. Dwayne Harris was the other one who got away. And Sunday evening he made the Dallas Cowboys pay for it.
For all the talk about how Dallas would sorely miss DeMarco Murray, who went to Philadelphia in free agency, not much was said about Harris’ move to the New York Giants.
At least not until now.
When Harris caught Dan Bailey’s kickoff on the goal line seconds after Devin Street’s sensational sideline touchdown catch with 7:14 left to play, it took 13 seconds for the kick returner to score.
Harris ran up the middle into the clear, zoomed past Bailey and stunned the Cowboys with a backbreaking 100-yard kickoff return to give the Giants a 27-20 win.
“We’ve been overdue for a long time,” said Harris on his first career kickoff return for a touchdown. “We’ve always been one block away, one lane away.
“Tonight, it was blocked perfect and anybody could’ve run through the hole that was made. It feels great, especially to do it against my old teammates.”
The reason they’re his former teammates is because unlike Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and owner Jerry Jones, Giants coach Tom Coughlin offered Harris a chance to do more than return kicks. That, plus a five-year, $17.5 million contract, with $7.5 million guaranteed.
“The Giants told me they were going to give me a chance at receiver,” explained Harris, who caught two passes for 43 yards, including a 38-yard slant on the Giants’ only drive that resulted in a touchdown. “And they kept their word.
“That was the main reason I came here. The Cowboys really didn’t want me to be anything but a blocking receiver. Coach Coughlin said if I came here they would let me get some receiver reps. I’ve been getting a lot of snaps these past few weeks.”
The irony is that had Harris stayed in Dallas he’d likely be getting the same opportunity with Dez Bryant injured.
“They did what they had to do,” said Harris, who has 15 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown for the season, “I did what I had to do. It’s a business. Things happen for a reason.”
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie baited the line. Then he reeled it in.
Rodgers-Cromartie had two interceptions, including a 58-yard return for a touchdown.
“I know their route combinations a little bit,” said Rodgers-Cromartie.
Rodgers-Cromartie beat Terrance Williams to a spot on an outside route and returned the interception for a touchdown. He cut off Brice Butler to swipe another pass.
“Once I saw [Jason] Witten go in, I knew the one behind me was coming in. So I just took off. I had outside leverage,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “I didn’t know it was going for six, but I knew I had a chance for it.”
Coughlin was pleased with Rodgers-Cromartie’s play, but wasn’t happy with the cornerback’s early celebration while running to the end zone.
“He told me I can’t be holding the ball like that and not to celebrate until I got to the end zone,” said Rodgers-Cromartie. “He gave it to me a little bit.
“I know Coach is right. I let my emotions get the best of me. But it’s been awhile since I ran one back like that.”
Few had ever heard of second-year running back Orleans Darkwa from Tulane.
He had four carries for 2 yards in a brief stint with the Miami Dolphins last season. Against Dallas, Darkwa had eight carries for 48 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown.
“Darkwa helped us out there,” Coughlin said. “He certainly did look good. His touchdown run, when he cut back behind the line, was quite an outstanding play. “We planned on using him today and he came through for us.”