6. A prime-time, come-from-behind road win to keep Big Blue in contention – December 11, 2011
On a Sunday Night Football in America, Eli Manning and the Giants were slated to play Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys in a rivalry game that had serious playoff implications for both teams.
It should have come as no surprise to anyone following the Giants that season, that if they did not leave AT&T Stadium with a win in that Week 14 matchup, their incredible 2011 championship run would not have come to fruition, as Big Blue would have spent the winter watching the playoffs like most of us – watching from their couches.
Playoff implications intensified the whole game for both sides during SNF’s primetime coverage. When the 6-6 Giants entered Dallas, their playoff hopes were hanging by a thread after dropping their previous four games. Winning this game not only kept them in the hunt – it got the team out of the funk they had been in and set them on course to the 9-7 finish and NFC East division title they would eventually earn.
By the start of the fourth quarter, Manning and the offense left the field with a 22-20 lead against the home team. On Dallas’ opening possession however, Romo would march down the field before finding Miles Austin for a 3-yard touchdown. On the Giants’ next possession Manning would throw an interception, and Romo would capitalize with a 50-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant.
With just 5:41 left in the game, Manning would step back onto the field, following his turnover blunder, and make up for it by marching down the home team’s turf in an 8-play, 75 yard scoring drive that culminated with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Manning to his tight end Jake Ballard.
With help from his defense that put the football in Eli’s hands again with 1:26 left in regulation, Manning would again lead his offense down the field before handing it off to his running back, Brandon Jacobs who punched it into the endzone. That, and a successful two-point conversation put the Giants back on top 37-34.
Eli Manning’s thrilling win during this edition of Sunday Night Football in America also secured his sixth game-winning drive of the season and kept the playoffs in plain sight.