EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Forget that a refugee from the United States Football League kicked three field goals. Forget that Tom Landry made a questionable coaching decision. Forget that the Dallas Cowboys finally got a break and ended their longest regular-season losing streak since 1963 with a 16-14 victory over the New York Giants.
The important question on the eve of a threatened National Football League players strike is: What's wrong with the Super Bowl champion Giants?
New York dropped its second straight regular-season game for the first time since the 1985 season on Sunday as Roger Ruzek kicked three field goals, including a 28-yard game-winner with 5:12 to play, to end Dallas' six-game regular-season losing streak.
"I think they (the Giants) are going to find out you win the Super Bowl, the next year everyone is out there looking for you," Cowboy veteran tackle Randy White said. "Every week you play it's going to be tough."
Dallas was no exception. The Cowboys forced five New York turnovers, twice rallied to take the lead and then withstood a frantic last-minute New York drive that ended when Raul Allegre's 46-yard field goal attempt with six seconds to play sailed wide to the left.
For the Giants, the prospects for 1987 suddenly are questionable. They were embarrassed in losing to Chicago last Monday, and their offense looked miserable against Dallas, putting together one scoring drive and holding the ball just 18:18 in the game.
Giant center Bart Oates said: We knew if we didn't play well we were going to be 0-2 at the start of the season. There is anger here. There is disappointment. We didn't put enough pressure on them offensively."
The only pressure the Giants mounted came in the final minute after they stopped a fourth-down attempted touchdown dive by Herschel Walker and took over inside their five-yard line with no timeouts. It was a coaching decision the Cowboy players said they favored, but one that would have been second-guessed had Dallas lost.
"When you lose six straight you do crazy things," Landry said. "I suppose that was crazy."
For a while it looked very crazy as Phil Simms connected on 5 of 9 passes to move the Giants to the Dallas 29 before Allegre missed his attempt at a game-winner.
"I was just trying to reach it," Allegre said. "Everything was perfect. I just missed it. I'm not going to make any excuses."