EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Game on the line, 80 yards away, three minutes to go and two timeouts.
No problem for Tony Romo and the Cowboys in a game that will be remembered for the Dallas comeback and a catch by New York Giants rookie receiver Odell Beckham Jr. that some are considering the best in NFL history.
Romo capped a game-winning, 80-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 1:01 to play and the Cowboys set the stage for a NFC East first-place showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving Day by beating the Giants 31-28 on Sunday night.
“He’s one of a handful that you have a chance to take it down the field like that,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after Cowboys (8-3) moved into a first-place tie with Philadelphia. “You don’t think that with most of the other quarterbacks. I thought he would tonight.”
Actually, Romo made it look easy against a Giants defence that has ranked among the worst in the league all season and failed to put any pressure on him in the final drive. On the game-winning throw, Romo stood in the pocket untouched for about 6 or 7 seconds before finding Bryant, who caught two of his four touchdown passes.
“You’re comfortable being in uncomfortable situations – if that makes sense,” Romo said after leading his 23rd fourth-quarter comeback and third this season. “That comes through having been through it, experienced it, and then having to go out and figure out a way to win. Once you do that a few times, you start to kind of get that feeling and the team can believe in that.”
“Everybody knows that we won tonight, but when we land in Dallas, that game no longer matters,” said Bryant.
The loss was the sixth straight for the Giants (3-8) and ended their hopes of winning the NFC East with five games to go.
The bright spot has been Beckham. No one on either team would stop talking about his one-handed catch of a 43-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning in the second quarter, which gave New York a 14-3 lead.
Beckham’s right hand was fully extended in almost a backstroke motion while his legs were almost perpendicular to the field when he caught ball and fell into the end zone.
“That catch? Outstanding! I was like OOF! Some of my work,” Bryant said.