Cowboys clip Giants on last-second FG

Patti Traina, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo connected with tight end Jason Witten on two touchdown passes and kicker Dan Bailey's 35-yard field goal on the final play gave the Cowboys a 24-21 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
The Cowboys improved to 6-5 and their win over the Giants (4-7) snapped New York's four-game winning streak. It also severely hurt the Giants' chances of climbing into playoff contention after their 0-6 start to the season.
"Both teams played hard," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "We felt like we had a chance to win this one, but we didn't, so give credit where credit is due and (get) back to work."
The Cowboys started their game-winning drive from their own 20-yard line with 4:45 remaining. Giants wide receiver Louis Murphy caught a 4-yard touchdown pass and running back Andre Brown converted the two-point try to tie the game 21-21.
Dallas used 10 plays to drive to the Giants 28. On third-and-10, quarterback Tony Romo hit on a 13-yard completion to wide receiver Cole Beasley. Two kneel downs and one timeout later, Bailey kicked the game-winning field goal on the game's final play.
"We just have an immense amount of confidence in him," said Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett of Bailey. "If you've followed our team, he's made so many big kicks at the end of the game to win games for us."
Dallas jumped out to a 14-6 halftime lead thanks to a series of big plays.
In the first quarter, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick stripped Giants receiver Victor Cruz of the ball after a five-yard pass completion. The loose ball was scooped up by safety Jeff Heath, who ran it back 50 yards for the touchdown.
That play marked the ninth time this season that an opponent returned a Giants turnover for a touchdown, including five returns against the Giants' offense.
The lone first-half points for the Giants consisted of two field goals by kicker Josh Brown.
New York's streak of 19 quarters without allowing a touchdown pass ended in the second quarter when Witten caught a 20-yard score.
The Giants had 202 rushing yards and averaged 6.7 yards per carry, but without wide receiver Hakeem Nicks -- scratched due to a flare up of an abdominal injury first disclosed on Wednesday -- they never found a rhythm on offense.
After turning the ball over on downs on their first possession of the third quarter, the Giants gave Dallas 21 penalty yards, none more important than the 15-yard penalty on defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka, who drew a roughing-the-passer flag. That penalty wiped out a fumble recovery by Giants safety Will Hill on a ball that cornerback Terrell Thomas stripped from Beasley. The infraction was followed by a late hit out of bounds by safety Antrel Rolle after Murray picked up 10 yards on a carry off right tackle.
With first-and-goal at the Giants' 6, it took Romo three plays to find Witten for his second touchdown reception of the game and the tight end's fourth against the Giants this season.
Tight end Brandon Myers scored on a short pass from quarterback Eli Manning to bring the Giants within a score, 21-13. Myers' 27-yard touchdown was the result of the Dallas defense not touching him down after he went to the ground for a short gain. Myers popped up and sprinted in for his second touchdown of the season.
Murphy's touchdown was just his second reception of the season, but the Giants would not get another chance.
"Go back to your film study during the week and try to understand the way they want to attack you and stick to your guns until you see something different and get certain looks," Romo said of his thought process on the final drive.
With the win, the Cowboys moved a half game in front of the Philadelphia Eagles, who had a bye this week. Dallas swept the Giants for the first time since the 2007 season.
"We have five games left and we have to win five," said Manning, who finished the game 16 of 30 for 174 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. "We don't know if (winning five games) will be good enough, but we have to try."
Dallas will return home to host the Oakland Raiders on Thanksgiving Day.
Notes: New York Giants RB Brandon Jacobs' 37-yard run in the second quarter was the longest by the Giants this season and their first run of 20 or more yards since Dec. 16, 2012, when Kregg Lumpkin and David Wilson ran for 22 and 25 yards, respectively, against the Atlanta Falcons. ... The Giants lost Jim Cordle, their starting center, early in the second quarter. He was replaced by LG Kevin Boothe. They also lost CB Trumaine McBride in the fourth quarter. ... Cowboys WR Dwayne Harris, their dynamic return specialist, left in the first half with a hamstring injury and did not return. ... Cowboys CB Morris Claiborne went to the sideline with a hamstring injury in the third quarter and didn't return. ... Giants QB Eli Manning recorded his 37th career touchdown pass against the Cowboys, finding TE Brandon Myers in the third quarter.

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