Patriots

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Cowboys top Giants, 19-3

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SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Cowboys top Giants, 19-3

ARLINGTON, Texas  -- Tough guy Jason Witten scored the game's only touchdown while setting another franchise record for the Dallas Cowboys, perhaps the most prestigious yet.

Ezekiel Elliott took care of the tough yards, churning out another 100-yard game two days after learning that his six-game suspension over a domestic violence case is on hold.

While Witten and Elliott helped Dallas produce points, the Cowboys shackled a New York offense missing dynamic receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in a 19-3 victory over the Giants on Sunday night.

"You just enjoy the journey," said Witten, who began his 15th season by breaking Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin's club record of 11,904 yards. "I'm just trying to devour where I am at this moment. It's a great time in my life."

Elliott, last year's NFL rushing leader, had a rugged 104 yards on the ground and another 36 receiving in a game that he knew he would get to play regardless of a federal judge's ruling in his bid to have the NFL's punishment overturned.

"You just have to block it out," said Elliott, who could play the entire season depending on the next legal move by the NFL. "You just have to focus on being the guy I need to be for this team. I think I am good for this locker room."

Dak Prescott was turnover-free while throwing for 268 yards as the Cowboys dominated their NFC East rival that swept them during a 13-3 season that topped the NFC and was fueled by the sensational rookie years for the quarterback-running back duo. Dan Bailey kicked four field goals.

Eli Manning didn't have Beckham in his 200th straight start after his top target sprained his left ankle in a preseason game. The Giants were outgained in the first half 265-49, with just two first downs, while falling behind 16-0.

"We have plenty of players who can make plays on the offense outside of Odell," coach Ben McAdoo said. "That's no excuse."

Manning was 28 of 37 for 211 yards with an interception and connected with new receiver Brandon Marshall just once, late on a desperation drive with the outcome already settled.

Witten scored the Cowboys' first touchdown on a 12-yard catch and finished with seven catches for 59. Witten, already the franchise leader in catches, now has 1,096 receptions for 11,947 yards.

The 35-year-old Witten is the only tight end other than Tony Gonzalez with at least 1,000 catches and 10,000 yards. He broke Irvin's record on an 11-yard catch early in the second quarter.

Elliott had to work for his yards after the crowd cheered loudly when he was introduced and kept up the "Zeke" calls while he made his trademark feed-me gesture after first downs. His biggest play was a 30-yard catch-and-run, easily the most open field he saw against one of the league's best run defenses a year ago.

"I think every person (who is) a part of the Cowboys was lifted by that decision," owner Jerry Jones said of Friday's court ruling. "Although he was playing in this game no matter what, the idea that we could have him for an extended period of time was certainly inspirational."

The Giants had a nearly 10-minute drive to start the second half but settled for Aldrick Rosas' 25-yard field goal after a second-down sack of Manning, Dallas' third of the game and the first of Charles Tapper's career. DeMarcus Lawrence had two sacks for Dallas.

Anthony Brown all but sealed the win for the Cowboys when he was the first to get his hands on a throw from Manning and won a tug-of-war with Roger Lewis Jr. for the interception midway through the fourth quarter.

DID YOU SEE THAT?

Dallas receiver Cole Beasley made a crazy catch in the fourth quarter to keep a drive alive. He got his hand on a wobbly ball as he was approaching the sideline and reached behind his head with his left hand, trapping the ball against his shoulder pads and helmet as he tip-toed inbounds. Beckham seemed impressed , offering a subtle nod.

ELI'S TARGETS

With Beckham missing, running back Shane Vereen led all receivers with nine catches and had 51 yards. Rookie first-round pick Evan Engram, a tight end, had four catches for 44 yards. Second-year receiver Sterling Shepard had seven catches, but for just 44 yards. Lewis had four grabs for 54 yards.

LONG TIME COMING

Jaylon Smith made his debut for Dallas after missing his rookie year recovering from a knee injury in his final game at Notre Dame. He was second to All-Pro Sean Lee with seven tackles and forced the game's only fumble.

INJURIES

Cowboys: CB Orlando Scandrick broke a bone in his hand in the second quarter. The Cowboys are hopeful the injury won't keep him out long.

UP NEXT

Giants: Home against Detroit (1-0) on Monday night next week.

Cowboys: At Denver on Sunday.

Ryan's 2 TD passes enough as Falcons hold off Seahawks 34-31

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Ryan's 2 TD passes enough as Falcons hold off Seahawks 34-31

SEATTLE - Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons did enough through 3 1/2 quarters that even the best comeback attempt by Russell Wilson fell short this time.

A couple of yards short to be exact.

Ryan threw a pair of touchdown passes, Adrian Clayborn returned a fumble 10 yards for a score and the Falcons watched Blair Walsh's 52-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds fall short, holding off the Seattle Seahawks for a 34-31 win on Monday night.

Atlanta won its second straight to stay on the heels of New Orleans and Carolina in the NFC South, and handed Seattle a second consecutive home loss.

"What an absolute team win from the guys tonight," Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. "Coming here, in this environment, with the crowd, we thought it would be two competitive, tough teams that were going to battle for it in the biggest way."

Ryan threw TDs to Mohamed Sanu and Levine Toilolo, while Tevin Coleman added a 1-yard TD run on Atlanta's opening possession.

But it was Clayborn's fumble return that helped break the game open early in the second quarter and gave Atlanta a 21-7 lead. He scooped up a loose ball after Wilson was crunched by Takk McKinley and Courtney Upshaw.

"I think we're moving in the right direction. We keep proving we can finish games and beat guys. We have to take the momentum and keep rolling with it," Clayborn said.

With Seattle down 11 points, Wilson hit Doug Baldwin on a 29-yard TD with 3 minutes left and then threw to Jimmy Graham for the two-point conversion. Seattle got the ball back and moved in range for Walsh, whose attempt was on line but landed short of the crossbar.

"That was in our range, and in hindsight I would have just driven it more," Walsh said. "I would have driven it more and not left it short. I was too accurate and didn't have enough on it."

Wilson again was the entirety of Seattle's offense, throwing for 258 yards and two touchdowns, and running for another 86 yards and a TD.

But it was an awful night for the Seahawks, filled with more injuries and questionable decisions by coach Pete Carroll. He called for a fake field goal late in the first half rather than attempting a 35-yard kick. He also made a questionable challenge in the fourth quarter that didn't go his way and left Seattle with just one timeout.

That lack of timeouts came back to haunt Seattle on the final drive when seconds ticked away and rather than running one more play, Walsh was sent out to attempt the 52-yard kick. His long for the season is 49 yards.

The conclusion only amplified Carroll's baffling decision at the end of the first half, when Seattle ran a fake field goal rather than having Walsh attempt a 35-yarder that would have pulled Seattle within 24-20. Holder Jon Ryan completed his shovel pass to Luke Willson, but Grady Jarrett read the play and tackled Willson for a 4-yard loss.

Willson said Atlanta's defense on the play was different than what Seattle had seen on film.

"It would have been a really good call if we had made it," Carroll said. "Terrific opportunity right where we wanted it and the defensive tackle made a better play."

Seattle played a game for the first time since the end of the 2010 season without Richard Sherman. His streak of 99 consecutive starts in the regular season was snapped because of a torn Achilles tendon suffered against Arizona. The Seahawks were also without safety Kam Chancellor because of a neck injury, leaving their vaunted secondary with several new faces.

"Those two are phenomenal players. ... It was a lot different," Sanu said. "They did a lot of different things but we just had to take advantage of our routes."

MATTY ICE

Ryan was more than happy to pick on a defense without Sherman and Chancellor. He was 19 of 27 passing for 195 yards and rarely faced pressure. Seattle had one sack, and the Falcons went 9 of 14 on third-down conversions.

Sanu made a great one-handed grab for a 2-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Ryan found Toilolo on a 25-yard TD in the third quarter to give Atlanta a 31-20 lead. Matt Bryant added a 19-yard field goal with 3:49 left to put the Falcons ahead by 11, and Wilson's late heroics weren't enough.

Ryan's streak of 64 straight games passing for at least 200 yards was snapped.

INJURIES

Seattle's injury woes continued. The Seahawks lost rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin to a concussion on the second play of the game, forcing newly signed veteran Byron Maxwell into a more prominent role than expected.

Early in the second half, promising running back Mike Davis was lost to a groin injury after taking a screen pass 21 yards. Davis had two receptions and had carried six times for 18 yards before getting hurt. Seattle also lost starting guard Oday Aboushi in the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury.

Atlanta got a scare when safety Keanu Neal was checked for a concussion in the first half. He was cleared to return.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Host Tampa Bay on Sunday to open a three-game homestand.

Seahawks: Travel to division foe San Francisco on Sunday.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

EX-PATS PODCAST: How Belichick the perfectionist will find flaws in win vs. Raiders

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EX-PATS PODCAST: How Belichick the perfectionist will find flaws in win vs. Raiders

0:55 - Patriots playing great as they stream roll the Raiders but Koppen explains that Belichick will knock them down as he strives for perfection. Also talk about how it takes a couple months into the season for the coaches and players to learn each other again.

5:40 - Stephon Gilmore playing excellent lined up against Michael Crabtree. Malcolm Butler bounces back but gives up the only score to Amari Cooper. Koppen suggest Butler’s contract situation might be affecting his play. 

7:50 - All in on the Patriots defense yet? Giardi and Koppen discuss the defensive play and the upcoming offenses the Patriots will be facing.

10:30 - Dan Koppen talks about job security in the NFL and if he ever worried about somebody else taking his job, and the cutthroat nature of the Patriots. 

13:50 - Tom Brady picking apart the Raiders and Jack Del Rio’s defenses throughout his career. 

17:45 - A debate about Patriots backup quarterbacks and if Matt Cassel was actually a good NFL QB. 

21:20 - A few game notes: Rex Burkhead’s fumble vs. the Raiders, LaAdrian Waddle filling in for Marcus Cannon.