Sunday, October 28, 2012
New York Giants 29, Dallas Cowboys 24
Cowboys can't overcome a five-turnover night in crushing divisional loss.
ARLINGTON The Dallas Cowboys couldn't overcome their own huge mistakes Sunday at Cowboys Stadium, losing 29-24 to the New York Giants. The loss dropped Dallas to 3-4, two and a half games behind the 6-2 Giants for first place in the NFC East. The Giants are now a sterling 4-0 at the new Cowboys Stadium.
Dallas victimized itself with five turnovers, including three in the first few minutes of the game. After the Giants took the opening drive of the game down the field for a field goal --helped by a 56-yard pass from Cowboys-killing Giants quarterback Eli Manning to Reuben Randle on 3rd-and-9-- Dallas suffered its first turnover when Tony Romo was intercepted by Stevie Brown.
Brown returned the ball 37 yards to the Dallas 27, where the Giants went 3-and-out and settled for a 37-yard field goal. On the ensueing drive, Romo was again intercepted, this time by Corey Webster, who took the long pass 38 yards to the Dallas 31. Four plays later, Giants running back Andre Brown ran it in from the 1 to make it 13-0 New York with 3:41 remaining in the first quarter.
Both teams traded punts, but struggling Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant fumbled his, with the Giants recovering on the Dallas 15. The Dallas defense held, limiting the damage to yet another field goal to make it 16-0 New York.
Things went from bad to worse on the very next drive, when Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul intercepted another one of Romo's passes and returned it 28 yards for the touchdown and a seemingly-insurmountable 23-0 lead.
The teams traded punts again, with Dallas unable to take advantage of an Admad Bradshaw fumble in Giants' territory, until Romo finally put together a scoring drive midway through the second quarter. Behind completions of 24 yards to Miles Austin and 20 to Jason Witten, Romo moved the team to the Giants' four yard line, where Felix Jones ran it in for the first Dallas score of the afternoon.
After forcing another Giants punt, Romo hit a wide-open Dez Bryant for a 55 yard completion down to the New York 24. The drive stalled there, and Dallas settled for a 51-yard field goal to make it 23-10 at the half.
Taking the ball after halftime, Romo again picked apart the New York defense, hitting Bryant for 30 yards and Austin for 15 on a 3rd-and-10, before running it in himself on a 4th-and-1 on the goal line to make it 23-17. With momentum clearly favoring the Cowboys, the Dallas defense stuffed the Giants once again and, once again, Romo led the Cowboys down the field, hitting backup tight end John Phillips for a 1-yard strike to finally pull ahead 24-23 with 3:43 remaining in the third quarter.
The Giants appeared finished on the next drive when Danny McRay intercepted Manning on an unusual play resulting from a big hit, but Dallas again couldn't capitalize on a Giants turnover and punted the ball away. This failure seemed to energize the Giants, as Manning led them on a 7-play drive down to the Dallas 24, where they kicked a 43-yard field goal to pull ahead 26-24.
With ten minutes left in the game, Romo drove the Cowboys from deep in their own territory, twice making completions on third down, but all that was erased when Felix Jones fumbled the ball in Dallas territory. The Giants recovered, made one first down and kicked a 37-yard field goal to cap the scoring.
Dallas still had 3:14 left to score a touchdown, however. Romo again went down the field at will, going 5-for-6 until he got to 2nd-and-1 on the Giants' 19. From there, he threw two incomplete passes, and on 4th-and-1, he sprinted backwards nearly twenty yards before heaving his fourth interception of the night.
The Dallas defense held the Giants to another three-and-out, and Romo got the ball back at his own 30 with 44 seconds left and no timeouts. He completed three passes to Jason Witten and a 16-yard strike to Bryant to get down to the Giants' 37 with 16 seconds left. Romo then appeared to hit Bryant for a spectacular touchdown catch in the back of the endzone to win it, but upon video review it was determined that Bryant's fingers grazed the out-of-bounds line and the ruling was reversed to incomplete pass.
Romo then hit Witten for ten yards to get down to the 27 with ten seconds remaining, but his next passed bounced off the hands of Austin, and his final desperation heave with one second left was overthrown out the back of the endzone.
Romo had a statistically good day, going 36-of-62 for 432 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. The Dallas running game was non-existent, with Jones leading the charge on 13 carries for 19 yards.
Dallas did manage to pile on the yards through the passing game, as Jason Witten set a franchise record with 18 catches for 167 yards, Austin had nine catches for 133 yards and Bryant finished with five catches for 110 yards. It was the first time since 1963 that three Dallas receivers all had 100+ yard days.
Eli Manning had a subpar outing, going 15-of-29 for 192 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Ahmad Bradshaw gained 78 yards on 22 carries, while Randle led the Giants in receiving with two catches for 68 yards.
Dallas next heads to Atlanta, where they will face the 7-0 Falcons in the Sunday night game next week.