The Cowboys were opening up their brand-new, billion-dollar Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas and opened up on NBC playing their division rivals.
In the end, the game was a great one from start to finish and had a classic ending that many will be talking about for a while.
The Giants took their opening drive and marched it down to the 12-yard line before settling for a Lawrence Tynes 30 yard field goal to put the Giants up 3-0.
The Cowboys took their second drive and marched it down field on the Giants defense and ended with a Marion Barber two-yard touchdown run for a 7-3 Cowboys lead.
As time was ticking off the first quarter, Tony Romo overshot his target and the ball landed in the arms of rookie Bruce Johnson, playing because of the injuries to the secondary. Johnson ran it back 34 yards for a Giants touchdown to make it 10-7 Giants. In the first quarter, it looked like the Giants had the early momentum.
The Cowboys were taking a kick-off and Felix Jones got bumped into and fumbled the ball and was recovered by Bryan Kehl of the Giants, so the Giants had the ball and the advantage. The only thing was, the Giants weren't converting in the red-zone, so another Tynes field goal made it 13-7 Giants. Romo was able to again move the ball down field and found his favorite target, Jason Witten, in the endzone for a one-yard touchdown pass and Dallas took a 14-13 lead.
After his touchdown pass, Romo under-threw Witten, and it looked like the ball was incomplete, but Kenny Phillips was running back the ball into the endzone. The referees reviewed the play and Romo's pass bounced off Witten's shoe and landed into Phillips arms so the Giants had a second interception off a crazy but bad play by Romo.
On the next drive, Eli Manning threw a 22-yard pass to Mario Manningham that bounced a round a little and ended up in Manningham's arms while he was on the ground and the Giants took a 20-13 lead. Before the half ended, the Cowboys were able to get down field and were able to get a 47-yard field goal from Nick Folk to cut the lead to 20-17 at halftime.
In the first half, the Giants were able to move the ball through the air, but hardly on the ground, while for the Cowboys, it was the other way around with Dallas running the ball well and passing terribly. The Giants secondary was making plays off Romo's mistakes.
On a flagrant play by Flozell Adams, Justin Tuck was tripped by Adams who was beaten off the ball by Tuck and drove his arm into the ground. Tuck had to leave the game and was seen in a sling for the rest of the game. His injury is unknown.
In the third quarter, the Cowboys looked as if they would regain momentum and re-took the lead when Romo ran a quarterback keeper on third and goal late in the third quarter to make it 24-20 Cowboys.
The Giants were struggling to run the ball with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw and had to punt it away.
However, Romo had no problem letting the Giants stay in the game. Romo aired the ball downfield towards the endzone, but Kenny Phillips was able to easily catch his second interception and Romo's third of the game and the Giants were back in the game.
In the beginning of the fourth quarter, Manning found another reliable target all game, Steve Smith, for a 22-yard strike that put the Giants back up 27-24. Another field goal by Tynes made it 30-24 Giants.
The Cowboys weren't giving up on their big night. They marched back down the field on the Giants and ran the ball well and with 3:40 to go, Jones marched into the endzone from seven yards out and reclaimed a 31-30 lead for the Cowboys.
This gave the ball back to the Giants for the rest of the game, and if the Giants were going to win the game, it was on the shoulders of their Super Bowl MVP quarterback, and he was up for the job.
Manning was able to throw the ball effectively to Smith and Manningham well on the drive, including an important pass to Smith with 13 seconds left to get the ball down into field goal range for Tynes. Manning ran a sneak to run time off the clock and center the ball for Tynes and they called time out with four seconds left.
Tynes made his first kick from 37 yards out just barely through the uprights, but Dallas head coach Wade Phillips called time out at the very last possible second, so Tynes had to re-kick the ball. Tynes was seen smiling and looked very cool and composed instead of being shaken by Phillips tactic.
Tynes got another chance to kick the game-winning 37-yard field goal and he drilled it right down the middle and the Giants won 33-31.
The Giants spoil the opening night of the Cowboys new stadium and are now 2-0 and take an early lead in the NFC East.
Manning was absolutely amazing in the game, going 25-for-38 and 330 yards and throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions. Manning also was not sacked once in the game and did not turn the ball over once, which was critical.
Manningham and Smith both stepped up for the Giants tonight, catching 10 passes a piece. Manningham ended up with 150 yards and Smith with 134 yards.
The Giants passing game, which was once called questionable and weak, was sensational tonight against Dallas.
The running game for the Giants never got going under Jacobs and Bradshaw. Jacobs had 16 carries for only 58 yards and Bradshaw had nine carries for only 37 yards, which accounted for only 95 yards, a low number for a rushing attack that was ranked number one in the NFL in 2008. The Cowboys did well stopping the run. But Jacobs and Bradshaw both need to run the ball better for the Giants to play well in 2009.
On the other side, the Cowboys ran the ball very well. Barber had 18 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown while Jones had seven carries for 96 yards and a touchdown, so the Cowboys duo had 220 yards and two touchdowns, so they were very effective against the Giants defense.
But in the passing game, the Cowboys struggled, especially Romo, who went 13-for-29 for 127 yards, throwing one touchdown and three game-costing interceptions. Romo was terrible tonight and his turnovers, along with Jones' fumble, killed the Cowboys chances.
Neither team played their best defense, especially since both teams didn't record a single sack, but the Giants played a better game on defense with three interceptions and causing four turnovers, while the Cowboys did not cause one and that was the difference in the game.
One of the biggest reasons why the Giants were so effective on offense through the passing game was due to the Giants offensive line (David Diehl, Rich Seubert, Shaun O'Hara, Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie), who did not let Manning get sacked once. In their last game in December at Texas Stadium, Manning was sacked eight times, but this time, Manning stayed on his feet all game, and that was a big difference, which is why the Giants were able to put up 33 points.
This win for the Giants puts them in the driver seat in the division and maybe even in the entire NFC Conference, while the loss for the Cowboys stings and hurts.
While Tom Coughlin looks like a stable head coach and Manning looked like a clutch quarterback with the game on the line, Phillips' job security will be called into question after this loss and Romo's big game ability will still be criticized heavily.
Everyone knows Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hates losing on the big stage, especially to a division rival like the Giants, so losing the opening game on national TV in their brand-new billion dollar stadium may really bother Jones for a while.
When the dust was settled and the game was over, the Sunday Night Showdown was a classic and the Rumble in Arlington was worth they drama and the hype.
In the end, the Giants were able to deliver the final knockout blow to the Cowboys.