins over the Texans and previously undefeated Eagles. Washington is 4-1 this season with Taylor Heinicke as the starting quarterback. The Commanders’ quarterbacks have enjoyed the continued excellence of wideout Terry McLaurin, who has nearly 300 more yards than Washington’s second-leading receiver.

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