Brandon Carr and the Dallas Cowboys are serious about forcing turnovers.
They needed six to put away Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
Carr returned an interception 49 yards for the clinching touchdown, and the
Cowboys overcame a big night from Manning to beat him for the first time at
their fancy $1.2 billion stadium in a 36-31 victory Sunday night.
Tony Romo shook off hits to the ribs that knocked him out for the final Dallas play of the first
half and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jason Witten.
Manning threw three touchdown passes to Victor Cruz and four overall, and he had New York
in position for a comeback victory despite the flurry of mistakes.
But with the Giants trailing 30-24, Manning's pass went off the hand of
running back De'Rel Scott into Carr's arms.
The cornerback beat Manning down the sideline with 1:50 left for Dallas'
second defensive touchdown. Barry Church returned a fumble 27 yards for a
touchdown in the third quarter.
''It's infectious. It's contagious,'' Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. ''We
challenged them at halftime. We had three, let's get three more.''
The Cowboys had only 16 turnovers all last year, switched to a four-man front
with new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and swore all preseason that taking
the ball away was the foremost thing on their minds. They proved it from the
first snap of the season.
DeMarcus Ware intercepted Manning's first pass, and the Giants turned it over
on their first three possessions. The Cowboys didn't take advantage of the early
gifts, but built a big enough lead to hold off a New York comeback once the
Giants finally stopped turning it over.
It matched the most turnovers for the Giants since 1987, when they had seven
against New Orleans. And it was the most Dallas has forced since 2003.
''Just tells you our system is so much built on attitude,'' said defensive
line coach Rod Marinelli, who was defensive coordinator for Chicago last year
when the Bears led the NFL with 44 turnovers. ''We had a lot of guys play
tonight who jumped in and helped us. It's just team defense.''
Church scored on the fourth New York turnover - the second fumble from new
starting running back David Wilson, who lost control of the ball on a strip by
Nick Hayden just before hitting the ground. Church scooped up the ball and ran
The Cowboys went up 27-10 in the third quarter after the fifth miscue - a
punt that bounced and hit Trumaine McBride while he was trying to block for the
return. Rookie Devonte Holloman won a scramble for the loose ball, and Romo
threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Witten.
''I just think it's pretty exciting to see what our team defensively has been
able to do here, in training camp, preseason and into the season,'' Romo
When the mistakes stopped, the Giants made it a game again. New York went 80
yards, capped by Cruz's second score on an 18-yard pass, and Cruz scored again
from the 10 to pull the Giants to 30-24 midway through the fourth quarter.
New York got the ball back, but the Cowboys forced a quick punt. After Dallas
again failed to move the ball, Carr came through with the clinching
''You're not going to win the game turning the ball over five times and
muffing a punt,'' Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. ''I'm totally, totally
disappointed, embarrassed about that football. That's sloppy, sloppy
The Giants scored with 11 seconds left on Manning's fourth touchdown, a
4-yarder to Brandon Myers. But Dallas recovered an onside kick.
Manning was 27 of 42 for 450 yards and had three 100-yard receivers in Cruz
(five catches, 118 yards), Hakeem Nicks (five for 114) and Rueben Randle (five
Romo was 36 of 49 for 263 yards, and Miles Austin had 10 catches for 72
yards. Witten, who had only three touchdowns last year, had eight grabs for 70
and became the third tight end in NFL history with 9,000 yards receiving.
DeMarco Murray had 86 yards rushing for Dallas.
Romo threw a 15-yard TD pass to Witten before halftime, and Dan Bailey also
had two field goals (30 and 38 yards) by then for a 13-10 lead.
In the final minute of the first half, Romo was hit in the ribs and had the
wind knocked out after being crushed between Mathias Kiwanuka and Justin Trattou
after throwing an incompletion. Kyle Orton came on to finish the half, but Romo
was back after halftime.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Romo didn't receive any treatment, and that
the medical staff cleared him to play.
''One tough player, one tough man,'' Jones said. ''He will go out and play in
pain and play hurt.''
After Manning's second interception, this one by new Cowboys safety Will
Allen, Dallas had third-and-11 at the Giants 14.
Romo threw a pass toward rookie Terrance Williams that instead deflected off
the Giants' Prince Amukamara into the arms of New York teammate Ryan Mundy, who
raced 91 yards. He was caught from behind by Murray at the 1.
GAME NOTES: The crowd of 85,348 was significantly smaller than the NFL
regular-season record crowd of 105,121 that watched the first Giants game at the
stadium in its 2009 debut. ... Giants CB Prince Amukamara was knocked out of the
game with a concussion after a helmet-on-helmet collision with S Ryan Mundy, who
was cleared to return.
We love sports in large part because of the uncertainty. It isn't scripted, and we can never be sure how it's going to turn out. Andrew Luck
is one of the rare cases of something being interesting because
we know precisely how the story is going to end.
Luck is everything he was made out to be coming out of Stanford. The Colts quarterback is practically a lock to be a
great player. Everyone can see that. And following his maturation into being that great player is going to be fascinating.
Luck has looked very good in the preseason as he prepares for his second season. In the preseason opener last week, he was 4-of-6 for 51 yards in limited work. Against the Giants he played one quarter, and one drive into the second quarter. He went 9-of-13 for 107 yards and two touchdowns, and when he took a seat the Colts led 17-3.
If someone said that, in about five months, Luck would be universally acknowledged as a top three NFL quarterback, would you be that surprised?
He had some things to work on after a very good rookie season, and looks much better in year two. He still has the athletic ability and the big arm, and in very brief preseason work it's obvious this familiar offense fits him well.
Last season Luck worked in Bruce Arians' vertical offense, and attempted more passes of 20 or more yards (101) than any other quarterback, according to Pro Football Focus. Joe Flacco was second with 92, and only five quarterbacks in all attempted more than 80. And Luck was good on those deep throws, completing 35 (his receivers had eight drops, too). But he had six interceptions (only Drew Brees had more on deep passes, with seven), and the heavy vertical attack also helps explain his 54.1 completion percentage. Not that he didn't do very well in that offense – he threw for 4,374 yards and led the Colts, who were 2-14 the year before, to a very surprising playoff berth.
Now with Pep Hamilton as offensive coordinator, Luck is running the same offense he did at Stanford. Mainly because Hamilton was Luck's offensive coordinator during the quarterback's final season at Stanford. In the Colts' two preseason games it's easy to see that Luck will be asked to complete a lot of high-percentage throws. He looks comfortable and confident. His completion percentage should skyrocket. It's 68.4 percent this preseason. His interceptions probably will go down, although he did get lucky Sunday night when Giants cornerback Aaron Ross dropped one on a play that Reggie Wayne eventually hauled in for a circus touchdown catch. Luck performed admirably in a new offense last year, but he seems like a perfect fit in Hamilton's scheme that has plenty of West Coast elements.
Luck's physical ability is special, even among NFL quarterbacks, and he showed it off against the Giants. His 18-yard touchdown throw to T.Y. Hilton on third and 11 was made with pinpoint accuracy right over the cornerback – and was also a very athletic catch by a rapidly emerging Hilton. His best play against the Giants was probably an incompletion. He rolled left, then contorted his body to deliver a perfect strike downfield between two Giants defenders to tight end Coby Fleener. Fleener dropped the throw. It was still a jaw-dropping pass.
Andrew Luck is turning out to be a savior for the Indianapolis Colts
Bet on Steelers-Giants 08/10/13
Two of the NFL's elite franchises take on each other in a preseason game. The New York Giants
(2012: 9-7 SU, 7-9 ATS) are looking to bounce back from last year's swoon. They did have the same record that they had in 2011 when they won the Super Bowl. The Pittsburgh Steelers
(2012: 8-8 SU, 6-9-1 ATS) also missed the playoffs last year. They are 28-1 odds to win the Super Bowl, while the Giants are 22-1. The Giants visit Heinz Field on Saturday night to take on the Steelers from Pittsburgh at 7:30pmET.
Pittsburgh opened as a -3-point betting odds favorite and moved to -2
in most books. The total opened at
35.5 and remained there in most books. Brown and Wilson battle for starting running back
The New York Giants had a decent running attack last year, as they ranked 14th
in the league with 116.4 yards per game. Ahmad Bradshaw is gone and the Giants
will go younger with speedy David Wilson and Andre Brown.
Wilson is the more explosive back, while Brown provides the power. He had eight
touchdowns in 10 games last year.
The defense is the main concern for the Giants as DE/OLB Justin Tucker and DE
Jason Pierre-Paul is recovering from back surgery. The Giants drafted Damontre
Moore in the third round and he'll play alongside another rookie in Johnathan Hankins,
a second-rounder from Ohio State. The Giants ranked 25th last year against the run,
so they need better play up front. Both young players have been very impressive in
With Eli Manning taking a series or two, expect the Giants to get
a long look from rookie Ryan Nassib, the fourth-round pick from
Syracuse. Key Injuries
- DE Justin Tuck (back) is out.
- DE Jason Pierre-Paul (back) is out.
- WR Plaxico Burress (shoulder) is out indefinitely.
- TE Heath Miller (knee) is out indefinitely.
- LB Sean Spencer (knee) is out indefinitely.
Steelers looking for a Prime Comeback
The days of Jerome Bettis are over. Rashard Mendenhall is now playing in
Arizona. The Steelers have always been a run-first team but last year they
ranked an atrocious 26th (96.1 yards per game) on the ground.
They drafted Le'Veon Bell from Michigan State to help with the
running game. Bell is a big back with good feet but he's not considered a
powerful runner. He'll get every chance to win the job from Jonathan Dwyer and
Isaac Redman. He'll work with the starters on Saturday.
The Steelers also changed their backup quarterbacks around as they brought in Bruce
Gradkowski to back up Ben Roethlisberger, who played with an injured shoulder
and rib last season.
Defensively, Pittsburgh needs to get younger as linebacker James Harrison and nose tackle Casey Hampton are gone. Safety Troy Polamalu can't seem to stay healthy. Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is the prototypical player for their 3-4 scheme. Rookie Shamarko Thomas is a big
hitting safety who the Steeler took in the fourth round that could eventually
Kickoff temperature: 73. Northeast wind 7-9.
New York Giants
Ryan Nassib (R)
Landry Jones (R)
Oh, the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers also have a very sexy female fan club that includes the hot Jessica Alba. Check them out!