The Dallas Cowboys got a cruel reminder that football is, indeed, a game of inches on Sunday, as they lost a wild one to the visiting New York Giants by a final of 29-24.
It started as the ugliest Cowboys performance in recent memory. The Cowboys had four turnovers in the first 18 minutes of the game, three of them Tony Romo interceptions, and finished with six on the day.
Dez Bryant was responsible for the first of the two non-Romo-induced Cowboy turnovers as he fumbled away a first quarter punt, the beginning of a very eventful day for the Dallas receiver.
Luckily for the Cowboys, the defense was good enough--even without Sean Lee, who was lost this week for the season as he underwent major toe surgery--to hold the Giants to only one touchdown on Sunday, which came after Romo’s second interception of the day on a one-yard run from Andre Brown; Romo’s third went for a pick-six by Jason Pierre-Paul, and aside from these two scores, the Giants were forced to rely on kicker Lawrence Tynes’ leg.
It would ultimately be enough, but just barely, thanks to the effort put in by Rob Ryan’s defense.
With Felix Jones’ four-yard touchdown run and a 51-yard field goal by Dan Bailey, Dallas scored the final ten points of the first half to pull within two scores, at 23-10. Then, riding this momentum into the second half, Dallas came back on the Giants with touchdowns on their first two offensive possessions--on a one-yard run by Romo and a one-yard pass from Romo to John Phillips--to take an unlikely 24-23 lead going into the fourth.
The Dallas lead didn’t last long, however.
New York’s Lawrence Tynes hit a field goal of 43 yards on the opening possession of the final frame to return the lead to the G-Men at 26-24 and, after Felix Jones fumbled--the Cowboys’ fifth turnover of the game--extended that lead to 29-24 with a 37-yarder.
Even after Romo’s fourth and final interception of the day, the Cowboys had a very real shot at completing the comeback. The defense bailed Romo and the offense out with another huge stop after the pick, and Dallas took possession with a little under a minute remaining.
A few plays later, in what was a cruel tease for Dallas fans, Romo found Bryant in the end zone, on the other end of long pass for what would’ve (most likely) been a game-winner. But the ruling on the field of a touchdown was reversed when replays showed that Bryant’s finger--the first part of his body to come down--was out of bounds.
The Cowboys got off another couple of shots at the end zone before running out of time, allowing the Giants to leave Texas with a victory, a season-split with Dallas and their perfect record at Cowboys Stadium in tact, now at 4-0.
At 2-3, the Cowboys will visit the undefeated Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.
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