EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants scored a touchdown to take a four-point lead on the Dallas Cowboys with three minutes left in the game Sunday night. The Cowboys didn't even need two of those minutes to take the lead right back.
The kickoff was a touchback, setting Dallas up at its own 20-yard line, and quarterback Tony Romo opened things up with a quick 4-yarder to Dez Bryant on the right sideline. He found tight end Jason Witten for 5 yards on the next play, and then on third-and-1, running back DeMarco Murray scooted through the middle for 9 yards to get the ball to the 38. That got the game to the two-minute warning and bought the Cowboys time to talk.
"You just have to get yourself going, you have to get yourself started," Romo said. "Once you do that, it usually flows, and you just have to stay calm, stay in the moment and play each play by itself."
First thing out of the break, Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka was called for a neutral zone infraction, setting the Cowboys up with first-and-5 from the 43. Romo found slot receiver Cole Beasley for a 21-yard gain that for a second looked a little bit like the 45-yard catch-and-run touchdown Beasley had scored earlier. The Cowboys were in business at the Giants' 36-yard line with 1:30 left.
Romo took a shotgun snap and sat there in the pocket for what seemed like an eternity. The Giants were not blitzing, instead dropping seven into coverage and trying to get to Romo with only their front four. They could not, and he found Witten for 15 more yards. The next play went back to Bryant for 8 yards, and he went out of bounds at the 13 to stop the clock.
So on second-and-2 from the 13, Romo took another shotgun snap. This time, more than eight full seconds elapsed before Romo threw the ball. He did not have to leave the pocket. Kiwanuka explained after the game that part of the Giants' plan was to contain Romo in the pocket, since they consider him more dangerous outside of it than inside. But they still needed to find a way to get at least one pass-rusher through the Cowboys' offensive line, and they could not.
"Obviously, anytime you're afforded that amount of time with a couple of plays left at the end of the game, it's huge," Romo said.
Bryant got open in the back of the end zone and caught the game-winning touchdown. The Giants fell to 3-8 with their sixth loss in a row and were eliminated from the NFC East race with a week left to go in November.