'The Hot Boyz' come up big in Cowboys' 'MNF' win

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  • By Jelani Scott NFL.com
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It's been a lukewarm season for the Dallas Cowboys' defensive line but, with lights shining at their brightest, it was "The Hot Boyz" who were on fire on "Monday Night Football."

Limiting the New York Giants to two field goals and a touchdown was a good sign for the Cowboys (5-3) at the break but the D-line, who tallied only a sack and a pair of QB hits and tackles for a loss at halftime, still had yet to flex their muscles against a struggling New York Giants (2-7) offensive line.

From the start of the second half on, the Cowboys completely seized momentum and added four sacks, nine QB hits, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles (and recoveries) to the box score en route to a huge 37-18 victory.

Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith didn't confirm post-game whether the energy boost came from a heck of a Jason Garrett halftime speech or a bit of luck from the now infamous "MNF black cat," but he did say that once the adjustments were made, he knew things were about to click.

"The energy coming into the locker room at halftime, we were all dialed in," said Smith, donning a "Hot Boyz" hat. "We knew what we had to do, it was just a matter of time. We were presented with an opportunity and we succeeded."

The opportunity Dallas faced in this game was too good to pass up; overwhelming the Giants' offense meant staying atop the NFC East and preventing the Eagles (5-4) from gaining ground, and that's what they did, thanks to a strong closing effort.

"You got to win those battles up front, both in the running game and the passing game and to contain No. 26 like we did running the football, it was big," Garrett said. Aside from a flashy 65-yard catch-and-run on a screen pass late in the game, Giants running back Saquon Barkley finished with 28 rushing yards on 14 carries.

With Barkley contained, all Dallas had to do was seal the deal and not lose its 30-18 lead with 4:18 to go. Starting at their own 15-yard line, the Giants marched down the field and got to the DAL 24 with 22 seconds to go. As Daniel Jones dropped back to pass, defensive end Dorance Armstrong came away with a strip-sack and corner Jourdan Lewis' 63-yard scoop-and-score definitively iced the game.

"I thought our defense did a good job finishing the game. You want to finish on a high note even though they're in that situation where they're a couple scores down, they're going to move it but we want to finish the right way," Garrett said.

A short week awaits the Cowboys with the Vikings coming to town but, if the Hot Boyz can stay hot and continue to create turnovers and apply pressure, this will be a team no one wants to face come the postseason.

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