But the first score of the day came on a defensive miscue. Facing 3rd and 9 on just the third snap of the game, the Dallas defense bit on a play action fake, opening up rookie receiver Rueben Randle deep downfield, who made a play on the ball and then had room to run after the catch for what ended up being a 56 yard gain.
That moved the ball to the Cowboys’ 23, and although they did not manage to move the ball any further, it was enough for Lawrence Tynes to put the Giants on top early on with a score of 3-0.
The miscues for the Cowboys, however, came early and often. On their very first drive, Romo was only able to get to his own 45 before committing his first mistake. On a first and 10 play, he targeted Bryant deep down the middle of the field, unaware that safety Stevie Brown was stalking the play.
Brown easily jumped the route, and off of a running start was able to return the ball all the way to the Cowboys’ 27-yard line. Again, however, the Giants were stalemated deep in enemy territory, netting just 8 yards and being forced to settle for another field goal to make it 6-0.
They did not have long to wait for their next opportunity, however, as just three plays into the Cowboys’ second offensive possession, Romo misfired again, just underthrowing Miles Austin deep down the right side of the field.
Cornerback Corey Webster was fortunate enough to find himself right underneath the ball after Austin was not able to adjust quickly enough to a ball that he expected to be further down the field. As both players were forced to slow up, the ball came toward Austin’s back shoulder, which resulted in easy pickings for the veteran defensive back, who returned it 38 yards to the Dallas 31.
This time, however, the Giants were able to fully capitalize on yet another short field afforded by the Cowboys’ mistakes. On first down, Eli Manning found tight end Martellus Bennett for 12 yards. Then running back Ahmad Bradshaw found a seem for another 12 yards. On first and goal, he was able to get to the one.
Then Andre Brown, replacing Bradshaw, found the endzone running off left end, untouched. Suddenly the Giants were up 13-0. And they weren’t finished just yet, because the Cowboys were not done feeding them.
The Cowboys, in what must have felt like a victory, successfully managed to go three and out without committing a turnover, though it was close. The center to quarterback exchange was botched, resulting in a fumble, which Romo scooped up 13 yards into his own backfield. He managed to heave a pass incomplete at the feet of Bryant.
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