ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tony Romo to Jason Witten saved the Dallas Cowboys again, and it could be at least a month before All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant can help his quarterback again.
Romo threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to his trusty tight end with 7 seconds left, and the Cowboys overcame three turnovers that led to easy New York points to beat the Giants 27-26 on Sunday night.
The Cowboys drove 72 yards in 1:27 after stopping New York at the 1 and forcing Josh Brown’s fourth field goal when a touchdown would have sealed the Giants’ first victory in an opener against Dallas.
Bryant wasn’t on the field for the decisive drive after breaking his right foot, an injury owner Jerry Jones said would sideline the receiver four to six weeks.
The defending NFC East champion Cowboys are 8-0 against their division rival in openers, and have beaten them five straight times.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie returned a fumble 57 yards for a touchdown, and the Giants had to go just a yard for their other TD after Trumaine McBride’s interception.
“We didn’t play great in a lot of areas and obviously (protecting) the ball was the biggest one,” said Romo, who threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. “You gotta believe.”
The Giants tried to throw on third down from the Dallas 1 with a 23-20 lead, but the Cowboys didn’t take the play-action fake. Eli Manning had to throw the ball away, stopping the clock and giving Romo plenty of time to win the game.
On the winning play, Romo had to pick up the ball after a low snap and found Witten shielding defenders at the goal line. The 13-year veteran made the catch, stayed on his feet and left no doubt about getting the ball in the end zone for yet another huge connection between one of the most prolific quarterback-tight end combos in NFL history.
Romo led two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter after McBride’s interception set up Rashad Jennings’ 1-yard scoring that put the Giants up 23-13 with 8 minutes to go.
Running back Lance Dunbar got the final Dallas drive going with two catches for 40 yards. He finished with team highs of eight catches for 70 yards with Bryant twice leaving the game. The first time was in the first half because of dehydration.
The Giants converted two Dallas turnovers into 10 points in the final minute of the second quarter.
Rodgers-Cromartie picked up a fumble by receiver Cole Beasley just before he hit the ground at the end of a run and ran 57 yards untouched for a 10-6 lead.
On Dallas’ next snap, Romo threw behind Witten, who tipped the ball into the arms of linebacker Uani Unga, starting because Jon Beason missed the game with a sprained left knee. The Giants had to settle for Brown’s second field goal, from 40 yards.
Joseph Randle got most of the work in the first game for Dallas without 2014 NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray. He had 16 carries for 65 yards, and Darren McFadden had six for 16.
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