Cowboys Stun Beckham, Giants 31-28
Giants rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. may have had the catch of the night -- or heck, The Catch Of The Forever -- to give his team an early lead.
But Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant had the catch that mattered to give his team a 31-28 lead with 1:01 remaining.
"The one that got the win,'' Dez told CowboysHQ.com in the winning locker room at MetLife Stadium.
Quarterback Tony Romo scrambled around in the backfield on second-and-2 from the Giants 13. He evaded Giants pass-rushers and lobbed to Bryant, whose diving catch was upheld upon review.
“It will be, I think, the most negative thing about my ownership in my mind if Tony has a career here and we don’t win a Super Bowl,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said of Romo, who threw for 275 yards on 18-of-26 passing with four TDs and deserves to be in the league MVP conversation. "To have his talent come through this organization and we not get to a Super Bowl ... he’s outstanding and he’s outstanding at winning games, coming from behind. ... If we don’t do that while he’s active, it will be the biggest disappointment for me.”,''
Giants signal-caller Eli Manning had one last chance to lead his team to victory. With 31 game-winning drives to his credit and all three timeouts, it seemed a good proposition. But Rolando McClain and the Cowboys defense prevented Giants running back Rashad Jennings from getting the first down, despite being inches away after making a one-yard grab on a check down.
“You just have to keep taking it play by play,” said coach Jason Garrett, who is now 5-of-7 in completing a series sweep, is an impressive 9-3 in road games within the NFC East and oversees a Dallas team that is 5-0 on the road this year. “That’s something we emphasize as a coaching staff maybe more than anything else. This game is about one play at a time. Focus, do your job, be physical and be relentless.''
It took awhile for Dallas to get there. The Cowboys took the opening kickoff and went three-and-out. The Giants cashed in on the opportunity with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown catch by Beckham from Manning.
Dan Bailey's 38-yard field goal got the Cowboys on the board immediately, but the Giants raised the Cowboys' bet with a 43-yard one-handed grab by Beckham that he hauled in despite cornerback Brandon Carr hand-fighting with him the whole way. The Giants took a 14-3 lead on the first play of the second quarter.
On the ensuing drive, the Cowboys were lined up in a five-receiver set from the Giants 4 on second-and-goal. Romo hit tight end Jason Witten on a shovel pass for a touchdown to cut the lead to 14-10.
With a little over three minutes before halftime, Andre Williams rushed for a three-yard touchdown to give New York a 21-10 lead.
After trading fruitless possessions in the third quarter, Romo found undersized receiver Cole Beasley on third-and-5 from New York's 45. The undrafted product from SMU scampered for a score to draw the Cowboys closer 21-17.
With 1:19 to go in the third quarter, Bryant emerged in the Meadowlands with a 31-yard touchdown, and took a shot at the goalline to give Dallas a 24-21 lead, their first of the night.
Manning later mounted a 14-play, 93-yard drive With 9:12 left in the game that ended in a pass to reserve tight end Adrien Robinson. It was the first 93-yard touchdown drive the Giants had since October 17, 2010. ... and looked it might be a crusher for the Cowboys.
But Romo's teammates are well-aware of his stellar numbers in this building and agree with their owner about his talent to lead, naysaying memes aside. With two timeouts and the two-minute warning in Dallas' asset pocket, Romo led the Cowboys offense from their own 20 on a seven-play, 80-yard drive. On a first-and-10 from the Giants 36, Romo scrambled for seven seconds to find Witten for a 15-yard gain.
His next pass was a short one to Bryant for an eight-yard gain.
Bryant caught the game-winning touchdown on the very next play. Referee Bill Vinovich confirmed the ruling on the field after a Replay Assistant challenge that Bryant didn't have possession all the way through the catch.
Dallas improves to 8-3 with a showdown with the also 8-3 Eagles on Thanksgiving at AT&T Stadium. Unlike typical games where Garrett enacts a "24-hour rule" to process games, Sunday night, he declared a "15-minute rule," as the Cowboys look to cook the Eagles for their first winning season since 2009.
Romo is now 8-0 in pre-Thanksgiving games. Since 2000, without Romo, the Cowboys are 3-4.
This is the first time Romo led a game-winning drive that ended in a touchdown from his own 20-yard line with three minutes to go.
This is Romo's fourth four-touchdown performance against the Giants. The Cowboys are 3-1 when this is so.
The spectacular part about Dez Bryant's game-winning touchdown grab was it put him with Lance Alworth, Hayes, Gronkowski, Rison, Jerry Rice and Randy Moss as one of the top-seven fastest players to 50 touchdown receptions.
The Cowboys haven't had back-to-back sweeps over the Giants since 1992-93.
This is the largest halftime deficit (11) the Cowboys have overcome on the road in the NFC East since September 5, 1983 when the Cowboys defeated the Redskins on Monday Night Football to start the season.
"We don’t believe in 'pressure.' We didn’t feel like we were under pressure. We knew what we had to do coming out in the second half and whenever we get the ball we need to make something happen and we need to make it count. I think that’s what we did." -- Dez Bryant.
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