Fans celebrate after the New York Giants defeated the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
The roller-coaster ride that was the New York Giants regular season came down to a Week 17 winner-take-all showdown with the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. The winner would be NFC East champ and head to the playoffs. The loser would head home for a long, unsatisfying offseason without a playoff berth.
The Giants never trailed, jumping to a 21-0 lead and turning back a Dallas challenge for a 31-14 victory that sent the Giants to the 2012 NFC playoffs.
Victor Cruz got the the Giants started with a 74-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown, turning a simple 5-yard square out into a touchdown.
Dallas closed to within 21-14 early in the fourth quarter, but heeding the "finish' mantra that had been their rallying cry since the beginning of training camp the Giants made the plays in the closing minutes.
First, the Giants responded to Dallas closing the lead to seven by going 65 yards in nine plays and taking 4:45 off the clock before Lawrence Tynes hit a 28-yard field goal to make the score 24-14. The Giants then forced a punt, and quickly salted away the NFC East title when Eli Manning hit Hakeem Nicks on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 3:46 remaining.