AT FIRST GLANCE
As is often the case when the Cowboys and Giants meet, the NFC East rivalry game was decided by the final possession. After leading for the entire second half, the Giants were on the wrong side of it this time.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo hit tight end Jason Witten for an 11-yard touchdown with 7 seconds remaining as the Giants fell 27-26 in the season opener.
The Giants return to East Rutherford for their home opener against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium, where the franchise will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Super Bowl XXV champions. Big Blue defeated Atlanta 30-20 last season at home in reigning AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odell Beckham Jr.'s debut after he missed the first four games.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE OFFENSE
Aided by a trio of takeaways from their defense, the Giants made timely plays throughout the game, but they wouldn't be enough. With a new-look offensive line and no Victor Cruz (calf), quarterback Eli Manning went 20 of 36 for 193 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Geoff Schwartz, who had been rotating in and out with John Jerry, got the start for the Giants at right guard while the rest of the line remained the same throughout most of spring and summer.
While lacking consistency in the run game for most of the night, running back Rashad Jennings broke a 27-yarder late in the game as they finished with 94 yards on 24 carries. Beckham was held to five receptions for 44 yards with a long of 19 yards.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEFENSE
In Steve Spagnuolo's first game back as defensive coordinator, three turnovers turned the tables in the Giants' favor, two of which came right before halftime. Trumaine McBride stripped the ball from Dallas wide receiver Cole Beasley, which fellow cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned 57 yards for a touchdown to give the Giants their first lead with 1:12 to play before halftime.
On the Cowboys' first play of the ensuing drive, middle linebacker Uani 'Unga intercepted Tony Romo deep in Dallas territory, and the Giants turned it into a field goal for a 13-6 lead at halftime. McBride later grabbed his own interception midway through the fourth quarter that was tipped by Brandon Meriweather. McBride returned it to the 1-yard line, where running back Rashad Jennings took over and ran it in from for a late 23-13 lead. However, that was before Romo led a six-play, 72-yard touchdown drive in 1:27 to win the game.
WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT THE SPECIAL TEAMS
Giants coach Tom Coughlin didn't get that spark he wanted in the return game, but all other facets of the special teams locked down the Cowboys on
Sunday night. Orleans Darkwa, Mark Herzlich, and J.T. Thomas all had sound special teams tackles that pinned Dallas deep in its own territory while new lefty punter Brad Wing averaged 44.8 yards on four punts, three of which were downed inside the 20-yard line. Josh Brown made all four of his field goal attempts with a long of 50 yards.
NYG: S Cooper Taylor, LB Jon Beason, DE Owa Odighizuwa, OL Bobby Hart, WR Victor Cruz, TE Jerome Cunningham, DT Louis Nix III. DAL: RB Christine Michael, DT Davon Coleman , OL Jordan Mills, OL La'el Collins, TE Geoff Swaim, NT Ken Bishop, DE Ryan Russell.
NYG: Rueben Randle for Cruz at WR; Uani 'Unga for Beason at MLB; Brandon Meriweather for Taylor at SS. DAL: Joseph Randle for Darren McFadden at RB.
GIANTS GAME CAPTAINS
QB Eli Manning, LS Zak DeOssie, LB Mark Herzlich, DT Cullen Jenkins.
NYG: LT Ereck Flowers dealt with an ankle issue but returned; DT Markus Kuhn left in the second half with a knee sprain. DAL: Dez Bryant left and returned in the second quarter due to dehydration; DE Randy Gregory left in the third quarter with an ankle injury.