Giants 19, Cowboys 14


Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- On a day when rookie Ron Dayne showed he can play in the NFL, an aging Troy Aikman hinted he can't anymore.

Dayne rushed for 108 yards and scored the go-ahead 3-yard touchdown after Aikman threw his team record-tying fifth interception as the New York Giants defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19-14 Sunday.

Kerry Collins added a short touchdown pass and Brad Daluiso kicked two field goals as the Giants (5-2) won their second straight to head into the bye week in position to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

The Cowboys (2-4) have serious problems, not only with their record, but at quarterback. Many felt Randall Cunningham played well while Aikman was sidelined early in the season with a concussion, and this performance will only fuel the controversy.

Aikman finished 22-of-42 for 211 yards and a touchdown, a 1-yard toss to fullback Robert Thomas. The TD pass, set up by a 90-yard kickoff return by Jason Tucker, and a subsequent 3-yard touchdown run by Emmitt Smith, gave the Cowboys a 14-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.

However, Aikman, who had only thrown four interceptions once in his 12-year career, gave up his fifth early in the fourth quarter when linebacker Mike Barrow accepted a gift from Aikman with no one else around at the Dallas 38.

Seven plays later, Dayne capped the best day of his rookie season by plowing up the middle for the go-ahead touchdown with 10 minutes to play. A 2-point conversion run by Tiki Barber failed.

Aikman tried to rally the Cowboys in the closing minutes, and the Giants helped by picking up two penalties, including a roughing-the-quarterback call against Keith Hamilton with 11 seconds to go. That gave Dallas a first down at the 14, but Aikman's last-second toss to the end zone was batted away by Jessie Armstead.

The only other time Aikman threw four interceptions was in his rookie season, when Green Bay picked off that many in 1989, a season that saw the Cowboys finish 1-15.

Three other Cowboys have thrown five interceptions, the last being Steve Pelluer in 1986. Danny White and Eddie Lebaron were the others.

The first four interceptions on Sunday all came in the first half, and they were all bad throws, including a game-opening bomb that Jason Sehorn picked off. He strained his collarbone on the play and left the game.

The Giants didn't get on the board until Dave Thomas got the third interception against Aikman, stepping in front of a slant pattern at the Dallas 21.

An 11-yard run by Dayne got a first-and-goal, and Collins capped the drive by finding tight end Pete Mitchell all alone on a fourth-down rollout from the 1 midway through the second quarter.

Aikman had a chance to tie the game late in the half, but he underthrew a wide-open Damon Hodge, and Reggie Stephens intercepted in the end zone.

A 47-yard run by Barber on the opening series of the second half set up the first of two short third-quarter field goals by Daluiso, increasing the Giants' lead to 10-0.

The advantage didn't last long as Dallas' special teams and Smith combined to score touchdowns on consecutive possessions.

Tucker's kickoff return put the Cowboys at the 2. Aikman capped the drive hitting Thomas on a third-down play.

After another field goal by Daluiso, Smith put the Cowboys ahead 14-13, capping an eight-play, 61-yard drive. Smith rushed five times for 32 yards on the drive.