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Giants beat Cowboys on last-second field goal

New York Giants' Lawrence Tynes (9) kicks a

New York Giants' Lawrence Tynes (9) kicks a field goal on the final play of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009, in Arlington, Texas. The score gave the Giants a 33-31 win. (AP Photo/LM Otero) Photo Credit: AP Photo/LM Otero

ARLINGTON, Texas - How do you spoil a $1.12-billion housewarming party?

Just the way the Giants did Sunday night. They intercepted three Tony Romo passes that led to touchdowns and had a breakout game by Mario Manningham. And then they drove 56 yards to set up Lawrence Tynes' 37-yard field goal with no time left for a 33-31 win over the Cowboys.

What's it like to have 105,000 people fall despondently silent?

"It's one of the best sounds in the world,'' Giants tight end Kevin Boss said. "Especially when we're in Dallas.''

>>PHOTOS: Click here to see highlights from the Giants win

It wasn't a perfect game for the Giants (2-0). They were 0-for-5 from the red zone (the winning kick contributed to that count) and lost a key piece of their defense - for how long it's unclear. But the Giants and their fans got their money's worth. That's more than can be said for Jerry Jones.

"This is definitely one of the best things I've ever been a part of, just coming in here and ruining this whole thing for them," Brandon Jacobs said. "I love it."

The Giants already had lost some depth on the defensive line, with Jay Alford on injured reserve and Chris Canty out for a few weeks with a calf strain. In the second quarter they lost versatile All-Pro Justin Tuck.

Tuck was rushing Romo and made an inside move against left tackle Flozell Adams when Adams stuck out his leg and basically kicked Tuck in the right knee. Tuck fell, was taken out of the game and did not return. He had X-rays of his left shoulder, the Giants said shortly after halftime, and spent most of the second half on the sideline with his shoulder pads off.

"Bush," Tuck said of the play by Adams. "It's something he always does and he gets away with it and he continues to do it."

Tuck said he didn't play the rest of the game because he was unable to get down in a three-point stance. He said he has no doubt he'll be able to play next week.

The final drive was vintage Eli Manning: Calm and cool. Even when the Giants started their journey with a holding penalty against Chris Snee to set up first-and-20 from the 15, they were unfazed.

"It's one of those situations you like to be in. You want to have a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter," said Manning, who completed 25 of 38 passes for 330 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions and had a 110.6 rating to Romo's 29.6. "We had a feeling it was going to come down to that and it was good to have all the guys make all the plays we needed to win."

A few were of particular significance: An 11-yard pass to Steve Smith on third-and-6 early in the drive, an 8-yard pass to Manningham on third-and-4 from near midfield that was tipped at the line, and a 12-yarder to Smith to bring the team to the 21 and set up the field goal.

"The way they were moving the ball, I knew they left us too much time on the clock," Tynes said of the touchdown that gave the Cowboys (1-1) a 31-30 lead with 3:40 remaining. "I knew when we got the ball we were at least going to have a shot, so I was ready for anything."

Tynes actually had two tries at the game-winner, both of which were good. His first one curled through close to the left upright, but the Cowboys had called a timeout just before the snap. So Tynes did it again. This time, he said, he kicked it even better than the first try, and it went down the middle.

With the Giants' offense struggling to score points in the red zone, it was up to the defense to provide the game-changing plays. It did just that for the second week in a row.

The Cowboys took advantage of the weakened defensive line with a seven-play drive, with all 83 yards on the ground, to take a 24-20 edge late in the third quarter. But when they got the ball back they went to the air, and Kenny Phillips grabbed his second interception of the game on a pass intended for Sam Hurd that was overthrown.

On the next play, Manning threw a 49-yard bomb to Manningham (150 yards, 10 catches), and three plays later, he hit Smith (134 yards, 10 catches) for a 22-yard TD to make it 27-24 with 13:24 left.

This week it wasn't Osi Umenyiora providing the defensive touchdown but undrafted rookie free agent Bruce Johnson, who intercepted Romo and returned it 34 yards to give the Giants a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter.

The Giants could have piled on at that point after Bryan Kehl snuck a left hand into the basket of Felix Jones on the ensuing kickoff and forced a fumble. Sinorice Moss had a chance to pick it up and score, but Kehl recovered it at the bottom of a pile at the Cowboys' 27. They got to the 5 but had to settle for a field goal that made it 13-7. It was the second red-zone trip that resulted in a field goal for the Giants.

The Cowboys scored on a 1-yard pass from Romo to Jason Witten to take a 14-13 lead, but the Giants' defense stepped up again.

Phillips intercepted a pass that bounced off the left heel of Witten and returned it 28 yards for what should have been a touchdown. But because the initial ruling on the field was an incompletion and the whistle was blown, the Giants had to settle for the review to give them the ball at the Dallas 28.

The Giants pushed it to the 22, and on third-and-4, Manning lofted a fade down the right side for Manningham. The second-year player made a sliding, bobbling grab in the end zone that gave the Giants a 20-14 lead with 46 seconds left in the half.

Marion Barber rushed for 124 yard on 18 carries and Jones added 96 rushing yards on seven carries for the Cowboys, who gained 251 yards on 29 carries, an 8.7-yard average. The Giants rushed for only 97 yards on 26 carries.

>>PHOTOS: Click here to see highlights from the Giants win

>>PHOTOS: Click here for an insider's tour of the new $1.12 billion Cowboys Stadium

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