In the first game of a six-year, $45.879 million deal, Cruz delivered three salsa dances with five receptions for 118 yards and three touchdowns.
“I don’t know if I can say this,” defensive captain Justin Tuck said. “But I think we got him for cheap. He played an excellent game tonight considering he hasn’t played that much in preseason and didn’t show any rust whatsoever. Honestly I wasn’t surprised by it. I don’t think anybody was.”
After missing a few weeks with a bruised heel and practicing on a limited basis all last week, Cruz was spectacular at times against the Cowboys.
He scored his first touchdown on a 70-yard bomb from Eli Manning after taking advantage of a mixup in the Dallas secondary. Cruz saw Will Allen was confused before the snap and made the Cowboys pay.
“I saw it right before the snap,” Cruz said. “And they were communicating and they were in limbo and the play was designed (as) an option route and I saw he was low and thin so I went right past him.”
Cruz’s second touchdown came on an 18-yard pass from Manning with 1:44 left in the third quarter to pull the Giants within 27-17. He would deliver his third salsa dance with a 10-yard touchdown catch with 8:47 remaining that sliced Dallas’ lead to 30-24.
Manning seemed poised to lead the Giants to yet another come-from-behind victory but he had a short pass go off Da'Rel Scott's hands into Brandon Carr's hands for a 49-yard interception return for a touchdown to effectively end the Giants’ night.
While the Giants were far off from their best on Sunday night, the team’s top three wideouts got off to an impressive start to the season. Hakeem Nicks had five receptions for 114 yards and Rueben Randle had five catches for 101 yards.
And Cruz clearly hasn’t missed a beat despite missing practice time during the offseason and training camp either due to injury or his contract negotiation.
“We are on the same page when it comes to coverages and reading them,” Cruz said. “Being on the same page for every game… Even in the film room, we are talking about the same things. It is good to be on the same page.
“All the receivers are on the same page for that matter and that proved well today. We were all out there making plays and that is going to pay dividends down the line.”