Arlington, Texas (AP) — CeeDee Lamb could only smile when officials held up what the Dallas receiver hoped would be a touchdown on the second catch of the game.
He had to settle for three TDs.
Lamb positioned the Cowboys for one of two scoring Dak Prescott passes to Dalton Schultz and Ezekiel Elliott’s TD run in a 28-20 victory over the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day.
A toe-tapping TD Lamb thought he had set up instead of rookie Peyton Hendershot became a 22-yard run, then led all three of his tight-knit teammates into a giant red Army safety pot in celebration with a Whac-A-Mole. Dallas made the extra point for a 28-13 lead.
“I definitely thought CeeDee’s catch was a touchdown,” Prescott said after his 10th consecutive victory over the Giants (7-4). “I came to the sideline, dropped my helmet and everything.
“What-A-Mole was great. The guys told me about it earlier in the week. They are worried about getting fined or getting punished. We said: Make sure you have two touchdowns. We got a couple of guys who can help with the ending. So, go for it.”
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Cowboys (8-3), who moved a game ahead of the Giants in the NFC East while sweeping the season series. Philadelphia (9-1) leads the division.
Saquon Barkley was held to 39 yards rushing with a 1-yard TD after standing out on an offensive line missing three starters due to injury in New York’s third loss in the past four games.
Dallas, the NFL leader in sacks, dropped Daniel Jones three times while controlling him for 14 yards rushing after rushing seven times in the first game in Dallas’ 23-16 win.
Jones’ TD pass to Richie James in the final seconds was too late for the Giants to take advantage of a 2-0 edge in the second Thanksgiving meeting out of 122 total in the legendary rivalry.
“The game is divisive and we don’t have the best. That’s always disappointing,” Jones said. “I found a good opportunity with big games down the stretch. We put ourselves in a good position. We are confident.”
The Giants thought they had the first touchdown of the game on Jones’ pass to Isaiah Hodgins, but Tyrus Phillips, who was rushed for a tackle, faltered as an ineligible receiver downfield.
New York coach Brian Daboll yelled at one of the officials in disagreement, and the Giants ended up setting a field goal.
“You have to ask the referee,” Daboll said when asked about the denied TD, in one of several brief responses to reporters after the game.
Prescott’s TD toss to Schultz came about five minutes apart in the third quarter, turning a 13-7 deficit into a 21-13 lead. The first hydrangea was 15 third and goal.
Dallas started a winning streak against the Giants after losing to them twice when the Cowboys went 13-3 his rookie year in 2016.
Lamb, who finished with six passes for 106 yards, had a 25-yard catch before Elliott’s sixth run on the first play of the second quarter.
The first catch by Lamb was before Paul Schultz’s 15 second TD. From the 23, Paulino put Dallas at the 2, and he’s going to use another catch in the back end zone.
Mike McCarthy challenged the ruling foot-tapper was out of bounds. Referee Scott Novak was quite specific in his defense call, saying that his heel touched the back line before he went down on his second foot.
The Cowboys — and Lamb — were so confident about that upset, they had a PAT drive on the field after watching the replay.
“I don’t have a clear opinion, it’s just based on information, so I really wasn’t sure if he was going to heel or not,” McCarthy said. “I know he had the front part of his foot resting on what we saw above.”
Elliott had a season-high 92 yards rushing, and the Cowboys overcame two interceptions by Prescott, who threw for 261 yards.
Dallas star running back Micah Parsons had his sixth sack of the season, for his team-leading 12 total.
Graham Gano tied New York’s record for longest field goal with a 57-yarder in the fourth quarter. The kick came on fourth-and-32 after a denied TD and an intentional penalty on Jones.
Illness sidelined three Cowboys that included DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Tarell Basham and CB Kelvin Joseph. … Giants CB Cor’Dale Flott left the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
Giants: Washington visits Dec. 4 in the Giants’ first of three consecutive NFC East games. The third of them is another meeting with the Emperors.
Cowboys: Three home games continue on Dec. 4 against Indianapolis. Another AFC South opponent (Houston) follows on Dec. 11. to complete that stretch of the house.
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