Cowboys force 6 TOs to beat Giants
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)
The Dallas Cowboys are serious about forcing turnovers.
Brandon Carr returned an interception 49 yards for a clinching touchdown, and the Cowboys beat Manning and the Giants for the first time at their fancy $1.2 billion stadium with six takeaways in a 36-31 victory Sunday night.
Manning threw three touchdown passes to Victor Cruz and had New York in position for a comeback victory despite the flurry of mistakes.
But with the Giants trailing 30-24, Manning's pass went off the hand of running back De'Rel Scott into Carr's arms.
The cornerback beat Manning down the sideline with 1:50 left for Dallas' second defensive touchdown. Barry Church returned a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Cowboys had only 16 turnovers all last year, switched to a four-man front with new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and swore all preseason that taking the ball away was the foremost thing on their minds. They proved it from the first snap of the season.
DeMarcus Ware intercepted Manning's first pass, and the Giants turned it over on their first three possessions. The Cowboys didn't take advantage of the early gifts, but built a big enough lead to hold off a New York comeback once the Giants finally stopped turning it over.
It matched the most turnovers for the Giants since 1987, when they had seven against New Orleans.
"Obviously, the turnovers were the story of the game," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "It's been a huge point of emphasis for us."
Church scored on the fourth New York turnover — the second fumble from new starting running back David Wilson, who lost control of the ball on a strip by Nick Hayden just before hitting the ground. Church scooped up the ball and ran it in.
The Cowboys went up 27-10 in the third quarter after the fifth miscue — a punt that bounced and hit Trumaine McBride while he was trying to block for the return. Rookie Devonte Holloman won a scramble for the loose ball, and Romo threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Witten.
When the mistakes stopped, the Giants made it a game again. New York went 80 yards, capped by Cruz's second score on an 18-yard pass, and Cruz scored again from the 10 to pull the Giants to 30-24 midway through the fourth quarter.
New York got the ball back, but the Cowboys forced a quick punt. After Dallas again failed to move the ball, Carr came through with the clinching interception.
The Giants scored with 11 seconds left on Manning's fourth touchdown, a 4-yarder to Brandon Myers. But Dallas recovered an onside kick.
Romo was 36 of 49 for 263 yards, and Miles Austin had 10 catches for 72 yards. Witten, who had only three touchdowns last year, had eight grabs for 70 and became the third tight end in NFL history with 9,000 yards receiving. DeMarco Murray had 86 yards rushing for Dallas.
Romo threw a 15-yard TD pass to Witten before halftime, and Dan Bailey also had two field goals (30 and 38 yards) by then for a 13-10 lead.
In the final minute of the first half, Romo was hit in the ribs and had the wind knocked out after being crushed between Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Trattou after throwing an incompletion. Kyle Orton came on to finish the half, but Romo was back after halftime.
After Manning's second interception, this one by new Cowboys safety Will Allen, Dallas had third-and-11 at the Giants 14.
Romo threw a pass toward rookie Terrance Williams that instead deflected off the Giants' Prince Amukamara into the arms of New York teammate Ryan Mundy, who raced 91 yards. He was caught from behind by Murray at the 1.