Third quarter: Giants 22, Cowboys 20

ARLINGTON, Texas -- We head to the final quarter with the Giants holding a 22-20 lead.


1. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff didn't start the second half because of an apparent back injury. He was getting his back stretched, and Sean Lissemore took over to start the half. Ratliff did come in on the second play of the second half.

2. Coming into the weekend, NFL teams had converted 52 percent of their field goals from 49 yards. Dan Bailey made two in this game, the last coming with 7:42 to play that gave the Cowboys a 20-15 lead. If you remember, it was Bailey's miss, from 49 yards last week, that caused all the drama at Valley Ranch regarding Jason Garrett's clock-management issues.

3. Felix Jones seems fresher. He's running the ball well, especially off tackle, and after three quarters he's got 102 yards on 13 carries. It's the first time he's rushed over 100 yards since Week 3 vs. Washington when he gained 115.

4. The Cowboys will need to make a decision at running back. DeMarco Murray has a fractured right ankle and a high ankle sprain. We assume his season is over and the Cowboys will need to sign someone. Phillip Tanner was placed on injured reserve this week and is out for the season. The Cowboys do have Chauncey Washington on the practice squad, and he might get a call-up to the active roster.

5. Ahmad Bradshaw started the second half for the Giants. He missed the first half after a violation of team rules. Bradshaw touched the ball on the first three plays of the second half.

6. The Cowboys and Giants are really trying to run. The teams have run the ball a combined 41 times, with the Giants gaining 75 yards and the Cowboys piling up 135.

7. Cowboys got a needed penalty after pleading with the referees to penalize Eli Manning for intentional grounding. Manning was pressured by Abram Elam and he flung a pass from the pocket to no one in particular. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan yelled at the referees to throw the flag, and Jason Garrett, who is normally pretty calm, also was visibly upset. The referees eventually gave the Cowboys the call.

8. There were two mismatches the Giants took advantage of. On a second-and-22, Manning found Hakeem Nicks for a 17-yard reception. Nicks was covered by linebacker Sean Lee in the slot. On the next play, the Cowboys blitzed Manning and Mario Manningham was left wide open and caught a 47-yard touchdown pass to give the Giants a 22-20 advantage. The interesting thing about the play is Alan Ball was left with two receivers to cover: Manningham and Ramses Barden. Ball stuck with Barden, who ran to the sidelines, but Manningham ran straight down the field.

9. Doug Free is not having one of his better stretches. He allowed a sack on a third down when Jason Pierre-Paul moved inside and when Montrae Holland tried to help out it was too late. Tony Romo was sacked, forcing a punt.

10. The fans are noisy, but it doesn't appear the Giants are having any problems getting plays off.