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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie contributes two big interceptions, upsets Tom Coughlin with premature celebration

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #41 of the New York Giants

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie #41 of the New York Giants runs his interception back for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Credit: Mike Stobe

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie chalked it up to being overcome with emotion.

The cornerback had two interceptions of Dallas quarterback Matt Cassel in the Giants' 27-20 win over the Cowboys on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, including a pick-6 early in the third quarter that gave the Giants a 17-13 lead.

Rodgers-Cromartie picked off a pass intended for Terrence Williams and returned it 58 yards for the score, raising his arm and pointing his finger to the sky at the Cowboys' 40-yard line, then high-stepping it the final few yards into the end zone.

The early celebration did not make coach Tom Coughlin very happy.

"He gave it to me a little bit,'' Rodgers-Cromartie said of Coughlin, who was waiting to meet him when he returned to the sideline after the play.

Said Coughlin: "I try to get him not to hold the ball up in the air when the guy [Williams] is running right behind him. I just mentioned it to [Rodgers-Cromartie] in there, and he agreed.''

But Rodgers-Cromartie couldn't help getting excited. It was his first interception of the year.

"It's just excitement,'' he said. "I definitely had my hands [securely] on the ball, and I'm used to making plays. And when I finally make one, I was just overly excited.''

He acknowledged that on his second interception, on the first play of the fourth quarter with the Giants leading 20-13, he was trying to score a second touchdown. He picked off a pass over the middle at the Giants' 22-yard line and weaved his way right, then reversed field before eventually just covering the ball up and going down while surrounded by Dallas players after a 12-yard gain.

Rodgers-Cromartie's two interceptions were even bigger in light of the fact that the Giants' other starting cornerback, Prince Amukamara, is out with a pectoral muscle injury. The entire Giants secondary has had to raise its game with Amukamara out (he might return to practice this week), but Rodgers-Cromartie said he feels pressure to personally raise his own game and make a few plays.

"I do. I just to do more to try and make up for the absence of him,'' Rodgers-Cromartie said. "He's definitely the leader among us back there -- a guy that's young and has been stepping it up and is playing great. And without him, it's kind of hard. You've got that 'next man' mentality, and everything falls on us [as a group].''

Rodgers-Cromartie has had two big games against the Cowboys this season. He returned a fumble for a touchdown in the season-opening loss in Dallas, and beyond his two interceptions Sunday, he had a chance for a third. That one got away from him, he said, because he was playing with a bone bruise in one of his fingers and the ball hit him on that finger and bounced off.

He briefly left the game after that play and had a splint put on the finger before returning to the game. The finger didn't bother him on the next two balls that came his way, he said.


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