ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants for the first time in JerryWorld.
The Cowboys entered the game 0-4 against their NFC East rival in owner Jerry Jones' $1.2 billion palace, but Dallas forced six turnovers to post a 36-31 win Sunday night at AT&T Stadium.
“The most critical statistic in football is turnover ratio and has been for 100 years,” said Dallas coach Jason Garrett. “We've worked on it a great deal. It's been a huge area of emphasis in practice. We teach them techniques and have shown them the statistics.”
Despite a half dozen turnovers, the Giants still had a chance to win until Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr intercepted Eli Manning and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown with 1:50 to play.
“Our defense was hard to go against in training camp,” said Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. “That was a heck of a performance. It's pretty exciting to see what our defense has been able to do ... We haven't had that in a while, create that many turnovers. That will serve us well moving forward.”
New Dallas defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who replaced Rob Ryan, has preached take-aways. The defense produced six.
The defining plays came on two third-quarter turnovers that pushed a three-point halftime lead to 27-10.
Early in the second half, Dallas defensive tackle Nick Hayden stripped running back David Wilson. Safety Barry Church picked up the ball and ran it in for a 27-yard TD.
After both teams exchanged punts, Dallas' punt turned into gold. Engaged in a block upfield, Trumaine McBride was unaware a bouncing punt was in the area. The ball glanced off McBride's shoulder. Dallas recovered at the 16-yard line.
Romo, who completed 36 of 49 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns, cashed in by throwing a 4-yard TD pass to Jason Witten, who became the third tight end in NFL history to record 9,000 receiving yards.
<<p>“It's infectious, contagious,” Garrett said of the turnovers. “We told them at halftime, ‘We got three in the first half, we need to get three more.' Sure enough, we got three more. Those were the difference-making plays in the game, no question about it.”
Dallas scored its final defensive touchdown on Carr's interception return off a pass that deflected off Giants running back De'Rel Scott's hands. It was a needed score when Manning threw his fourth TD pass with: 11 remaining.