At long last, the punter, rather than a Giants defensive back, was afforded the opportunity to end a Cowboys possession. And what’s more, Dallas’ defense even forced a three and out. But that is where everything went all wrong once again.
Giants punter Steve Weatherford lined up deep in his own territory for the punt, which he knocked back 53 yards into the waiting arms of Dez Bryant. The only problem is that Bryant failed to secure the ball. He attempted to recover it himself back at his own 21, but, after a scrum, it was Giants defensive back Michael Coe who ended up with the ball on the Cowboys 15.
But the Giants failed to get a first down after Bennett, the tight end, was unable to hold on to a very catchable ball on third down that would have resulted in either a first and goal at the one or a touchdown. Thus, another Lawrence Tynes field goal for a 16-0 lead.
Romo, seemingly tired of the Giants’ offensive struggles within the Cowboys’ 30-yard line, however, was not through his giving mood. On the third play of the ensuing drive, he threw a pass directly into the passing lane clogged by a waiting Jason Pierre-Paul, who with his first interception returned it 28 yards for a touchdown.
Suddenly the Cowboys found themselves in a 23-0 hole that they mostly dug themselves. But desperate teams can do a lot of good playing from behind, especially when they stop shooting themselves in the foot. And especially when facing an offense that fails to secure the kill shot with its own ineffectiveness despite starting several drives in field goal position.
Just 17 minutes into the game, it was already 23-0, but for the next two quarters, it would be all Cowboys. Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled on the Giants’ next possession, and though the Cowboys failed to score off of that mistake, it signaled a shifting of the momentum.
Romo got the ball back with 8:29 to go in the first half, and by halftime, he was able to cut the deficit to 23-10 on the back of a Felix Jones rushing touchdown and a field goal.
Then he led yet another scoring drive right out of halftime, but the Giants did not make it easy. On first and goal from the one, the Giants stuffed the Cowboys. Then again on second down. On third down, Romo overshot a wide open receiver in the back of the endzone.
Finally, on fourth and goal from the one, Romo ran a naked bootleg to the right and was able to walk into the endzone. Suddenly, the lead was just 6 points with a score of 23-17. And Manning and the Giants offense mustered just a single yard on their next possession. There was blood in the water.
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