Miles Austin played for the first time in a month, and he made his first catch in two months.
It counted for a lot. The 17-yard catch over the middle, one play after he dropped a pass, gave the Dallas Cowboys a first down coming out of the 2-minute warning and let them run down the clock so they could kick the game-winning field goal.
“Just showed some confidence in me, and he put the ball on the money, and I made sure I wasn’t going to drop that one,” Austin said.
Asked if it felt good, he laughed and said, “Yeah, it felt good. Yeah. It felt good to be able to help out.”
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Austin had already missed a chance at a pass earlier in the game. He had few chances to that point.
But with the game on the line — the Cowboys facing second-and-10 from the Giants’ 45 and too far for a field-goal try — Austin’s catch put the ball at the 28. From there, the Cowboys worked their way to the 15 and the winning field goal.
“I trust Miles,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “That was a big-time catch he made. That put us in position to win the game. He did a great job stacking his guy and breaking off inside. I was proud. He played a good game today.”
Austin deflected credit.
“Tony led us down there and helped us seal it at the end,” he said. “Dan Bailey made a great kick, and it’s always good when you come off with a W.”
Coach Jason Garrett said he didn’t know if he took a bigger role in play-calling, but the new mechanics of the Cowboys’ play-calling — with quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson joining offensive coordinator Bill Callahan in the booth and Garrett communicating directly with Romo — apparently went smoothly.
“We were trying to emphasize communication during the game,” Garrett said. “Wade Wilson had been in that role, taking the plays from Bill and talking to Tony. It’s something I have done for a long time, whether I was calling plays as an assistant coach or as a player. I have been in that role a lot. It’s a role I’m comfortable with. It was an opportunity to get Wade upstairs to see the game. Wade’s got great eyes. It was good for us.”
Romo said it went “smooth.”
Bruce Carter said he thought tight end Brandon Myers went out of bounds after his fourth-down catch to the 10-yard line, and that’s why he didn’t touch him down. Myers got up and scored, cutting the Cowboys’ lead to 21-13 in the third quarter.
“I thought he fell out of bounds,” Carter said. “I’ve got to have more awareness.”
Carter said Garrett told him to shake it off and move to the next play.
“You don’t want to get down on yourself,” Carter said. “We had a lot of the game still to play, so we just got to keep moving.”
Kiffin said Carter was mad at himself for giving up the play and so didn’t notice Myers wasn’t down.
Rookie safety Jeff Heath was near the play, too.
“I don’t really know what was going on in my head,” he said. “We’ll learn from that.”
Dan Bailey’s 35-yard field goal as time expired was his eighth game-winning kick for the Cowboys, setting a franchise record. He had been tied with Rafael Septien.
The third-year pro is 79 for 88 career with the Cowboys.
Kick returner Dwayne Harris left the game in the first half because of a hamstring injury.
Cornerback Morris Claiborne also left the game with a hamstring injury.