$ 97-Million-Dollar Manning Leads Big Blue Over The Cowboys

John BorgoliniContributor ISeptember 21, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 20:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants drops back to pass against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 20, 2009 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Normally if the New York Giants were asked to help out division foes the Dallas Cowboys they would refuse, but Sunday night Big Blue was feeling generous helping Dallas open their new $1.12 billion stadium with a loss.

Eli Manning led the Giants with another strong passing attack, in a season where the passing game was being seriously questioned, to a 33-31 victory in front of a record-setting crowd of 105,121.

With 3:34 left on the clock in the fourth quarter the Giants found themselves down 31-30 after a combined Dallas rushing attack contributed for 58 of 71 yards and capped off a scoring drive with a Felix Jones 7-yard touchdown which was preceded by a 35-yard gallop by starting running back Marion Barber.

Manning kept his cool, however, and made good use of the new 160-by-72-foot high definition screen for those in attendance, going 8-for-10 and 82 yards on the game's final drive, completing an 11-yard pass and a 13-yard pass on both third downs.

This drive set up a 37-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes to win the game.

Manning would finish the game 25-for-38 with 330 yards and two touchdowns.

Another type of Manning in second-year receiver Mario Manningham made a strong case for a more permanent starting role leading all New York's receivers with 150 yards on 10 receptions including a 22-yard bobbling touchdown catch.

When not making touchdown catches interesting, Manningham was fighting for yardage after the catch stretching two screen passes for 11 and 14 yards and stretching the field for 49-yard bombs.

Third-year man Steve Smith also had his second strong showing catching 10 passes for 134 yards and a 22-yard touchdown of his own.

Meanwhile the Giants' running game has yet to find consistency, rushing for 97 yards total.

Brandon Jacobs led that attack with 58 yards on 16 carries including a 31-yard gain on the second play of the third quarter.

Ahmad Bradshaw added 37 yards on 9 carries including a 19-yard gain.

New York's defense played another solid game and continued to pressure quarterback Tony Romo forcing him to make three bad throws that led to interceptions, two of them being caught by Kenny Phillips.

The Giants received two more injury scares as receiver Domenik Hixon left the game after the first drive and defensive end Justin Tuck went down in the second quarter with a shoulder injury after being tripped by Dallas' left tackle Flozell Adams.

The damage to Tuck's shoulder was unknown as of Monday, but Tuck expects to play in Sunday's match-up in Tampa Bay Sunday at 1 p.m.