IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Bill Parcells knew the game was getting
away from the Dallas Cowboys. Yet he thought one jolt could put
them back in control.
So with Dallas down only six points and more than 10 minutes
left, he made a huge gamble: Going for it on fourth-and-1 from the
A field goal on the ensuing drive sent the Giants to a 26-10
victory, ending Dallas' modest two-game winning streak and giving
the Cowboys a tough early season loss to a division foe.
"This is definitely a game that hurts," safety Tony Dixon
said. "And it will for a while."
Parcells blamed himself for the fourth-down failure, as well as
a miss on fourth-and-inches from the New York 5 in the first
However, he noted that he wouldn't have had to try creating
momentum if Dallas (2-2) had played better -- like not commiting 11
penalties or squandering a 2-minute drill before halftime with a
fumble that led to a field goal for the Giants.
"We're just stupid," Parcells said. "We're just dumb."
The Cowboys regained their running game, but lost their passing
attack. The defense went from doing a nice job early on Tiki Barber
to seeing him pull off a key 58-yard run and a back-breaking
Barber finished with 122 yards rushing and the first rushing TD
against Dallas in 28 quarters. Steve Christie added four field
goals, sending New York (4-1) to its fourth straight win, matching
its season total from last season.
Going into the bye week, the Giants could be celebrating -- if
only tough-to-please coach Tom Coughlin would let them.
"It's nice to be where we are, but we haven't done anything
yet," Barber said. "We just have to continue to improve and make
The Cowboys opened the game by showing how much they improved
their running game during the bye week.
Johnson was 0-for-1 passing, too. Perhaps the failure of the
gimmick play should've been a sign this wasn't going to be the
"We just need to strive to play a complete game," said George,
who finished with 75 of the team's 166 yards rushing.
The game began going New York's way midway through the third
quarter, when a questionable roughing-the-punter penalty gave the
Giants a fresh start from their 28.
Jeff Feagles drew the flag by dropping his leg on top of Dallas'
Keith Davis, who was crouching to avoid contact. Feagles fell, then
got up and complained, helping convince officials he'd been decked.
"It's my fault for being too close to him," Davis said. "I
think that play right there cost us the game."
Actually, the next play hurt just as much.
Barber had just 26 yards on 10 carries at that point, but came
back with his long burst down the left sideline. Two personal fouls
against the Cowboys kept the drive alive and Kurt Warner capped it
with a 1-yard pass to Jeremy Shockey, putting New York up 13-10.
Dallas answered by reaching the Giants' 27, then a sack forced
Billy Cundiff to try a 52-yard field goal, which he missed. New
York turned it into a 47-yarder by Christie.
Then came Parcells' big decision.
"He showed some confidence in us and we let him down,"
New York coach Tom Coughlin spent three years working for
Parcells. His knowledge of his former boss may have paid off there
as his defense spread the field instead of packing the middle, as
it did on the first try -- a run, like the Giants were expecting.
"It's almost an insult to our defense when guys go for it on
fourth down," New York defensive end Michael Strahan said.
Christie capped the ensuing possession with a 26-yarder, making
him 4-for-4 after an ugly three-miss performance the previous week.
Barber put the game away on the next drive, first with his long
reception on third-and-10, then with his TD run.
^Notes: Dallas WR Antonio Bryant (leg) was hurt on one of the final
plays, but there was no immediate update. CB Bruce Thornton, who
was making his NFL debut, may have sustained a season-ending knee
injury. .. At halftime, Rayfield Wright and Cliff Harris were
inducted into the Cowboys' Ring of Honor. ... Coughlin is now 2-3
against Parcells. ... Testaverde passed Joe Montana for sixth place
on the career completions list with 3,415, and tied Sonny Jurgensen
for ninth place on the TD list with his 255th.
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