Cruz bemoans drops, missed penalty

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Victor Cruz had never had more than one drop in a game -- until Wednesday night.

The 25-year-old became the first Giants wide receiver to drop three passes in a game since Mario Manningham in 2009, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"There's no excuses for me. I have to catch those footballs," said Cruz, who did have six catches for 58 yards in the Giants' 24-17 loss to the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.

"I guess it's kind of just a humble check," he told the New York Daily News "I think it was just a matter of moving without catching the ball. There was times where I was trying to move before I caught the ball. And just understand that I can't do anything without the ball."

Cruz and coach Tom Coughlin both believed Cruz was held on a third-and-goal pass from Eli Manning in the second quarter, which fell incomplete and forced the Giants to kick a field goal.

"I obviously thought I got held. I guess the refs didn't think so," Cruz said.

Said Coughlin: "Oh, for sure. I think there was more than a hold. There's another word for it. But you have people in a position, and they're trying to do the very best they can.

"That part of it is just part of the game, anybody can miss a call, but I just felt like in a situation like that, a key situation, where it becomes a first down again, it would have been nice to get that call."

• Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka wasn't exactly happy with the way the game was called by the replacement referees.

"It's tough not playing with the refs. You notice when the real refs are out there. ... There were a lot of things out there that didn't make sense to me as a player or a student of the game," said Kiwanuka, adding that he respects the officials and how tough their job is.

Dallas was penalized 13 times for 86 yards. The Giants were penalized four times for 33 yards.

• The Giants are the first defending Super Bowl champions to lose their season opener since 1999 Broncos, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Those teams had won 12 straight openers.