Cowboys lose 29-24 in comeback attempt vs. Giants
Cowboys come up short on comeback attempt in 29-24 loss to Giants, who blew 23-0 lead
Dez Bryant went up between two defenders, grabbed the ball and came down hard in the end zone for what might have been his biggest play with the Dallas Cowboys.
The faithful fans remaining at Cowboys Stadium erupted after what appeared to be a go-ahead touchdown with 10 seconds left. They were ready to celebrate the largest comeback in franchise history.
Instead, the 37-yard play was overturned by a replay that showed Bryant's hand first hit out of bounds, and the New York Giants held on for a 29-24 victory Sunday to remain undefeated at Jerry Jones' football palace.
"When they took it away, my heart just dropped. I had my mind set that if the ball is thrown to me, I don't care; I'm going to come down with it," said Bryant, who had five catches for 110 yards. "And I came down with it and I thought I was in. It's frustrating."
The Cowboys (3-4) had three more chances to score following the reversal, but couldn't punch it in. Tony Romo's final pass landed well beyond the end zone.
"I'm very disappointed right now," Jones said. "I thought after all that, our defense played well enough, our offense kept going and I thought we were going to get a chance to pull one out."
New York (6-2) led 23-0 just 2 minutes into the second quarter when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown. That was the third of four interceptions thrown by Romo, and Dallas finished with six turnovers.
But the Giants didn't score again until Lawrence Tynes made a 43-yard field goal with 10:20 left for a 26-24 lead. He kicked a 37-yarder with 3½ minutes remaining for his fifth of the game.
This was the 20th time in Manning's career that the Giants rallied in the fourth quarter to win.
"It speaks about our resiliency. We know how to win these games," receiver Victor Cruz said. "We've been in a bunch of them."
Coupled with Sunday losses by Philadelphia (3-4) and Washington (3-5), the Giants strengthened their hold on the NFC East lead halfway through their schedule. They also improved to 4-0 at Cowboys Stadium.
The Cowboys play their next two games on the road, starting next Sunday night at undefeated Atlanta.
"It's not too late, but you can't just think about the positive things that happened in the second half," said tight end Jason Witten, who broke his own franchise record with 18 catches for 167 yards.
"Nobody's ever questioned our fight or battle, but you still have to win games," he said. "It is the time of the season you have to start putting those wins together."
The Giants (6-2), who have won six of seven since a season-opening home loss to Dallas, hurriedly cleared out of Cowboys Stadium trying to get home as quickly as possible with Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast
Stevie Brown set up Tynes' last field goal with a fumble recovery and also had two interceptions.
"They're fighters in that locker room," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "Sometimes it comes out differently than it was designed."
Dallas got to the Giants 19 on one of its last drives. On fourth-and-1 with 1:03 left, Romo scrambled and was picked off by Brown.
After New York failed to get a first down on three running plays and Dallas used all three of its timeouts, the Cowboys got the ball back with 44 seconds left at the 30.
"We scratched and scraped," Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty said. "At the end, we still had to have a little luck to pull that one out."
Manning completed 15 of 29 passes for 192 yards with an interception.
Romo threw for a career-high 437 yards while completing 36 of 62 passes. Miles Austin had nine catches for 133 yards, giving Dallas three 100-yard receivers for only the second time.
The Giants led 13-0 in the first quarter after Romo's first two interceptions.
Michael Coe recovered at the Dallas 15 when Bryant fumbled after fielding a punt over his head, setting up a 26-yard field goal. Three plays later, Pierre-Paul broke off a block and jumped to grab the ball.
Things were so bad then that Jones was booed when he came on the videoboard during a public service announcement about breast cancer awareness. On another unrelated video during that same timeout, coach Jason Garrett got the same treatment when his image appeared on the screen.
"I've been to boo school so to speak," Jones said. "Seriously. I'm sure the fans had the same feeling I did. I was frustrated, mad and knew that we had dug ourselves a hole that was going to take super effort to get out of."
Dallas scored the last 10 points of the half, then added two more touchdowns in the third quarter to go ahead. Romo faked a handoff and rolled right for a 1-yard score on fourth down, ending the play with an emphatic spike.
After the Giants went three-and-out, the Cowboys drove to the 1 again. Romo faked another handoff and started rolling right, when he then shuffled the ball ahead to John Phillips for a 1-yard pass that put Dallas up 24-23.
None of that mattered after the closing sequence.
"Just tough when you think you've won the game," Romo said. "It switches as that moment. You put a lot into it, obviously. We put a week's worth (of emotion) in that one game.
NOTES: The only Cowboys with more passing yards in a game are Don Meredith (460 in November 1963) and Troy Aikman (455 in November 1998). ... Tynes is now the second-leading scorer in Giants history. His 17 points Sunday pushed his career total to 535 (113 field goals, 196 extra points). The career leader is Pete Gogolak's 646.
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