ARLINGTON, Texas –- The New York Giants love to make things hard on themselves, blowing a 23-0 second-quarter lead and needing one final defensive stop -- and a near game-winning touchdown catch by Dez Bryant with six seconds left -- before escaping with a 29-24 victory over Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys.
What it means: The Giants even things up with the Cowboys after losing the season opener to Dallas and now are 6-2 with a little cushion in the NFC East overall standings with the Cowboys and Eagles losing today.
The Giants are also back to 2-2 in the division with two straight division wins. It wasn’t their prettiest victory but they got the job done and overcame a sluggish offensive performance.
Disastrous Dallas start: The Cowboys got off to a nightmarish start. Romo threw three picks, including a pick-six to Jason Pierre-Paul, and Bryant muffed a punt only to collect it and fumble it away in the first half.
But the Giants were only able to convert the turnovers into a 23-0 lead in the second quarter. The Giants had to settle for three Lawrence Tynes’ field goals.
And that kept it close enough for the Cowboys, who scored 10 straight to cut the deficit to 23-10 at the half.
No offense: The Giants' offense allowed the Cowboys to get back into the game with its inability to move the ball.
Manning and the Giants’ receivers were cold for much of the first three quarters. With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Eli Manning still had not thrown for more than 187 yards while Victor Cruz only had two catches for 23 yards at that point.
Ahmad Bradshaw had only gained 48 yards on the ground at that point as well. The Giants only converted three of their first 14 third-down conversions.
Then no defense: Meanwhile the Giants couldn’t stop Romo, who got hot. He started going to his two favorite receivers -- Miles Austin and Jason Witten -- and the Giants had no answer. Romo scored on a 1-yard bootleg and then threw for a 1-yard touchdown to push the Cowboys up 24-23 late in the third quarter.
But Manning was able to move the ball just enough to set up two more Tynes’ field goals in the fourth to regain the lead, 29-24 with 3:31 remaining.
The Giants nearly lost the game when officials initially ruled a Romo 37-yard pass to Bryant in the back of the end zone as a touchdown. But upon further review, Bryant was out of bounds as his hand touched the line on his landing.
Stevie wonder: Safety Stevie Brown picked off his fourth pass in six games and had a big fumble recovery with 6:40 remaining in the game when Felix Jones coughed up the ball. The fumble recovery gave the Giants the ball at the Cowboys’ 45 with a 26-24 lead as Dallas was moving the ball.
Brown also nearly sealed the game with an interception on fourth down at the end while getting both of his feet in bounds.
Brown has been terrific filling in for the injured Kenny Phillips.
Blackburn had to come out in the third quarter. Pascoe injured his ankle in the first half and underwent X-rays, which were negative.
What’s next: The Giants return home for what should be a slugfest with the Steelers.