(Sunday, November 14th)
Final Score: Dallas 33, NY Giants 20
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Maybe what Dallas needed all along was a coaching change.
Jon Kitna showed some flashes of greatness with three touchdown passes, and the Dallas Cowboys put on a dominant road performance in a 33-20 win over the New York Giants at a malfunctioning New Meadowlands Stadium.
Kitna completed 13-of-22 passes for 327 yards and was intercepted once for the Cowboys (2-7), who replaced Wade Phillips with Jason Garrett at the head coaching position earlier in the week before snapping a brutal five-game losing streak.
"Adversity is part of this game. Really, it's part of life and it's part of football," Garrett said. "Guys are going to get hurt, different things are going to happen during a game. It's how you respond, and ultimately it's about mental toughness. That's something that all the good teams have, all the good players have, and we've got to keep developing it."
Coming off an embarrassing 45-7 loss at the hands of Green Bay last week, the Cowboys' offense and defense looked more in sync on this Sunday to exact some revenge on the Giants (6-3), who beat Dallas three weeks ago and knocked quarterback Tony Romo out for an extended period of time.
Dez Bryant was one of Dallas' stars in the win, making several spectacular grabs in a three-reception, 104-yard game, including a score. Felix Jones added a 71-yard touchdown reception, and Miles Austin caught a scoring pass.
Eli Manning threw for 373 yards and two touchdowns on 33-of-48 passing and was picked off two times for New York, which saw its NFC East lead trimmed to a half-game over Philadelphia, which hosts the Giants next Sunday. Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 73 yards, while Mario Manningham and Kevin Boss each had a TD grab in defeat.
"We didn't play well enough to win," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "We didn't execute the way we'd been executing, we gave up big plays, we didn't make as many big plays. We hung in there...we gave it a good effort at the end, but it was too little, too late."
The third quarter was marred by two light malfunctions with the stadium; the first delay was brief, but the second lasted for 12 minutes and produced a scary pitch-black scene at the venue.
"The New Meadowlands Stadium experienced two power outages in the third quarter of tonight's game. Power was lost when one of the two feeders to the stadium experienced a power interruption," a statement read. "The power source to the stadium was then switched to the second feeder. The appearance of the stadium not being at full power at that time occurred because the halogen lighting had not fully powered up. A second power interruption occurred to the second feeder, causing a full outage. Functionality to the original feeder was restored and we are now receiving power though that feeder. We are currently investigating the original cause of the interruption."
Lawrence Tynes' 43-yard field goal with five minutes remaining in the first quarter opened the scoring for New York, but it was nearly all Cowboys the rest of the half.
On the second play of Dallas' ensuing drive, Bryant outstretched his hands on the run to make a great 45-yard grab down the middle, and, on the next play, he dove over cornerback Terrell Thomas in the end zone for a spectacular 13- yard TD.
The play was initially ruled incomplete, but a challenge reversed the call for a 6-3 Cowboys lead after the extra point attempt was blocked.
Dallas had 2nd-and-goal from the one-yard line on the first play of the second quarter, but an incompletion and a fumbled snap backed the ball up to the four-yard line, where David Buehler kicked a 22-yard field goal for a 9-3 advantage.
The Giants drove all the way to the Cowboys' two on their next possession, and Manning looked to find Hakeem Nicks in the end zone on a slant. Dallas' Bryan McCann, though, was able to step in front of the pass and dashed 101 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown and a 13-point advantage midway through the second quarter.
"Bryan's play was huge, obviously," Garrett said. "Whenever you intercept a pass in the end zone and take it back the other way, that's a huge swing. If you're looking for one play in the game that kind of changed things, that's the play."
Buehler added a 23-yard field goal with just over three minutes left in the period, and Tynes kicked a 25-yarder 1 1/2 minutes later to pull the Giants to within 19-6 at halftime.
The Cowboys got the ball to start the second half, and the stadium lights went out during the drive for a brief delay. The malfunction couldn't stop the suddenly potent Dallas offense, as Jones took a short screen pass and turned it into a 71-yard touchdown for a 26-6 lead.
Another power outage -- a longer one, for 12 minutes -- occurred during the Giants' next series, but New York was still able to put together an eight- play, 58-yard drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown reception by Manningham to make it a 13-point game once again.
Unfortunately for New York, its defense continued to mimic the stadium with several malfunctions on the next Dallas possession. Bryant took a screen pass to the right side and raced 46 yards to the Giants' 39, and an acrobatic 27- yard grab by Roy Williams gained the New York 24 before Kitna found Austin over the middle for the touchdown and a 33-13 advantage with 6 1/2 minutes left in the third.
The Giants responded again with Boss' 35-yard touchdown grab, as he dove just inside the left pylon, and New York looked to make it a one-score game early in the fourth. Faced with a 4th-and-1 at the Dallas 42 after Boss made an acrobatic 19-yard grab, Brandon Jacobs was stuffed for no gain, giving the ball back to the Cowboys with 10 minutes to go.
An interception in the end zone gave New York possession again with 8 1/2 minutes left, and Nicks appeared to haul in a 48-yard touchdown pass, only to see it negated by a holding penalty. On the next play, a bad snap saw Manning fumble the ball away at the Giants' 21.
Buehler missed a 34-yard field goal attempt, and New York drove to the Cowboys' 17 before Manning was picked off by Alan Ball at the six to basically seal the outcome with under three minutes to play.
Ball recorded his first career interception...Kitna threw three touchdown passes for the first time since September 9, 2007, while with Detroit...Four of Bryant's seven touchdowns have come against the Giants this season...McCann's return broke the Cowboys' franchise record for longest interception return in team history. Mike Gaetcher previously had a 100-yard return.
11/14 22:08:12 ET
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