Menu

Football

Giants have 6 turnovers and lose at Cowboys' stadium for the first time, 36-31 in opener

Eli Manning disgustedly swiped his right arm in the air when his short pass got tipped into the waiting hands of Brandon Carr, and again as the Dallas cornerback ran past him on the way to the end zone.

This was a new experience for Manning, even with 450 yards passing and four touchdowns. The turnover-plagued New York Giants lost in Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' $1.2 billion showcase stadium for the first time.

Carr's 49-yard interception return with 1:50 left, a ball that deflected off the hands of running back De'Rel Scott, pushed the Cowboys to a 36-31 victory in the season opener Sunday night.

That was the third interception by Manning and the sixth turnover by the Giants, matching their most since 1987.

Dallas safety Barry Church also returned running back David Wilson's fumble 27 yards for a score in the third quarter, when there was also a botched punt by the Giants that set up another short Cowboys touchdown drive.

New York started the game with turnovers on their first three drives, all in the first 6½ minutes. There were two interceptions by Manning, including his first pass of the night. In between those picks was a fumble by Wilson inside the Dallas 10 on the Giants' first running play. Wilson fumbled on his second career carry as a rookie last season.

The Cowboys managed only a field goal from those first three turnovers, but New York gave them more chances.

Two of the latter turnovers resulted in touchdowns, and a muffed punt set up a short TD drive by Dallas in the third quarter.

Despite all those miscues, the Giants still had a chance to improve to 5-0 in the Cowboys' stadium that opened in 2009 with New York's 33-31 victory on a field goal as time expired.

The Giants were within 30-24 when Victor Cruz caught his third touchdown, a 10-yarder with 8:54 left.

Dallas was initially held without a first down on its ensuing drive before Aaron Ross was called for pass interference. But Tony Romo was sacked on consecutive plays to force a punt. The teams traded punts again the Giants got the ball at its 17 with 2:41 left.

After converting third-and-5 with a 26-yard pass to Rueben Randle to near midfield, Manning threw a short pass to Scott, who deflected the ball right to Carr, whose return put the Cowboys up 36-24.

Manning completed 27 of 42 passes and had three 100-yard receivers, all with five catches each — Cruz (118 yards), Hakeem Nicks (114) and Randle (101).

Romo was 36 of 49 for 263 yards with two touchdown catches to Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, who had only three TDs all last season. Miles Austin had 10 catches for 72 yards and DeMarco Murray had 86 yards rushing.

Murray also prevented a touchdown, chasing down Ryan Mundy and tackling him at the 1 after a 91-yard return of an interception that deflected off the fellow defensive back Prince Amukamara.

The Giants failed to get in from there, and had to settle for Josh Brown's 20-yard field goal that made it 3-3.

Amukamara and Mundy collided helmet-to-helmet while making a tackle late in the first half. Amukamara sustained a concussion and didn't return, while Mundy was cleared to play after halftime.

Dallas went up 27-10 in the third quarter 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.

The Cowboys, who 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, when DeMarcus Ware picked off Manning, and had their most in a game since 2003.

___

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org