ARLINGTON, Texas — The salsa is back, and the New York Giants finally finished when the Dallas Cowboys failed to stop the clock in the final seconds.
Eli Manning threw for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Victor Cruz in his first game in nearly two years, and the Giants beat the Cowboys 20-19 Sunday.
The Giants (1-0) won the debut of coach Ben McAdoo after 12 years and two Super Bowl titles under Tom Coughlin while spoiling the first game for Dallas’ Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.
Cruz, who missed most of 2014 with a knee injury and all of last season with a bad calf, broke free in the end zone for a 3-yard TD with 6 minutes remaining, prompting his trademark salsa dance.
“You couldn’t even describe what was going through my body,” said Cruz , who had four catches for 34 yards. “Wanted obviously to do the dance. I’m sure I’ve got that down pat.
“Everybody just pulled for me each and every day, each and every week as we got closer to Week 1. And to score a touchdown. You just couldn’t make up a story any better than that.”
Because of Tony Romo’s back injury, Prescott and Elliott were the first rookie quarterback-running back combo to start an opener for the Cowboys since Roger Staubach and Calvin Hill in 1969.
The game ended with Dallas in position for a roughly 57-yard field goal, but Terrance Williams didn’t get out of bounds after a catch and the clock ran out before Prescott could spike the ball.
Dan Bailey had four field goals, matched his career long at 56 yards and had another one from 54.
“The guy was trying to make a play,” Prescott said of Williams. “You never want to knock a guy trying to make a play.”
Randy Bullock, kicking because of Josh Brown’s one-game suspension, made the extra point for the lead after an earlier missed PAT.
New York beat Dallas in an opener for the first time in nine tries.
The Giants’ defense, fortified in free agency, held Dallas after the go-ahead score. Then the Giants emphasized the run to use most of the clock, quite a contrast to last season when questionable clock management contributed to six losses late in regulation or in overtime in a 6-10 season.
Elliott was held to a 2.5-yard average (51 yards on 21 carries), although he had his first touchdown, and the only one for Dallas. Prescott was 25 of 45 for 227 yards.
Manning was 19 of 28 for 207 yards, including a 45-yarder to Odell Beckham Jr. set up the first TD.
ANOTHER ROOKIE FIRST
New York receiver Sterling Shepard, the son of late former NFL receiver Derrick Sheppard, scored his first touchdown against one of his dad’s former teams. The second-round pick made a leaping catch over Dallas rookie Anthony Brown for a 9-yard score.
LOSING WITHOUT ROMO AGAIN
The Cowboys fell to 1-12 without Romo since the first of two broken collarbones last season in Week 2. Dallas lost the first seven without its four-time Pro Bowler on the way to a 4-12 finish. Romo broke a bone in his back in a preseason game at Seattle. He probably won’t be back until mid-October at the earliest.
DEZ DIDN’T CATCH IT
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant had an apparent 24-yard touchdown catch from Prescott overturned on review in the first half when the replay showed the ball coming loose as he landed and slid out of bounds in the end zone. Of course, the sequence sparked an immediate “Dez caught it/Dez didn’t catch it” reaction on Twitter. The catch that wasn’t in Green Bay in the playoffs two seasons ago will apparently live forever.
New York linebacker J.T. Thomas III was carted off with a sprained knee at halftime after getting hurt on a kickoff return on the final play of the first half. He didn’t return. … Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who missed all of 2015 with a knee injury, was out part of the first half with a hamstring injury. He returned and had a sack in the second half.
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