Cowboys Opener: Lessons From Four Giant Losses

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The Cowboys are a much-ballyhooed 0-4 against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. TV experts are offering their usual brilliant insight, minutely examining every measurable data point of the won-loss record, and declaring the Giants “own” the Cowboys at home.

Jan 1, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) loses control of the ball as he is sacked by New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Alan Maglaque-USA TODAY Sports

But these games have been wild, one-score affairs – three of which were contested down to the final possession; the other ending after a failed onsides kick. The average margin of victory has been just four points, suggesting the Giants don’t own squat. They’ve been good, but they’ve been lucky, too:

The Grand Opening – Sept. 20, 2009: Giants 33, Cowboys 31 – In the first NFL game played at AT&T Stadium, Eli Manning torched the Cowboys secondary for 330 yards, two touchdowns and a 110.6 QB rating.

Tony Romo had one of his worst statistical games as a pro, but he didn’t play as poorly as his line suggested. He threw three interceptions – one off of Patrick Crayton’s hands and another off Jason Witten’s heel (remember that?). When it came to crunch time, Romo engineered a 71-yard touchdown drive to give his team a 31-30 lead with 3:40 to play, and the defense failed to hold.

Why it hurt: Blew a fourth quarter lead to let a bitter division rival ruin the primetime debut of Jerryworld.

Lesson: The Giants won the turnover battle 4-0, but won the game by just two points on a last-second field goal; they simply weren’t the better team. Don’t read too much into who wins Sunday’s game, particularly if it’s another one-score affair – the better team has lost before in this rivalry.

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