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Giants vs. Cowboys: Score and Twitter Reaction for 'Sunday Night Football

Published by Bleacher Report on Mon, 14 Sep 2015

Tony Romo is perhaps too harshly criticized for his late-game errors, and he rose to the occasion on the firstSunday Night Footballof the 2015 season,delivering his Dallas Cowboys to a come-from-behind 27-26 home win over the division rival New York Giants.With the Giants up 26-20 and just under 90 seconds left on the clock, Romo engineered a furious six-play, 72-yard drive, capped by an 11-yard strike to Jason Witten in the front of the end zone with 13 seconds left on the clock. The play had a high degree of difficulty after a bad snap, via the NFL's Twitter account:Grantland's Shea Serrano was beside himself with joy:ESPN Stats & Info noted this kind of thing was nothing new for Romo:Romo,who led the league last season with an 83.6 total QBR, perESPN.compicked up where he left off with an efficient night of passing mitigated by errors from his various pass-catchers. He completed 36 of 45 passes for 356 yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions, neither of which was his fault.Witten tallied eight catches for 60 yards and two scores, with both of them coming in the fourth quarter. His first touchdown reception brought Dallas to within three points at 23-20 with three minutes left in the game.Dallas finished with 436 yards of offense to New York's 289, but three costly turnovers kept the Giants in control for much of the game. New York wasn't without fault, though.A curious decision to throw the ball on 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line with a three-point lead and 1:43 remaining stopped the clock after Eli Manning threw the ball out of bounds, opening the door for Romo's thrilling drive.Giants head coach Tom Coughlin took the blame for the call, per ESPN's Dan Graziano:Grantland's Bill Barnwell felt Manning could've handled it better:Joseph Randle got the start in the Cowboys' new-look backfield, picking up 34 yards on the team's first drive, and earning the lion's share of the carries. He finished with 65 yards on the ground and 42 more through the air.Darren McFadden chipped in with 35 all-purpose yards, while Lance Dunbar excelled on passing downs with eight receptions for 70 yards, including a gains of 24 and 16 yards to spark the Cowboys' game-winning drive.Dallas did get some bad news on the night. Star wideout Dez Bryant is set to miss a significant amount of time with a foot injury, per Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson:It's a broken bone, perSports Illustrated's Doug Farrar:With the Giants offense sputtering, it was a disappointing night for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. He finished with just five receptions for 44 yards, most of which came in the second half. Manning was unremarkable on the night, passing for 193 yards and no scores but also no turnovers. The Giants pass-rush was essentially nonexistent.New York struggled to gain traction on offense from the outset butconverted two Cowboys turnovers just before the half into 10 points for a 13-6 lead at the break. The Giants' offense hardly saw the field in the first half, per NFL on ESPN:The first turnover was the fault of Dallas wideout Cole Beasley.Cornerback Trumaine McBride stripped him of the ball in Giants territory, and fellow corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie scooped up the loose ball and ran it back 57 yards for the first touchdown of the game. NFL on Twitter shared the highlight:On Dallas' next play from scrimmage, an off-target pass from Romo bounced off Witten's outstretched hand and into the arms of linebacker Uani Unga. New York added a Josh Brown field goal on the extra possession for a seven-point halftime advantage.ESPN's J.A. Adande noted Dallas was thoroughly outgunning New York despite trailing on the scoreboard:The Cowboys had issues finishing long, clock-eating drives in the first half, with key mistakes from Romo's various targets hindering their efforts.David Moore of theDallas Morning Newsnoted the Cowboys missed the presence of Bryant on one second-quarter possession:Bryant would return for the Cowboys' next series but dropped a catchable pass in the red zone on third down, dooming another Dallas drive to just three points when six looked like a distinct possibility.Randle, McFadden and Dunbar all saw action on passing downs and served as fine outlets for Romo. The Giants might've had the halftime lead, but Dallas looked like the better team.New York stretched its lead to 16-6 on another field goal, but the Cowboys answered back, finally finishing off a long drive without calamity. The nine-play, 80-yard march took nearly six minutes off the clock, ending with a two-yard strike from Romo to tight end Gavin Escobar in the back of the end zone.An Escobar TD was a good omen for Dallas in 2014, per Cowboys Nation:McBride made his second major contribution midway through the fourth quarter. With Dallas deep in its own half, he intercepted a Romo pass that bounced off the hands of wideout Devin Street and nearly took it to the house before being pushed out of bounds just before the pylon.Rashad Jennings plunged in from one yard out, handing the Giants a 23-13 advantage. Romo worked his magic over the final few minutes, however, leading his team to a one-point win. Graziano was quick to credit the Cowboys' offensive line for its part in the comeback:Without the turnovers, Dallas might have run away with this one. Both the passing attack and rushing game were in fine form. The offensive line kept Romo upright for much of the night, and he had plenty of time to throw. The loss of Bryant will sting. It will be up to Beasley and Terrance Williams to cut down on mistakes and step up for the 'Boys.New York has room to improve on offense. The rushing game, spearheaded by Jennings, was hardly inspiring. Hopefully, when wideout Victor Cruz returns to health, Manning will have two surefire options in the passing game with which to extend possessions.
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