Dec 12, 2011, 12:50 PM EDT
INSULT AND INJURY
The Cowboys had everything going for them heading into Sunday Night’s game: home-field advantage, a healthy roster (minus TE Martellus Bennett), and a chance to take control of the NFC East with a win over the Giants.
They were also about to face a Giants team that was depleted on defense.
DE Osi Umenyiora was out. SS Kenny Phillips would not dress. And MLB Mark Herzlich was being replaced by Chase Blackburn, who had been on the couch for the first eleven games of the season before the Giants signed him.
But almost as soon as the Sunday Night game began, it was the Cowboys who did most of the limping.
Rookie RB DeMarco Murray, whose breakout performances had earned him the starting role in front of Felix Jones, suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter.
His injury left Jones as the lone running back on the Cowboys active roster after rookie Phillip Tanner had been placed on IR Friday with a hamstring injury.
Murray had suffered a fractured ankle and a high ankle sprain and did not return.
Not long after, Pro Bowl corner Mike Jenkins suffered a shoulder injury. When he was taken off the field, one trainer cradled Jenkins’ right arm, suspending it in space as if to relieve Jenkins of the burden of carrying his own limb.
Jenkins would return with a brace on his shoulder but was used sparingly. The Cowboys could have used him as the Giants engineered two touchdown drives in the games final five minutes.
Next came Phil Costa. The Cowboys starting center was taken to the locker room with a concussion leaving rookie Kevin Kowalski to make the rest of the snaps.
At one point LB Sean Lee left the field and went to the locker room. He would later return and make a game-changing interception in the fourth quarter.
All Pro NT Jay Ratliff appeared to be playing in pain most of the night. While there was no official injury status given for Ratliff, it appeared trainers were paying particular attention to his ribs.
Back-up safety Barry Church, who the Cowboys use in their sub packages, also suffered a shoulder injury that took him out of the the game. At one point, Church was surrounded by three trainers who in unison took hold of Church’s right arm and appeared to pop Church’s shoulder back into place. Eventually, Church took off the shoulder pads and had his shoulder wrapped in an ice pack.
And DeMarcus Ware, who suffered a stinger a week ago in the loss to Arizona, appeared to suffer another one late in the game. His absence was also notable on the Giants final scoring drive.
Added to all of that injury news was the insult of a blocked field goal attempt which would have tied the game and sent it to overtime. The sum total was another excruciating loss for the Cowboys.
Jason Pierre-Paul, whose nickname is “JPP”, led the Giants defensive effort and made the big plays when it counted.
Pierre-Paul had a team-high six tackles and two sacks on the night. He also scored the game’s first points with a safety. But his biggest moment came at the end of the game when he blocked Dan Bailey‘s field goal attempt.
So on Sunday night, JPP could have easily stood for “Jarring, Pounding Plays.”
Or “Jolting Players with Power.”
How about “Just Plain Perfect.”
You get the idea. I feel pretty certain JPP got a game ball.
KEEPING UP WITH THE MANNINGS
Now eight seasons into his career, Eli Manning is demonstrating the same kind of durability brother Peyton was known for (before this season).
The two longest streaks are held by the legendary Brett Favre (297) and brother Peyton Manning (208).
It will take some time before Eli catches up to his older brother’s streak.
But on Sunday night he tied his bro in a different category.
Eli’s eight-yard TD pass to TE Jake Ballard with 3:14 to go in the game was a critically important score. But that fourth-quarter touchdown pass also put the younger Manning in an elite group.
Eli became the third QB in NFL history to throw 14 fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a single season. Johnny Unitas did it in 1959 in just twelve games. Peyton Manning did it 2002.
And the final scoring drive capped by Brandon Jacobs‘ one-yard touchdown (followed by D.J. Ware‘s 2-point conversion) earned Eli his sixth game-winning drive in the fourth quarter this season.
Sunday Night Football TwitterView all »
Lions 2011 draft class a mess in more ways than one http://t.co/ZOlQaf7qV0
New routine will force Eagles players to be more responsible http://t.co/uENHH7s5yI
Husain Abdullah wanted to return to football in 2012 http://t.co/ehXGGYdZxf
Inside the Super Bowl L, LI voting process http://t.co/gJNAuYBtjV
Greg Schiano says he's "not against" starting Mike Glennon (not that he's sending messages or anything) http://t.co/7ysQbU1aCQ
Larry Fitzgerald: 2012 was most frustrating season I've ever had http://t.co/tLi7abegPj
Jets' Mt. Rushmore may not have many recent faces, but nominate whoever you want http://t.co/ajfA4VxSIW
Report: Jets "really wanted" Brian Hoyer http://t.co/Ao9zESCFwt
Super Bowls L and LI to be awarded Tuesday; one goes to SF or Miami, the other goes to the loser or Houston http://t.co/D0L5vwgZ5a
Nick Saban: Rolando McClain was fair to the Ravens http://t.co/zyOOZwq4jZ
Idzik's 0-for-2 start to free agency has folks taking shots at Jets http://t.co/LCsYXn4G3K
Trent Richardson won't be prosecuted for assault that resulted in lawsuit http://t.co/TtPRdYJn95
Mike Gillislee signs with Dolphins http://t.co/TtGBaqYapK
For Giants rookie Cooper Taylor, heart issue a thing of the past http://t.co/QXBLXO82EE
Sunday morning one-liners http://t.co/e2rVRBsnzm
Six Seahawks have tested positive for PEDs since 2011 http://t.co/7aC15wrRzF
Stephen Tulloch gets motivation from reaction to his spot on top 100 list http://t.co/ZCOZag9dKY
Panthers' offense not necessarily Mike Shula's offense http://t.co/QSn0ZjvtaZ
Roof of new Vikings stadium is "self-cleaning," in the same way leaving a car in the rain makes it "self-washing" http://t.co/2KBOAh47jf
Tebow returns to Jacksonville, but not that way http://t.co/qtMwHrZJzI
Pre-draft Gronkowski injury concerns could be coming to fruition http://t.co/TIK4oaNR2s
League regards possibility of Haslam losing ownership of Browns as "unlikely," for now http://t.co/z99p9ZVuco
Nominate your favorite Patriots for their Mt. Rushmore http://t.co/2LEn8haG4F
Kyle Love passes physical in Jacksonville, with requirement that he receive treatment for diabetes http://t.co/kPef0I3CVc
Chargers announce Freeney deal http://t.co/0IpCbMtCgJ
Willie Colon thinks Jets will dump Mike Goodson http://t.co/fzlyCPJVf7
The signs are coming down at "Cleveland Browns Stadium" http://t.co/IemUrhVmiR
Talks between Cruz, Giants "moving slowly" http://t.co/UHdc7NdQCV
Chargers announce Freeney deal http://t.co/NoTDn3Wg55
Brandon Weeden "surprised" by Browns' decision to sign Brian Hoyer http://t.co/aRXrBkuJOJ
Good luck narrowing the Miami Mt. Rushmore to four http://t.co/NDHn8tIlXN
Eagles have asked Jason Avant to get some work at a new position http://t.co/oI5MJR5fbp
Titans mum on whether they knew about Fokou's DUI charge http://t.co/AHtxzi2mPP
Freeney's base deal surpasses Umenyiora's base deal by $250,000, with more in year one and bigger incentives package http://t.co/1zCQMhYQWX
Two years, $8.75 million for Dwight Freeney, with max value of $13.35 million http://t.co/1zCQMhYQWX
Despite 3-4 in San Diego, Freeney was attracted to QB who can build a lead, forcing opponents to throw http://t.co/dGXEUZM50O
Source: Contract isn't signed yet, but there's an agreement in place between the Chargers and Dwight Freeney.
Saturday morning one-liners, including Jaguars legend Tony Boselli's views on Tim Tebow http://t.co/ziXw4BZubc
Freeney, Chargers deal "should be done today" http://t.co/7MOObYtN5J
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Sunday Night Football Headlines
- Lions 2011 draft class hasn’t lived up to expectations
- New routine puts burden of responsibility on Eagles players
- Husain Abdullah wanted to return to football in 2012
- Inside the Super Bowl L and LI voting process
- Schiano says he’s “not against” starting Glennon
- Larry Fitzgerald: 2012 was most frustrating season I’ve ever had
- Jets’ Mt. Rushmore may not have many recent faces
- Report: Jets “really wanted” Brian Hoyer
- Super Bowls L and LI to be awarded this week
- Nick Saban: Rolando McClain was fair to the Ravens
- Pro Bowl
- Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
- Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
- Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
- San Fransisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
- San Fransisco 49ers at New England Patriots
- Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
- Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
- Green Bay Packers at New York Giants
- New England Patriots at New York Jets
- Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
- Houston Texans at Chicago Bears
- Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons
- New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals
- Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans
- San Diego Chargers as New Orleans Saints
- New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
- New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
- Detroit Lions at San Fransisco 49ers
- Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos
- Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
- Super Bowl