Giants beat Dallas to move atop NFC East
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Tom Coughlin’s 100th regular-season win as Giants coach was all about pouncing on Cowboys mistakes.
New York snapped a five-game slide against Dallas as Dwayne Harris ran back a kickoff 100 yards for the winning points in the fourth quarter against his former teammates Sunday. The Giants’ 27-20 victory also boosted them into first place in the NFC East at 4-3, pending Philadelphia’s night game at Carolina.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had two interceptions, returning one 58 yards for a touchdown. Brandon Meriweather also had a pick, while Myles White grabbed Cole Beasley’s muff of a punt in the final minutes to put it away.
Harris spent four seasons in Dallas without running back a kickoff for a score. But he tied a Giants record set in 1994 by romping untouched to the end zone.
The Cowboys (2-4), losers of four in a row without injured offensive stars Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, got a big game from Darren McFadden. Starting running back Joseph Randle left early with a strained back, and McFadden rushed for 152 yards and a TD.
Matt Cassel, in his first start for the benched Brandon Weeden while Romo heals, forced some throws, and New York took advantage.
This third-period score was the seventh touchdown in Rodgers-Cromartie’s eight pro seasons, six by interceptions. He had a 57-yard runback with a fumble against Dallas in the season opener.
Two plays later, Cassel uncorked a wobbler down the left sideline for Terrance Williams, and Meriweather made a leaping pick at the Giants 1. Rueben Randle, making like receiving mate Odell Beckham Jr., followed with a terrific one-handed catch down the sideline on Brandon Carr, the same cornerback Beckham victimized last season for his play of the year. That 44-yarder immediately was followed by Shane Vereen’s 39-yard burst, and Josh Brown completed the 83-yard drive with a 34-yard field goal for a 20-13 lead.
Cromartie’s other interception, the third Giants pick within five throws by Cassel, led to nothing, and then Cassel found the range. He guided Dallas on an 80-yard drive, with a pinpoint pass to Devin Street, whose first career TD came on a tip-toe reception in the right corner of the end zone.
Thirteen seconds later, Harris was sprinting down the right sideline for the winning points.
McFadden had a 1-yard TD and Dan Bailey made field goals of 30 and 48 yards for Dallas. McFadden last had a 100-yard rushing performance in Week 2 of 2013 while with Oakland.
Dallas lost an interception deep in New York territory on a replay review. Eli Manning’s pass ricocheted off the foot of cornerback Byron Jones and was grabbed by the diving rookie. But after the call was overturned, Brown made a 47-yarder, his 18th straight successful field goal, a franchise mark he later extended.
Orleans Darkwa scored on a 15-yard run for New York in the opening quarter.
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