Giants lose their grip on the game in 36-31 loss

Posted Sunday, Sep. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The New York Giants were playing loose with the football Sunday night in the season opener.

They were able to skirt by early, overcoming a flurry of turnovers in the first quarter, but the mistakes eventually caught up to them in a 36-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

The Giants turned the ball over six times — five times on offense and another on special teams — leading to 23 points for the Cowboys. Eli Manning was intercepted three times, and David Wilson lost two fumbles.

“All we talked about all week long is they’re coming to strip the ball,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.

Manning was intercepted twice in the first quarter as the Giants opened with turnovers on their first three possessions.

The miscues weren’t overly punitive. Dallas managed just a Dan Bailey field goal out of the three bonus possessions.

New York wasn’t as lucky in the third quarter.

The Giants lost the ball twice more, allowing the Cowboys to take a 27-10 lead. Wilson’s second fumble — and New York’s fourth turnover — was returned 27 yards for a touchdown by Barry Church.

A muffed punt by Trumaine McBride helped set up Tony Romo’s second touchdown pass to Jason Witten. After living dangerously in the first half, the Giants couldn’t overcome the turnover bug after the break.

Down 30-24 with the ball and less than 2 minutes left, Manning’s third interception sealed the Cowboys’ win. Brandon Carr corralled a deflected pass on the flat and raced 49 yards to close it out.

Salsa king

When the Giants were able to hold onto the ball, getting it into Victor Cruz’s hands was a good idea. New York’s first three touchdowns came on Eli Manning-to-Cruz connections.

After falling behind 13-3 with 2:55 left in the first half, the Giants needed just three plays and 65 seconds to close the gap to a field goal. Manning found a streaking Cruz down the left sideline in stride on a 70-yard touchdown late in the first half.

An 18-yard hookup between the two pulled the Giants within 27-17 late in the third quarter. Cruz danced for the third time with about 9 minutes left after a third-down catch to made it 30-24.

Cruz finished with five catches for 118 yards. He had only 81 yards receiving in two games against the Cowboys last season.

Injuries

New York had two members of the secondary go down when cornerback Prince Amukamara and safety Ryan Mundy had a literal head-on collision late in the first half. Amukamara was diagnosed with a concussion while Mundy was cleared to return.

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