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Giants control NFC East with 29-24 win at Dallas

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Giants control NFC East with 29-24 win at Dallas

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Osi Umenyiora and the New York Giants were feeling awful, believing they had just suffered a monumental collapse.

Upon further review, a replay overturned a Dallas Cowboys touchdown with 10 seconds left and the Giants held on for a 29-24 victory Sunday after blowing a 23-point lead, taking a firm hold on the NFC East lead.

``After going up 23-0 and having them come back like that and win, it was a very bad feeling. But thankfully, it wasn't in bounds,'' Umenyiora said. ``I don't think that's luck. He just didn't make the play.''

Dez Bryant leaped and made an impressive catch between two Giants defenders in the back of the end zone. After being ruled a 37-yard touchdown, officials watched a replay that showed Bryant's fingers hit out of bounds first when he reached down with his right hand to brace his fall.

``Everybody thought it was over,'' said Jason Pierre-Paul, who had his first interception and touchdown for the Giants.

After the overturned touchdown, the Cowboys (3-4) were unable to get in the end zone despite getting off three more plays.

New York (6-2) has won six of seven games since its season-opening loss to the Cowboys on Sept. 5, when the Giants became the first defending Super Bowl champion to lose in the NFL's midweek kickoff game that has become a tradition over the past decade.

But halfway through their schedule, the Giants are the only NFC East team with a winning record. Philadelphia (3-4) and Washington (3-5), the other division teams, both lost Sunday.

``You take that every time halfway through the season,'' Eli Manning said. ``We're happy to be here winning some close games the last two weeks.''

What almost became the largest blown lead for the Giants to lose instead became the 20th time since Manning became their quarterback in 2004 that they came from behind in the fourth quarter to win. They also did so a week earlier with Victor Cruz's 77-yard catch with 1:13 left at Washington.

The Giants improved to 4-0 at Cowboys Stadium since Jerry Jones' football palace opened in 2009 with a New York victory.

On the first day of training camp, Jones told his team's fans to come watch them beat the Giants' rear ends. He was a bit more emphatic using a different word.

``You couldn't draw it up and start a game any worse than we started,'' Jones said. ``I'm very disappointed right now. ... I thought after all that, our defense played well enough, our offense kept going and I thought we were going to get a chance to pull one out.''

The Giants quickly cleared out of Cowboys Stadium to get home with Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast.

New York led 23-0 only 2 minutes into the second quarter when Pierre-Paul broke off a block and jumped up to pluck a pass out of the air, returning it 28 yards. It was the third of four interceptions by Tony Romo, and among six Dallas turnovers.

Things were so bad then that Jones was booed when he came on the giant video screen during a pre-taped public service announcement about breast cancer awareness.

``Seriously. I'm sure the fans had the same feeling I did,'' Jones said. ``I was frustrated, mad and knew that we had dug ourselves a hole that was going to take super effort to get out of.''

But Dallas got within 23-10 before halftime, then took the lead with a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in the third quarter.

Romo, who completed 36 of 62 passes for a career-high 437 yards, scored on a fourth-down run after faking a handoff and rolling right. On the next drive, he faked another handoff and was rolling right again when he tossed the ball to tight end John Phillips.

Lawrence Tynes kicked two of his five field goals in the fourth quarter, including a 43-yarder with 10:20 left for a 26-24 lead. He added a 37-yarder with 3 1/2 minutes remaining after Felix Jones' fumble was recovered by Stevie Brown.

Brown picked Romo off for a second time with 1:03 left, but New York failed to get a first down on three running plays while Dallas used all of its timeouts.

The Cowboys got the ball back with 44 seconds left at the 30, and Bryant's apparent score sent the faithful fans who remained into a frenzy until officials changed the call.

``When they took it away, my heart just dropped. I had my mind set that if the ball is thrown to me, I don't care; I'm going to come down with it,'' said Bryant, who had five catches for 110 yards. ``And I came down with it and I thought I was in. It's frustrating.''

Tight end Jason Witten had 18 catches (for 167 yards) to break his own franchise record for a single game and tie for the third-most in NFL history. With Miles Austin catching nine balls for 133 yards, Dallas had three 100-yard receivers for only the second time.

The Cowboys play at undefeated Atlanta next Sunday night.

``Nobody's ever questioned our fight or battle, but you still have to win games,'' Witten said. ``It is the time of the season you have to start putting those wins together.''

NOTES: Cowboys LB Dan Connor, starting in place of injured LB Sean Lee, had a neck strain before halftime. Connor will have an MRI on Monday. ... Giants LB Chase Blackburn sustained a left hamstring injury, and TE Bear Pascoe a sprained ankle. ... Tynes is now the second-leading scorer in Giants history with 535 career points.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.

MORE CAPITALS: BIZARRE SEQUENCE LEADS TO CAPS SCORING AND GETTING PENALIZED AT THE SAME TIME

A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.

RELATED: CHECK OUT THE 3 STARS OF THE GAME FROM CAPS-SABRE

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3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

3 stars of the game: Caps knock out the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson.

Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's first two goals. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.