Dallas Cowboys' rally misses by fingertips against Giants

ARLINGTON -- The Dallas Cowboys were a fingertip away from a historic comeback.

Receiver Dez Bryant's acrobatic catch of a Hail Mary pass from quarterback Tony Romo with 10 seconds left Sunday was initially ruled a touchdown, sending the 94,067 in attendance at Cowboys Stadium into a "I can't believe what I just saw" frenzy with the Cowboys seemingly on the verge of a season-turning victory.

But typical of this team and this season, the shouting was all for naught.

The play was reversed after a review because Bryant's fingertips hit out of bounds before his body landed in the end zone.

Two empty plays later, it was the New York Giants celebrating a 29-24 victory in the house that owner Jerry Jones built, leaving the Cowboys with that hollow feeling again.

Never mind that the Cowboys rallied from a 23-0 first-half deficit -- thanks, largely to three interceptions off Romo and a Bryant fumble on a punt return -- while showing heart and courage to take a 24-23 lead in the third quarter.

They coughed it up two more times in the fourth quarter, a fumble by running back Felix Jones and Romo's fourth interception to prove that the only thing they have done consistently this season, outside of tease fans with their possibilities, is beating themselves.

"Nobody is giving you credit for battling," frustrated tight end Jason Witten said. "It's all about winning. After all the fighting and competing, you need to win. You can't turn the ball over and win. To play that way is frustrating."

The Giants, who are 4-0 all-time at Cowboys Stadium, moved to 6-2 on the season and have a commanding lead atop the NFC East.

The Cowboys (3-4) are back on the brink of disaster heading into Sunday's game at the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.

Jerry Jones is concerned at the direction of a season that he hoped would end with a trip to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.

"I'm very disappointed," Jones said. "We know what we've got ahead of us. Now we've got our work cut out for us. With the Giants leading the division, we needed to win this game. So it's very disappointing."

Jones was booed along with Romo and even coach Jason Garrett by the disgruntled fans at Cowboys Stadium when the Cowboys fell behind 23-0.

And while he got excited along with the fans with Bryant's near-catch and the seemingly miraculous comeback that would have been the largest in franchise history, he also knows the Cowboys didn't deserve to win with the way they played early.

"The big plays don't win the games as much as the mistakes lose the ball game," Jones said. "We made the kinds of mistakes that lose ball games."

No one knows that more than Romo and Bryant, whose turnovers put the Cowboys behind in the first place.

Romo completed 36 of 62 passes for 437 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions. He has 13 interceptions this season, already tying the third-highest interception total of his career with nine games left.

"I would have booed us too," Romo said. "We deserved it at that time."

The Cowboys stayed in the game and had a chance to win because of the strong play of the defense, which limited Giants quarterback Eli Manning to 192 yards passing and a 58.4 quarterback rating. Safety Danny McCray had an interception to help fuel the comeback attempt.

After the Cowboys took the lead, the Giants did just enough to win, thanks to two fourth-quarter field goals.

"This can't be what we are or we are going to keep losing," DeMarcus Ware said. "We've got to change it fast."

The way the Cowboys are going they are more than a fingertip away.

Clarence E. Hill Jr.


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