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Cowboys Lead Giants at Halftime Despite Penalties, CeeDee Lamb Drop

The Dallas Cowboys are leading the undefeated New York Giants at halftime in a primetime NFC East showdown.

Cooper Rush vs. Daniel Jones. A possibly not-so-thrilling quarterback matchup on paper, but one that still holds plenty of Week 3 stakes nonetheless. 

And headed into halftime on Monday night at MetLife Stadium, the stakes favor the Dallas Cowboys, who lead the New York Giants 6-3. 

Still without their starting quarterback Dak Prescott, the Cowboys (1-1) are visiting the  Giants (2-0) following a last-second 20-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. 

It's Dallas only appearance on Monday Night Football this season, and a young offense that has a handful of injuries headed into this game displayed such youth under the lights. 

Penalties hurt the Cowboys on both sides of the ball on the game's first two drives. Offensive holding set Dallas back from potential Brett Maher field-goal range before a defensive holding on New York's first possession negated a third-down drop by Giants running back Saquon Barkley.  

And after the second flag, the Giants seemed primed to put together an impressive scoring drive. But two-straight pass deflections by Dallas cornerback Trevon Diggs forced a field-goal attempt by New York kicker Graham Gano, which was blocked easily with two hands by defensive end Dorance Armstrong, who had two sacks in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Unfortunately for Dallas coach Mike McCarthy's no-penalties approach, the penalties continued on the Cowboys' second offensive drive. 

Two first-down catches by receiver Noah Brown got Dallas down to the Giants six-yard line, but back-to-back penalties killed momentum and forced Dallas to settle for a field goal from Maher.

The Giants responded with a 14-play, 51-yard drive on the ensuing possession to tie things up at 3-3. 

Two drives apiece for each team, still no huge highlights. Until ...

As soon as new Cowboys offense lineman Jason Peters entered, Tony Pollard broke free for a 46-yard run as he brushed by Peters' left shoulder. The run is Dallas' longest of the season through 10 quarters of play. 

But the drive stalled three plays later, again in the red zone. Maher nailed a 28-yard chip-shot field goal.

Pollard added a 10-yard run on the second play of Dallas' next drive, but the flags started raining down again. Rookie tight end Peyton Hendershot held, which likely sprung Pollard free. 

The drive seemed dead at this point, as Dallas was faced with a 3rd and 12. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott hadn't done much, until he took a toss to the left for 27 yards. 

But a big play felt negated by an equally bad drop from Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb, who was streaking free for a potential touchdown before the ball bounced off his pads and fell incomplete. 

Rather than attempting a 58-yard field goal off the right foot of Maher, McCarthy elected to punt as the two-minute warning approached. From there, a second sack of the half by Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence was the start of what turned out to be a failed attempt by New York to get points before the half. The Giants went for it on fourth-and-short near midfield, a decision that nearly backfired. 

Rush connected with receiver Simi Fehoko for a 12-yard gain with under 10 seconds left that gave Maher a shot at a 59-yard field goal at the horn, but he missed it left. 

The Giants will get the ball to begin the second half. 

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FIRST HALF STATS

Cowboys:

QB Cooper Rush: 7 of 13 passing for 69 yards

RB Ezekiel Elliott: eight carries for 55 yards

RB Tony Pollard: six carries for 71 yards

WR CeeDee Lamb: two catches for 20 yards, and one big drop

WR Noah Brown: two catches for 33 yards

DE Demarcus Lawrence: two sacks, five solo tackles

Giants:

QB Daniel Jones: 11 of 19 passing for 110 yards

RB Saquon Barkley: seven carries for 26 yards

TE Daniel Bellinger: three catches for 34 yards

WR Richie James: three catches for 20 yards

WR Sterling Shepard: two catches for 16 yards


You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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