Cowboys overcome mistakes, beat Giants 27-26 on late TD
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 14, 2015 02:11 PM
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) looks to pass against the New York Giants during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with 7 seconds left, giving the Cowboys a 27-26 win against the New York Giants on Sunday in the teams' first game of the new NFL season.
The Cowboys drove 72 yards in 1:27 to set up the winning pass, but the defense can share the credit after having stopped New York's last drive at the 1-yard line and forcing a field goal when a touchdown would have sealed the Giants' first ever victory in an opener against Dallas.
The defending NFC East champion Cowboys are 8-0 against their division rival in openers, and have beaten them five straight times.
Dallas won despite some costly mistakes. New York's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown, and the Giants had to go just a yard for their other TD after Trumaine McBride's interception.
"We didn't play great in a lot of areas and obviously (protecting) the ball was the biggest one," said Romo, who threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. "You gotta believe."
On New York's last drive, they reached the 1-yard line but instead of rushing for the end zone on third down, they ran a play-action fake to set up an Eli Manning pass. The Cowboys didn't buy it, and pressured Manning.
He could have taken the sack, which would have at least kept the clock running and with the Cowboys out of timeouts, but instead threw the ball away. That stopped the clock, giving the Dallas offense plenty of time on their game-winning drive. Josh Brown kicked his fourth field goal of the game to put the Giants up by 6.
On the winning play, Romo had to pick up the ball after a low snap and found Witten shielding defenders at the goal line. The 13-year veteran made the catch, stayed on his feet and left no doubt about getting the ball in the end zone. It was another huge connection between one of the most prolific quarterback-tight end combinations in NFL history.
Manning took the blame for the Giants.
"That's 100 percent on me right now. It was bad clock management," Manning said. "It was definitely an option to take a sack and run 40 seconds off the clock and give them less time."
There were a dozen other games Sunday, the first weekend of the regular season. Among them, St. Louis and Seattle went to overtime before the Rams won 34-31, the Packers beat Chicago 31-23, Kansas City had a 27-20 win over Houston, the Jets beat Cleveland 31-10 and Miami beat Washington 17-10.
Greg Zuerlein's 37-yard field goal in overtime was the decisive score at St. Louis, where the Rams survived an 18-point fourth quarter rally by the Seahawks, who famously passed from the 1 in last February's Super Bowl and were intercepted by New England to lose.
Down 31-24 with 53 seconds left, the Rams tied the game after Seahawks defensive back Dion Bailey stumbled on Lance Kendricks' 37-yard touchdown catch. Cary Williams' strip of Nick Foles and 8-yard return had put Seattle up by a touchdown.
The Seahawks opened overtime with an onside kick; Bradley Marquez caught Steven Hauschka's popped-up attempt. Officials ruled the ball was kicked directly in the air, so Marquez was OK to signal for a fair catch.
Aaron Rodgers threw for three touchdowns, two to James Jones, as the Packers won in Chicago to spoil John Fox's debut as Bears coach.
Tyrod Taylor engineered three touchdown drives and Rex Ryan's attacking Buffalo defense put the clamps on Andrew Luck in the Bills' 27-14 win over the Colts. The Bills built a 24-0 lead by scoring on four consecutive possessions into the third quarter. And Buffalo's defense did the rest.
At Houston, Alex Smith threw for 243 yards and three touchdowns in the first half to help the Chiefs beat the mistake-prone Texans.
The Dolphins hit the lead for the first time with 10:22 to go when Jarvis Landry returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown. Landry's score broke open a tight game in which Washington amassed more yards, dominated the time of possession and led by 10-0 in the second quarter, but could not pull away.
Other results: Jets 31, Browns 10; Panthers 20, Jaguars 9, Arizona 31, New Orleans 19; San Diego 33, Detroit 28; Cincinnati 33, Oakland 13; Denver 19, Baltimore 13; and Tennessee 42, Tampa Bay 14.
The opening round finishes Monday with Philadelphia at Atlanta and Minnesota at San Francisco.