Giants
Cowboys
8 - 20 Final
  for this game

Romo, Cowboys stifle Giants

Dec 15, 2008 - 6:37 AM By John Tranchina PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

IRVING, Texas (Ticker) -- The Dallas Cowboys managed to block out all the off-field distractions.

Nursing a lower back contusion, Tony Romo tossed two touchdown passes and rookie Tashard Choice gained 143 total yards to lead the Cowboys to an impressive 20-8 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday, significantly improving their chances of returning to the playoffs.

Romo tossed a 34-yard scoring strike to Patrick Crayton in the second quarter and a one-yard touchdown pass to Deon Anderson for Dallas (9-5), which won for the fourth time in their last five games since the quarterback returned from a broken pinkie injury.

"It was a critical win for us," Dallas coach Wade Phillips said. "It was really important. It was a must-win situation for us. The last five games, we've played really well. That didn't really change, even though people on the outside saying there was dissension and other things that weren't really there. I think the team showed that."

Choice sealed the win with a 38-yard touchdown run with 2:24 remaining in the fourth quarter.

John Carney connected on field goals of 34 and 47 yards for New York (11-3), which squandered a chance to secure a first-round bye with the loss.

The Giants, who had already clinched the NFC East title, have now lost two in a row.

"Whatever has happened here in the last two games, we need to correct," New York coach Tom Coughlin said. "I also have to give credit to the teams, Dallas and Philadelphia, are good teams. However, we still have only put the ball in the end zone once in two weeks. It's not a good time for us to be playing this way."

With all the melodrama surrounding the supposed rift between Terrell Owens, Romo and Jason Witten dominating the past week, Dallas was able to focus and get it done on the field.

"No matter what rumors, lies that have been said, we have always been together," Owens said. "I think when everything came out, we stuck together, we told each other we had each other's back and the most important thing coming in here was winning this game today."

"There's no doubt in my mind that a little bit of our edge was showing during the week and possibly was helped out by this controversy," Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "I think our guys played with a lot of will out there. I have always thought that hyper-interest does lend itself to increased performance. Our team was aware of media criticism and that was not an issue with our team and in our locker room."

Romo suffered a lower back contusion midway through the opening quarter when he was sacked by Renaldo Wynn and was in obvious discomfort at times. The two-time Pro Bowler fought through it to complete 20-of-30 passes for 244 yards and lead the Cowboys on two fourth-quarter scoring drives.

"When I got hit in the back on that one play, I obviously felt a little something there, but I played the next play," Romo said. "Once you can play the next play after it, I feel like you can make do. It feels good getting a win."

"I thought Tony did a great job," Witten said. "I thought he was a warrior out there. He got hurt and it looked like he was 50 years old with that back. He did a great job fighting and that was a great effort by him."

Owens, who was booed by the home crowd when introduced with the starting lineups before the game, caught three passes for 38 yards while Witten hauled in five passes for 44 yards.

"I think you could go to any team in the NFL and ask a receiver if they think they should be getting the ball more and I am pretty sure every single one of them would take you to the side and tell you in the corner, 'yes'," Romo said. "That's just part of playing that position."

"I think sometimes the media can blow things out of proportion, and the thing with T.O. is, since he's been here, he's never been a problem," nose tackle Jay Ratliff said. "It was kind of sad when he went out today and everybody booed him. That's one guy that I respect, I support him, and I'd go to war with him any time."

And although running back Marion Barber started for Dallas, it was his backup, Choice, who had the biggest impact on the game. He rushed for 91 yards on nine carries and led the Cowboys with 52 yards receiving on four catches.

"Special teams had been my role before now, and I know my role," Choice said. "I just thank Jerry and them for giving me a chance to play. So when they gave me an opportunity to play, I'm ready to go."

"Tashard coming in really picked us up again," Phillips said. "He's a really valuable player for us and he's done that the last couple of games."

Barber was limited by the toe injury that kept him out of last week's contest, gaining just two yards on eight carries, while also catching two passes for 24 yards. Barber was actually in negative rushing yards until a crucial nine-yard run on third down late in the fourth quarter to keep alive their final drive before Choice scored.

"He made a good play on that third down for us for the first down," Phillips said of Barber. "He's not 100 percent yet, but I think he will be next week. So I'm looking forward to that."

Dallas' defense had a big day, limiting the Giants to just 255 yards of offense and sacking Eli Manning eight times - with DeMarcus Ware registering three of them to take over the NFL lead with 19 on the season.

"You saw a lot of great individual efforts tonight and I cannot say enough about DeMarcus Ware," Dallas defensive end Marcus Spears said. "He is the best football player I've ever played with. That guy is absolutely amazing. People know that he's going to rush the passer and try to get to the quarterback and it is nothing they can do to stop it."

Manning was 18-for-35 passing with 191 yards, but was also intercepted twice by cornerback Terence Newman, including on the final New York possession with seven seconds remaining.

"We just didn't execute," Manning said. "We didn't make plays, they made plays. We just have to figure out how to get consistent. We knew it'd be a tough battle. They are talented on defense, they gave us pressure and stopped the run. They did a good job."

"We knew it was going to be tough," said receiver Domenik Hixon, who led New York with six catches and 60 yards. "We have to get back on the same page, we have to get that confidence, get that swagger back. But still, at the end, our defense held us in there and we had an opportunity to go down there and tie the game up."

For the Giants, running back Brandon Jacobs sat out with a knee injury, so Derrick Ward started in his place and earned 64 yards on 16 carries.

"Offense played hard, but didn't get anything done. I am concerned about that," Coughlin said. "Not just the pressure and sacks, but all the way around. We didn't run the ball well, either. We will have to take a hard look at where we are."

With two potent offenses facing each other, it was somewhat of a surprise that neither club had much success moving the ball through a scoreless first quarter.

The Cowboys finally got on the board when Romo hooked up with Crayton on a 34-yard touchdown pass 3:49 into the second quarter. The play was challenged by Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who contended that Romo had crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing it, but replays showed Romo's right foot had not yet crossed the line when he released the ball so the call stood.

The Giants answered with Carney's 34-yard field goal on their next possession, but neither club could score again before halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, Dallas went up by 11 early in the fourth. From the 14-yard-line, Romo connected with Witten, who barreled his way to the 1-yard line and then Romo hit Anderson for a 1-yard TD pass to give Dallas a 14-3 lead with 12:13 remaining. It was the second-year Anderson's first career touchdown.

"It was a perfect play called by the coaches, everyone executed perfectly and I was wide open," said Anderson, who caught just his second pass of the season. "I looked up and I saw the ball and I was like, 'Are you serious?' And I caught it, I didn't know what to do, I just started jumping around."

The Giants battled back to make it 14-5 with 7:06 remaining when Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka combined to sack Romo in the end zone for a safety. It was very nearly a New York touchdown after Romo fumbled it as he fell, but the quarterback alertly knocked the ball out of bounds before Kiwanuka could fall on it.

The Giants then made it a one-possession game on the ensuing drive, as Carney booted a 47-yard field goal with 5:48 to go after three straight incomplete passes from Manning.

"We treated it like a playoff game," said Crayton, who totaled 49 yards on two catches. "We're in that playoff mode already. We definitely had to play that way and I think we did. The defense definitely did."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 3 0 5 8
    DALLAS 0 7 0 13 20 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: DAL - TD, PATRICK CRAYTON 34 YD PASS FROM
    TONY ROMO (NICK FOLK KICK), 3:49.
    Drive: 4 plays, 58 yards in 2:15.
    Key plays: Romo 22-yard pass to
    Choice to New York 40. DALLAS

    Dec 14 11:30 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    TASHARD CHOICE 38 YD RUN
    (TWO-POINT PASS CONVERSION FAILED)
    NY GIANTS 8
    DALLAS 20 2:16 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants 8, Cowboys 20  4th - 2:16Dec 14 11:21 PM
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    Giants 8, Cowboys 20  4th - 2:16Dec 14 11:21 PM


  • NFL
    FG NYG
    JOHN CARNEY 47 YD
    NY GIANTS 8
    DALLAS 14 5:48 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants 8, Cowboys 14  4th - 5:48Dec 14 11:08 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 38 roots (Close Finish)

    Giants 8, Cowboys 14  4th - 5:48Dec 14 11:08 PM


  • NFL
    SAFETY NYG
    TONY ROMO TACKLED BY JUSTIN TUCK IN END ZONE
    NY GIANTS 5
    DALLAS 14 7:06 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants 5, Cowboys 14  4th - 7:06Dec 14 11:02 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    DEON ANDERSON 1 YD PASS FROM TONY ROMO
    (NICK FOLK KICK)
    NY GIANTS 3
    DALLAS 14 12:13 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants 3, Cowboys 14  4th - 12:13Dec 14 10:46 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 3 0 3
    DALLAS 0 7 0 7 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: DAL - TD, PATRICK CRAYTON 34 YD PASS FROM
    TONY ROMO (NICK FOLK KICK), 3:49.
    Drive: 4 plays, 58 yards in 2:15.
    Key plays: Romo 22-yard pass to
    Choice to New York 40.

    Dec 14 10:39 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 3 3
    DALLAS 0 7 7 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: DAL - TD, PATRICK CRAYTON 34 YD PASS FROM
    TONY ROMO (NICK FOLK KICK), 3:49.
    Drive: 4 plays, 58 yards in 2:15.
    Key plays: Romo 22-yard pass to
    Choice to New York 40. DALL

    Dec 14 9:51 PM


  • NFL
    FG NYG
    JOHN CARNEY 34 YD
    NY GIANTS 3
    DALLAS 7 4:52 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Giants 3, Cowboys 7  2nd - 4:52Dec 14 9:30 PM


  • NFL
    TD DAL
    PATRICK CRAYTON 34 YD PASS FROM TONY ROMO
    (NICK FOLK KICK)
    NY GIANTS 0
    DALLAS 7 11:11 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Giants 0, Cowboys 7  2nd - 11:11Dec 14 9:17 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 0 0
    DALLAS 0 0 END, 1ST QTR

    Dec 14 9:04 PM
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