ARLINGTON, Tex. – Eli Manning and the Giants offense had to be brimming with confidence. They've…
Game Story: Giants 33, Cowboys 31
Stat worth noting: Michael Boley tied for the team-high with seven tackles in his Giants debut.
Stat worth noting II: New York won the all-important turnover battle by a decisive 4-0 count. The Giants defense picked off error-prone Tony Romo three times and also forced and recovered a fumble.
Turning point: Not until Lawrence Tynes' game-wining field goal split the uprights was this one decided. One of the best games you'll ever see literally came down to which team had the ball last. It was the Giants, who moved 56 yards in 11 plays to win it on a 37-yarder by Tynes. New York ruined the opening of the new Cowboys Stadium – and you had better believe they loved every second of it.
Play to remember: Six months ago Bruce Johnson was an undrafted free agent just hoping for the slightest chance to make an NFL club. Fast forward to Sunday night in Dallas and Johnson made the defensive play of the game for Big Blue. The rookie free agent out of Miami picked off an errant Tony Romo pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown from the unlikeliest of New York defenders. Johnson's heroics gave the Giants a 10-7 first-quarter lead.
Play to forget: The Giants appeared to have taken the lead for good when they went up 30-24 midway through the final quarter. But the Cowboys answered right back, moving 71 yards in only seven plays. The key play of the march, which broke the Giants' back, was a 35-yard jaunt by Marion Barber, who bounced off left tackle and moved Dallas into great position.
What went right
Lawrence Tynes was clutch with the game on the line, knocking through the game-winner as time expired.
Mario Manningham has officially arrived. New York's young and explosive receiver tore up the Dallas secondary, catching 10 passes for 150 yards. Everyone in the Giants locker room knew Manningham had this type of ability. Now everyone in the entire country knows as well. Manningham was especially effective at making would-be tacklers miss.
Manningham wasn't alone. Steve Smith posted the quietest 10-catch, 134-yard game in NFL history. Smith made some huge catches to move drives along during this game. His 22-yard touchdown grab early in the fourth quarter gave the Giants the lead.
Kenny Phillips turned in one of the most impressive defensive plays of the entire contest. Phillips stayed with and picked off a pass that bounced off Jason Witten's left foot shortly before halftime. While the officials blew the call – whistling the play dead in the process, which negated Phillips' interception return to the end zone – New York scored off that turnover, which gave Big Blue a 20-14 edge shortly before intermission.
What went wrong
The Cowboys ran all over New York, rolling up 251 yards and averaging a ridiculous 8.7 yards per carry. Marion Barber topped 100 yards (124) and Felix Jones just missed with 96.
A week after failing to score a touchdown on three trips into the red zone against Washington, the Giants outdid themselves in Big D. In five trips inside the Dallas 20-yard line, they came away with just four field goals. That's 0-8 combined in scoring touchdowns inside the 20 during the first two weeks.
Felix Jones ripped off a 56-yard run, during which he was tracked down from behind by Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster. That was the key play in a seven-play, 83-yard drive that was capped by a three-yard Tony Romo run up the middle to give Dallas a 24-20 lead. Hardly coincidentally, Dallas' running game got going with Justin Tuck on the sideline.
Lawrence Tynes' solid start to the season came to a screeching halt in the third quarter in Dallas. Tynes missed a 29-yard field goal wide left, failing to extend New York's three-point cushion at the time. But oh would he ever redeem himself.
3 – Points for Lawrence Tynes when he drilled a 30-yard field goal for the first ever points scored in Cowboys Stadium history
37 – Length in yards of Lawrence Tynes' game-winning field goal as time expired
105,121 – Number of tickets distributed, making it the largest crowd ever to witness an NFL game in the United States
"I scored the first and last points tonight." – Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, who saved the ball from his game-winning kick
"Obviously a disappointing loss. We had too many turnovers and that got us in trouble." – Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips
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