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Dallas Gives but Takes Too

October 17, 2005|From Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys committed four turnovers, missed two field goals and gave up a tying touchdown with 19 seconds left Sunday, yet overcame it all with a 45-yard field goal by Jose Cortez during the opening drive of overtime for a 16-13 victory over the equally inept New York Giants at Irving, Texas.

"I feel pretty fortunate," Cowboy Coach Bill Parcells said.

Coming off an inspired victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas (4-2) gave New York every chance to put the game away early.

But Eli Manning and the Giants (3-2) couldn't do it. They trailed, 7-6, midway through the third quarter after the Cowboys had committed all of their turnovers. Then New York started giving the ball away: four turnovers in five drives, including a fumble at the Dallas one-yard line with 1:18 left while down by seven.

"We just shot ourselves in the foot," Manning said. "We were letting them get the best of us."

The Cowboys wasted their chances too. Manning came up with a 24-yard touchdown pass play to Jeremy Shockey that forced overtime.

Dallas won the overtime coin toss and never gave the ball back. Drew Bledsoe moved the Cowboys 51 yards in eight plays and Cortez made it pay off, giving them consecutive victories for the first time this season -- and first place in the NFC East.

"It was luck, totally luck," Dallas receiver Keyshawn Johnson said. "We're entitled to have a bad game and still win, at least once."

The flip side was felt in the New York locker room, where the only solace was knowing the rematch will be at Giants Stadium on Dec. 4. "This feels like a blown opportunity," defensive end Michael Strahan said. "We should've won. ... You're not going to win when you handicap yourself."

Bledsoe completed 26 of 37 passes for 312 yards, with a touchdown, an interception and two lost fumbles, one on a snap.

Johnson caught eight passes for 120 yards, his most since 2002, but also fumbled, although it did not prompt a sideline confrontation with Bledsoe, as happened last week. This time, Bledsoe was the first to console Johnson.

Manning completed 14 of 30 for 215 yards and a touchdown, but he ended a streak of 125 passes without an interception and lost a fumble.

Chicago 28, Minnesota 3 -- Reeling from allegations of sexual misbehavior and drunkenness during a charter cruise last week, the unraveling Vikings (1-4) were overmatched in Chicago.

Minnesota produced its lowest point total since the final game of the 2001 season, when Baltimore beat the Vikings, 19-3. While players declined to comment about the party, Viking Coach Mike Tice said the allegations had a negative effect.

"If I was to say it didn't at all, I kind of would be lying to you," he said. "And I don't think any of the local [media] would tell you that I've lied."

How big was the impact?

"I don't know," Tice said. "I'm not a psychologist. I can't tell you how much."

The Bears (2-3) ended a two-game losing streak. Brian Urlacher had two sacks, and Charles Tillman and Chris Harris each had an interception.

Urlacher credited defensive coordinator Ron Rivera for the aggressive game plan.

"Rivera turned us loose today," Urlacher said. "He called a bunch of blitzes -- they worked. We got a bunch of pressure, and when [Viking quarterback Daunte Culpepper] did get rid of the ball we tackled the guys."

Thomas Jones, questionable after stretching a ligament in his right knee last week at Cleveland, rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns in 23 carries for the Bears. Jones, who had never worn a knee brace, said he was uncomfortable. "Sometimes when you're thinking about the game more than your injury, it kind of helps you," he said.

Despite Jones' injury, Bear rookie Cedric Benson had a limited role, with three carries for two yards.

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