Giants use big plays to beat Cowboys

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Brandon Jacobs teamed with quarterback Eli Manning on a 74-yard touchdown pass and Domenik Hixon galloped 79 yards on a punt return to help the New York Giants to a 31-24 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

The Giants (7-5) scored 17 consecutive points in the second half to drop the once front-running Cowboys (8-4) into a tie with the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East division lead.

Hixon's long return, with 5:33 left in the game, gave the Giants a 31-17 lead and capped the comeback.

"We have been working so hard at it," Hixon told reporters. "We finally cashed in today."

New York also used touchdowns from Jacobs on a one-yard run and Hakeem Nicks on a 21-yard pass from Manning to win for only the second time in seven games.

"Dallas is a team I just absolutely can't stand," said Jacobs, who sprinted down the sidelines for the long touchdown score after taking a short pass from Manning. "The hatred in my heart is still there."

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw for 392 yards and three touchdowns with Roy Williams catching two passes from four and five yards.

Jason Witten and Miles Austin also had big games receiving. Witten made 14 catches for 156 yards and Austin, who had a 22-yard touchdown reception, 10 for 104 yards.

"We're still in a position that allows us to control our own destiny," Romo said of the Cowboys' playoff prospects. "We have to take advantage of that."

Dallas will be home to the San Diego Chargers next week while the Giants face the Eagles at Giants Stadium. Philadelphia won the first game 40-17.

"We're going to need that win," Manning said, before admitting: "you can't save a season or make a season in one game."

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)