Statement Game for Dallas

Supremacy in the NFC East Division still belongs to the Dallas Cowboys. Tony Romo and Terrell Owens kept it that way.

Romo threw four touchdown passes, including a pair of second-half strikes to Owens, as the Cowboys snapped the New York Giants' six-game winning streak with a 31-20 victory Sunday.

The Giants (6-3) were out to prove that their six-game winning streak was not simply the result of a favorable schedule and that they were legitimate contenders in the NFC East.

Romo showed that the road to the division title still goes through Dallas, throwing TD passes to Tony Curtis and Patrick Crayton in the first half and two more to Owens in the second half.

"I'm not into statement games. We're into winning football games," said Romo, who finished 20-of-28 for 247 yards with one interception. "We're into moving toward the fun stuff in January."

The Cowboys (8-1) completed a series sweep of the Giants and opened a two-game lead in the NFC East. It is the first time Dallas opened the season 8-1 since 1995.

"It was a big win. I wouldn't say it was a Giant win," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "It puts us up on the Giants, but the season isn't over."

Romo completed third-down passes of 15 and 13 yards to Crayton on the Cowboys' opening drive of the second half and capped the drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Owens, who ran past cornerback Sam Madison into the right corner of the end zone to give Dallas a 24-17 lead.

The Giants appeared to answer with a 6-yard TD run by Brandon Jacobs, but the score was nullified by a holding call on guard Chris Snee.

"We made a lot of costly mistakes that prevented us from having a big game," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said.

New York settled for a 26-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes, who capped a drive which began after an 83-yard kickoff return by Ahmad Bradshaw was called back by a holding penalty.

Owens also ran under a 50-yard pass from Romo for a touchdown, increasing the lead to 31-20 with 10:43 left. The outspoken wide receiver caught six passes for 125 yards, his third straight game with 100 or more yards.

"This is why I felt Jerry (Cowboys owner Jerry Jones) brought me here," Owens said. "I want to be the playmaker for this team." The Giants answered repeated questions during the week of how Sunday's game was a litmus test for a club that has faltered in the second of recent seasons.

Some Cowboys might have used that as extra motivation for Sunday's game, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin was among those upset with the "statement" talk.

"That's your verbiage," Coughlin responded to one question. "I am disappointed. We were our own worst enemy."

Manning finished 23-of-33 for 236 yards with two interceptions, but the Giants' offense was rarely in sync, getting called for three delay of game penalties. Manning also was sacked five times.

One of the sacks was by Tank Johnson, who was making his Cowboys debut following completion of an NFL suspension.

"We added that middle rush and we were pushing the pocket," said linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who had 10 tackles and one of the sacks. "Tank's been waiting a long time for that. You could tell." The Cowboys took a 17-14 lead with 1:21 left in the first half when Romo completed all six of his passes on a 68-yard drive that was capped with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Crayton.

The momentum was in Dallas' favor, but a 15-yard taunting penalty on Kevin Burnett gave the Giants the ball near midfield, and Eli Manning threw a 29-yard pass to tight end Jeremy Shockey, setting up a 40-yard field goal by Tynes that tied it, 17-17, at halftime.

Shockey finished with a career-high 12 catches for 129 yards.

The Cowboys easily marched 65 yards downfield in seven plays on the opening possession of the game. Julius Jones rushed for 20 yards on the first play and Romo later found Curtis in the left corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown pass.

The Giants answered on their first drive when Manning threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Shockey to cap an eight-play drive. The 67-yard march featured back-to-back encroachment penalties on Dallas and a personal foul on Cowboys linebacker Bradie James.

Interceptions led to the next two scores.

Safety Ken Hamlin returned an interception of Manning 26 yards, leading to a 44-yard field goal by Nick Folk on the opening play of the second quarter.

The Giants soon capitalized on an interception when safety Gibril Wilson picked off an underthrown ball by Romo at the Giants 40.

New York marched 60 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 1-yard run by Reuben Droughns that gave the Giants their only lead at 14-10.

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