Cowboys lead Giants 13-10 at halftime in season opener; Eli 2 picks and long TD to Cruz

Published September 08, 2013

| Associated Press

Tony Romo threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten and Dan Bailey kicked two field goals as the Dallas Cowboys took a 13-10 halftime lead over the New York Giants on Sunday night.

Romo, who was 25-of-33 passing for 188 yards before halftime, was hurt in the final minute when he was crushed between Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Trattou after throwing an incompletion. The team said Romo got the wind knocked out of him, and was expected to return.

Witten's catch with 3 minutes left in the first half made it 13-3 and came with linebacker Mark Herzlich trying to cover him in the end zone. The grab put the tight end over 9,000 yards receiving. He also had a 21-yard catch on the previous play.

But Eli Manning, who threw two interceptions in the first 6 ½ minutes of the game, found a wide-open Victor Cruz for a 70-yard touchdown after snapping the ball right before the 2-minute warning. The Giants had been forced to call a timeout before taking the first snap on that drive, and then had a false start penalty out of the timeout.

Manning and the Giants came in undefeated in the Cowboys' stadium. They were 4-0 in the building, including a victory in the first regular-season game at the spacious facility in 2009.

Manning completed 5 of 11 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown.

After forcing only 16 turnovers all last season (seven interceptions, nine fumbles), the Cowboys had three in their first 6½ minutes playing new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's 4-3 scheme.

On the first play of the game, Manning was trying to complete a short pass to running back David Wilson. DeMarcus Ware, the perennial Pro Bowl linebacker now playing defensive end, reached out and grabbed the throw, setting up the Cowboys at the Giants 15.

After Manning's second interception, this one by new Cowboys safety Will Allen, Dallas had third-and-11 at the Giants 14.

Romo then threw a pass toward rookie Terrance Williams that instead deflected off Prince Amukamara into the arms of Ryan Mundy, who raced 91 yards. He was caught from behind by running back DeMarco Murray at the 1.

Amukamara and Mundy had a less pleasant connection with Williams late in the first half. The defensive backs collided helmet-to-helmet while tackling Williams after a completed pass. Both were taken to the locker room to be checked for possible concussions.

After Mundy was run down at the 1 on his interception return, Wilson was then stuffed for no gain before Manning was sacked, and the Giants had to settle for a 20-yard field goal by Josh Brown.

Dallas failed to get a first down on that opening drive after Ware's pick and had to settle for Bailey's 30-yard field goal. Bailey added a 38-yarder in the second quarter.

Manning's second throw of the game was much better, a short pass that Hakeem Nicks turned into a 57-yard gain.

The Giants had first-and-goal at the 8 before their first running play of the night. Wilson fumbled, and it was recovered by defensive end George Selvie.

As a rookie last season, Wilson fumbled on his second career carry.

The Cowboys went three-and-out before punting, but four plays later Manning threw his second interception.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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