Remember when Dez Bryant returned a kick 39 yards that gave his offense good field position with less than a minute to work with, and Tony Romo, needing three points to tie, led the Cowboys 51 yards to set up a chip shot field goal?
No, that never happened.
Romo did in fact take his team 51 yards, but rather than the short field goal proposed in the above scenario, kicker Dan Bailey was left with a 47-yard attempt. And we all know how that turned out.
The chain of events like that led to a victory on Sunday night for a team operating with razor-thin margins these days, and the Giants can look to Lawrence Tynes for providing a crucial link that might otherwise be overlooked.
Kicking his career-high sixth touchback of the game, Tynes booted the ball nine yards into the end zone after Brandon Jacobs' touchdown gave his team the lead. Bryant, back to return a kick for the first time this season as a last ditch effort, was left with no other option than to take a touchback with 46 seconds to play.
"You're never safe, 46 seconds left and they do a really good job the last couple of times," Tom Coughlin said on Monday. "Lawrence Tynes had an exceptional game kicking six touchbacks. They had Bryant back there for kickoffs and punts at the end of the game and because of the distance of the kickoffs we didn't have to worry about trying to tackle him in the open field."
Before that, Tynes handcuffed returners Felix Jones and Kevin Ogletree with bombs of five, nine, eight, and nine yards deep in the end zone to start the game (one went through the back). Tynes now has 33 touchbacks on the season, and the only return he allowed against the Cowboys was after Victor Cruz's unnecessary roughness penalty following Mario Manningham's touchdown.
That's where the coverage team came into play. Ogletree caught the ball at the six-yard line (after a 74-yard kick) and was greeted by Jacquian Williams and Derrick Martin at the 31. The Cowboys were forced to punt on the ensuing possession.
"I've kicked off well here for the last couple of years," Tynes said after the game. "It's a great venue to kick off. The roof was closed. It's definitely conducive to hitting long kickoffs, that's for sure. Coverage teams have been great. We limited Dez Bryant on punt return. The one kickoff we had after the penalty, I thought we covered it really well. So all around -- offense, defense, special teams -- it's a big win on the road. We're first in the division. That's what we came here to do."
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