by Cesar Tordesillas
The Giants were their own worst enemies as they lost their season-opening game for the third year in a row. They committed six turnovers that led to 24 Dallas points and they fell to the Cowboys in AT&T Stadium, 36-31.
The Giants committed turnovers on each of their first three offensive possessions -– two Eli Manning interceptions sandwiched around a David Wilson fumble. On the first snap of the season, Manning's screen pass to the left side for Wilson was intercepted by defensive end DeMarco Murray, leading to a Cowboys field goal. The second to interceptions did not result in Dallas points. But the Giants' three second-half turnovers all did.
Tony Romo completed 36 of 49 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns with an interception to earn their first victory in five home games against the Giants.
Jason Witten caught all of Romo's two touchdown passes and finished with 70 yards on eight catches while cornerback Brandon Carr and safety Barry Church returned two of the Giants' turnovers for touchdowns.
"Obviously, turnovers were the story of the game," said Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. "We took it away from them six times and it's been a huge point of emphasis for us from minute one."
"It's a great feeling as a coaching staff when your players are able to take that emphasis from the practice field into the ballgame to start the season," Garrett added.
Manning finished 27-for-42 for 450 yards and four touchdown passes -- three to wide receiver Victor Cruz -- but issued three interceptions that allowed the Cowboys to escape with the win.
Cruz tallied 118 yards on five catches, Hakeem Nicks had 114 yards on five receptions and Rueben Randle recorded 101 yards on five catches for the Giants, who just got 50 rushing yards.
Running back David Wilson committed two fumbles, the last one was returned by Church for a 27-yard touchdown that gave the Cowboys a 20-10 lead. Romo then padded their lead to 27-10 with a four-yard touchdown pass to Witten.
However, Manning issued an 18-yard touchdown pass to Cruz to end the third with the Cowboys ahead by just 10.
Dan Bailey opened the fourth with a 45-yard field goal but the Giants answered with a 10-yard touchdown pass by Manning to Cruz to cut the lead to 30-24.
Despite those miscues, the Giants had a chance to win the game when they took possession at their own 17-yard line with 2:41 remaining. But Manning's first-down pass to Randle tipped off the arm of Da'Rel Scott, who had replaced Wilson, and flew to Carr, who brought it back for the clinching score -- a 49-yard touchdown and a 36-24 lead.