Giants want to continue winning streak at Cowboys Stadium
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It's called Cowboys Stadium, but in the three times the Giants have visited it, they've made it feel like their own.
The Giants have never lost in Jerry Jones' $1.2-billion edifice, a trend that began with the very first regular-season game played there in 2009. On that night, Lawrence Tynes kicked a game-winning 37-yard field goal, Eli Manning signed his name on the wall and the Giants settled in to their home away from home.
"I hope it continues," Justin Tuck said this past week. "But I don't have any magical secrets of why we've had success down there. Every game has gone down to the wire -- games that we needed something special to happen to pull them out. We have had success down there. There's no doubt. But I don't think there's any one thing you can point at. I think it's just count our lucky stars, I guess."
It is true that the Giants have had some exciting games there since the new palace opened. Besides Tynes' game-winning field goal for the 33-31 win in the first game, they beat the Cowboys the following year, 41-35, in a game in which Michael Boley knocked Tony Romo out for the rest of the season. Last year, of course, the Giants needed Jason Pierre-Paul to block a potential tying field goal to seal a 37-34 win after they erased a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
"It seems like all of them have been tight games, coming down to last-second field goals or two-minute drives at the end," Manning said. "We've made plays when we needed to, and I have a feeling that we're going to have that same type of game."
Manning in particular has played well at Cowboys Stadium. He has thrown for at least 300 yards in each of his three games there, including 400 last year. He's thrown eight touchdown passes and four interceptions. Three of those interceptions came in the 2010 game.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, are aware of their home losing streak against the Giants. And if they weren't, Jones' training- camp invitation to fans to come to the building and watch his team "beat the New York Giants' [butts]" certainly put added pressure on them to stop the skid.
But they're not focused on that aspect of the game, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
"Certainly you want to protect your home-field advantage and certainly play well at home," he said, "but you want to play well on the road, you want to play well in the parking lot, you want to play well on the moon. Our players hear me say that a lot. It will be a great challenge for us at our place on Sunday against this football team."
It's not only the Giants who have caused domestic problems for the Cowboys. Since the new stadium opened, the Cowboys are 14-12 there in the regular season, including 1-1 this season.
"We absolutely need to protect home, and we need to do a good job of that," Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears told Dallas reporters. "I don't think it's a surprise when a team wins. Usually when they've been here, they played better than us. That's usually what dictates us playing against the Giants. We played well enough to beat them early this year at their house and we won the game. That's usually how it goes in this division."
The Giants are trying to block out their success in the building rather than rely on it. Mathias Kiwanuka shied away from calling it a "home away from home," but he did note that road games within the division usually give players a more comfortable routine.
"You're familiar with it," he said. "You've played there year in and year out. By the time you get to six, seven divisional games, you're familiar going through the halls and you understand what's going to come your way in terms of pregame."
Even tight end Martellus Bennett, who played four years for the Cowboys and was on the Dallas sideline for each of the Giants' three victories, said he will not feel any special emotions entering the building or walking onto the field he once called home.
"They have a nice stadium," Bennett said. "They have the big ol' TV and everything. But at the same time, it's just another field to play on. No matter where we play, we always go out there and try to win."
They try everywhere. It's just that in Dallas, where they've won four of their last five and six of their last eight going back to old Texas Stadium, they usually succeed.
"Someone asked me that, and they put it in such a way: Are you ever going to lose?" Giants coach Tom Coughlin said of the streak. "I said, 'I hope not.' "