Cowboys' fourth-quarter work paid off vs. Giants

IRVING, Texas – Finishing games was a problem for the Cowboys in 2011.

The Cowboys lost five games last year in which they had a lead in the fourth quarter. You can blame the defense for a lot of it and some of it on the offense.

But on Wednesday night against the New York Giants, they finished.

“I don’t want to compare this year’s team to last year’s team,” coach Jason Garrett said. “It’s a different team. I know what happened last night. I felt like we handled the situation well. Felt like we were in really good condition first and foremost throughout our team and got stronger through the ballgame in all three phases of our team.

"And similarly I thought we handled the situations well. ... We were ahead by two scores and, even though they went down and got the one touchdown, it took them a while to do it. They had to do it the long, hard way. They did have the long run in the mix of it when we were playing coverage but that’s what we need to do in that situation. So they made them work for it. Then when the offense got the ball, it was real important for us in that four-minute situation to be able to make a first down. We ran it and had the penalty after we made the first down so we had a longer down and distance (but) the throw and catch to Ogletree was big to allow us to kneel on the ball.”

There was some questioning of the team’s conditioning after seven players suffered hamstring injuries in training camp: Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher, Anthony Spencer, DeMarcus Ware, Nate Livings, Matt Johnson and Lance Dunbar.

The Cowboys were patient in the players’ rehabs and it paid off vs. the Giants.

For the second straight camp, Garrett emphasized situations in practice. At times last season the Cowboys handled it well. At times they did not.

“You can practice it and preach it but you’ve got to take it to the game,” Garrett said, “so I thought we did a good job of taking it to the game.”