The NFC East has been extremely silly this year, and that continued Sunday with the Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants game. The 6-9 Cowboys could have put themselves in position to win the division with a victory (they still would have needed the 6-9 Washington Football Team to lose or tie against the 4-10-1 Philadelphia Eagles in the Sunday night game), but the Giants instead kept their own playoff hopes alive with a 23-19 win. However, that win only came after the Cowboys bungled a late-game drive for the lead, with Andy Dalton sacked for a loss of 10 on second and goal from the New York seven, then, on third and goal from the 17, throwing a pass for Dalton Schultz that was picked by Xavier McKinney (seen above).
END ZONE INT
— NFL (@NFL) January 3, 2021
Even after that, though, the Cowboys still almost got another chance. Giants’ running back Wayne Gallman Jr. rushed for five yards on first down, then broke free for eight yards and a first down on second down, but fumbled en route. However, he recovered the ball and then was touched and ruled down by contact. The ball came out again afterwards, but as NFL senior VP of officiating Al Riveron notes in this clip, the ruling of down by contact stood after replay.
— NFL Officiating (@NFLOfficiating) January 3, 2021
The Cowboys and Giants both finished the regular season 6-10, and Washington could wind up there as well with a loss. If that three-way tie happens, the Giants are in thanks to the first tiebreaker of games between the three tied clubs (they’re now 3-1 in those games, while Washington is 2-2 and Dallas is 1-3). The Cowboys can no longer make the playoffs. But if Washington gets a win or a tie against Philadelphia, they’re in themselves and the Giants are out. So we’ll see what happens Sunday night. But this was quite the ending to the early NFC East game Sunday.
[NFL.com; photo from Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports]