Tyron Smith fined $15,750

Updated: September 13, 2012, 10:06 AM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- It was one of the more worthwhile horse-collar fines in Dallas Cowboys history.

Smith It was a way to help my team out. If you care about the money that much, you're playing for the money. I'm playing because I want to.

-- Tyron Smith, on his horse-collar tackle fine

Left tackle Tyron Smith was fined $15,750 by the NFL for a second-quarter horse collar penalty in last week's 24-17 season-opening victory over the New York Giants.

Smith pulled down Giants linebacker Michael Boley after he intercepted a Tony Romo pass. If Smith hadn't yanked Boley down near the Giants sideline, the play would have resulted in a touchdown.

"It was a way to help my team out," Smith said when asked if he considered the fine money well spent. "If you care about the money that much, you're playing for the money. I'm playing because I want to."

The Giants instead got the ball at the Cowboys 1, but the defense held, including stopping Ahmad Bradshaw to minus-3 yards on the first two runs from scrimmage.

Eli Manning's pass fell incomplete on third down forcing the Giants to settle for a field goal. Though the teams traded possessions several times in the quarter, the Cowboys eventually scored a touchdown, with Kevin Ogletree catching a 10-yard pass from Romo to take a 7-3 lead.

"It's a difference-making play in the ball game, to force an offense to say, 'OK, you don't have a touchdown; you've got to score from the 2-yard line,'" coach Jason Garrett said Monday.

"Our guys stepped up. I thought our run defense was outstanding. We knocked them back on the first play, knocked them back on the next play, forced them into a passing situation, and defended well on third down to hold them to a field goal. None of that happens if Tyron doesn't make that play. So his hustle, his determination, his will, did a great job of carrying over the practice emphasis to the game."

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.