CeeDee Lamb could only smile as officials upheld an out of bounds call for what the Dallas receiver hoped would be a touchdown on his second one-handed reception of the game.
He had to settle for setting up three TDs instead.
Lamb put the Cowboys in position for one of Dak Prescott’s two touchdown passes to Dalton Schultz and Ezekiel Elliott’s touchdown run in a 28-20 victory over the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day.
The toe-slapping TD Lamb thought he had set himself up, instead becoming rookie Peyton Hendershot rushing for the 2-yard touchdown, then leading his three fellow tight ends into a red kettle Salvation Army giant for a Whac-A-Mole celebration with Dallas within an extra point of a 28-13 lead.
“I definitely thought CeeDee’s catch was a touchdown,” Prescott said after his 10th straight win over the Giants (7-4). “I went to the touchline, my helmet fell off and everything.
“The Whac-A-Mole was great,” Prescott said. “The guys told me about it earlier in the week. They were worried about being fined or receiving a penalty. We said, ‘Make sure you get two touchdowns up.’ We’ve got a couple of guys that can help with the ticket. So, cheer up.’”
The victory snapped a three-game Thanksgiving losing streak for the Cowboys (8-3), who moved one game ahead of the Giants in the NFC East as they swept the season series. Philadelphia (9-1) leads the division.
Saquon Barkley was held to 39 rushing yards with a 1-yard touchdown behind a makeshift offensive line that lost three starters to injury in New York’s third loss in the last four games.
Dallas, the NFL leader in sacks, sacked Daniel Jones three times and held him to 14 rushing yards after he ran for first downs seven times in the opener, a 23-16 Dallas win.
Jones’ TD pass to Richie James in the final seconds was too late for the Giants to seize a 2-0 lead in the second Thanksgiving game of 122 overall in the storied rivalry.
The Giants thought they had the first touchdown of the game on a pass from Jones, Isaiah Hodgins, but Tire Phillips, playing out of position at right tackle, was flagged as an ineligible receiver on the field.
New York coach Brian Daboll yelled in disagreement at one of the officials, and the Giants ended up settling for a field goal.
“You’ll have to ask the officials,” Daboll said when asked about the denied TD.
Prescott’s TD throws to Schultz came five minutes apart in the third quarter, turning a 13-7 deficit into a 21-13 lead. The first was from 15 yards on third and goal.
The Dallas quarterback’s winning streak against the Giants began after he lost to them twice as the Cowboys went 13-3 in his rookie year in 2016.
Lamb, who had six receptions for 106 yards, grabbed 25 yards up the middle before Elliott’s 6-yard TD run on the first play of the second quarter.
Lamb’s first one-handed grab was from 15 yards before Schultz’s second TD. A 23-yard pass put Dallas at the 2-yard line, and Lamb thought he had made another one-handed catch in the back of the end zone.
Mike McCarthy challenged the decision that the toe-tapper was off limits. Referee Scott Novak was quite specific in confirming the call, saying that one heel touched the baseline before the second foot came down.
The Cowboys were so sure it would be called down that they had their PAT unit on the field after watching the replay.
Elliott had a season-high 92 rushing yards, and the Cowboys topped two interceptions by Prescott, who threw for 261 yards.
RECORD TIEKING KICK
Graham Gano tied the New York record for longest field goal with a 57-yard pass in the first quarter. The kick came on fourth-and-32 after the Giants canceled a touchdown on a penalty for an ineligible receiver on the field and Jones was called for intentional rolling.
The illness sidelined three Cowboys who would have been active in DT Johnathan Hankins, DE Tarell Basham and CB Kelvin Joseph. … Giants CB Cor’Dale Flott left in the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Giants: Washington visits Dec. 4 for the first of three straight NFC East games for the Giants. The third of them is another meeting with the Commanders.
Cowboys: A three-game homestand continues on December 4 against Indianapolis. Another AFC South opponent (Houston) follows on December 11 to finish that home stretch.
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This story was originally published November 24, 2022 20:07.