Tuesday 27 June 2017

Romo sets up Witten for Cowboys' last-gasp winner

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with seven seconds left to give the Cowboys a 27-26 win against the New York Giants
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with seven seconds left to give the Cowboys a 27-26 win against the New York Giants

Steve Reed

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with seven seconds left to give the Cowboys a 27-26 win against the New York Giants in the teams' first game of the new NFL season.

The Cowboys drove 72 yards in 1:27 to set up the winning pass, but the defence can share the credit after stopping New York's last drive at the one-yard line and forcing a field goal when a touchdown would have sealed the Giants' first victory in an opener against Dallas.

Dallas won despite some costly mistakes. New York's 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."

On New York's last drive, they reached the one-yard line but instead of rushing for the end zone on third down, they ran a play-action fake to set up an Eli Manning pass.

The Cowboys didn't buy it, and pressured Manning. He could have taken the sack, which would have at least kept the clock running and with the Cowboys out of timeouts, but instead threw the ball away.

That stopped the clock, giving the Dallas offence plenty of time on their game-winning drive.

Josh Brown kicked his fourth field goal of the game to put the Giants up by six.

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.

Manning took the blame for the Giants. "That's 100pc on me right now. It was bad clock management," he said.

"It was definitely an option to take a sack and run 40 seconds off the clock and give them less time."

Elsewhere, St Louis and Seattle went to overtime before the Rams won 34-31, the Packers beat Chicago 31-23, Kansas City had a 27-20 win over Houston, the Jets beat Cleveland 31-10 and Miami beat Washington 17-10.

Greg Zuerlein's 37-yard field goal in overtime was the decisive score at St Louis, where the Rams survived an 18-point fourth-quarter rally by the Seahawks, who famously passed from the 'one' in last February's Super Bowl and were intercepted by New England to lose.

Down 31-24 with 53 seconds left, the Rams tied the game after Seahawks defensive back Dion Bailey stumbled on Lance Kendricks' 37-yard touchdown catch.

Cary Williams' strip of Nick Foles and eight-yard return had put Seattle up by a touchdown.

Irish Independent

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