Stat worth noting: The Giants defense could not get Dallas off the field. The Cowboys converted six-of-11 of their third-down opportunities, which was good for a 55 percent clip.
Stat worth noting II: Dallas averaged a whopping 8.7 yards per play. That's practically a first down every time they ran a play.
Turning point: The first half was a tale of two fourth downs. First the Giants faced a fourth-and-two from the Dallas 34-yard line. Eli Manning's short pass in the left flat intended for Jeremy Shockey was defended nicely by Ken Hamlin and the Giants were turned away. However, the Cowboys made the most of their fourth-and-one situation early in the second quarter. Marion Barber swept right, got to the corner, beat a weak tackle attempt by Corey Webster and somersaulted into the end zone with an 18-yard score. That gave Dallas a 10-6 lead that they never relinquished.
Play to remember: On the Giants' third play of the season, Eli Manning dropped back and had plenty of time to loft a perfect strike to a streaking Plaxico Burress, who turned it into a 60-yard touchdown. Burress ran right by Roy Williams and Anthony Henry, collected Manning's pass in stride and waltzed in for the score.
Play to forget: Jason Witten's 38-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter set up a Tony Romo rushing touchdown that put the Cowboys up 31-19. In a play eerily reminiscent of a back-breaking Witten play last season, Dallas' TE was wide open running right to left, as he was mostly all evening. Witten finished the game with 116 yards on six catches.
By the Numbers
3 – Amount of crucial starters that left the Cowboys game due to injury. Osi Umenyiora and Brandon Jacobs were both shelved by knee injuries and Eli Manning suffered a shoulder injury.
16 – Number of passing first downs for Eli Manning and the Giants.
60 – Yards covered on the bomb between Manning and Plaxico Burress that provided New York's first points of the 2007 season.
"They played better than us. That's all there was to it." – Giants TE Jeremy Shockey
"We made plays when we needed to. You have to play well enough to win and that is what we did." – Cowboys coach Wade Phillips
What went right
New York's offense rolled up 438 total yards and averaged 6.5 yards per offensive play. During most games that and the 35 points they put up would have been more than enough for a victory.
Plaxico Burress certainly came to play and turned in a hat trick. He competed hard for every pass thrown his way, grabbing eight balls for 144 yards and a trio of TDs. Burress sure looked fresh and fired up to start the season.
With Brandon Jacobs out, Derrick Ward shined at running back. Ward gained 89 yards on only 13 carries (6.8-yard average) and also caught four passes, including a 10-yard TD. He picked up right where he left off in the preseason.
Eli Manning was superb in compiling a 113.1 QB rating for the game.
Rookie Ahmad Bradshaw continues excelling on kickoff returns. He averaged 27.6 yards per return, including a 39-yard gain.
Besides his bone-headed unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, Gibril Wilson played a heck of a game. He finished with a team-high eight tackles and also chipped in a key interception.
What went wrong
New York's defense continually failed to make the big stop when needed. The Cowboys converted a third-and-seven near midfield with slightly over three minutes to play with a 51-yard Sam Hurd touchdown that iced the game. New York's secondary was burned time and again as Tony Romo threw for 345 yards and a gaudy 128.5 QB rating.
Big Blue's defensive backfield was scorched by several Cowboys. Four different Dallas receivers gained more than 50 receiving yards.
The Giants defensive line did nothing to help its porous secondary, rarely getting any consistent pressure on Romo. He was only sacked one time and rarely had any Giants in his face.
The loss of Ryan Kuehl was felt on New York's first placement attempt. Jay Alford's snap was definitely good enough, but not to the level of perfection that holder Jeff Feagles is used to. Feagles couldn't get the ball down, so New York lost out on a point and had to settle for a 6-0 lead. Alford rebounded after the first questionable snap and was much better the rest of the game.
Game Story: Giants 35, Cowboys 45
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