The New York Giants hadn't won here since 1974, but Ali Haji-Sheikh's four field goals and Phil Simms' passes to Lionel Manuel ruined the Dallas Cowboys' "Silver Season Celebration," 19-7, today.
The Giants, who beat the Cowboys, 28-7, in September, hadn't swept their regular-season series with them in 21 years and had lost 15 of their last 18 meetings. The two teams are tied with St. Louis at 6-4 atop the NFC East, and, if the Redskins win Monday, it would be a four-way tie.
The Cowboys led, 7-6, at halftime, when their "all-time team" was introduced, but New York controlled the second half by knocking out quarterback Danny White and intercepting replacement Gary Hogeboom.
"Who are the Cowboys?" Simms joked. "I think we took a lot of steam out of them early. Did they lose their confidence? We controlled the tempo right from the start, and we had them running around confused. It was great to win in Texas Stadium, and it was great to win like we did, dominating the second half."
In all, Manuel caught five passes for 102 yards. He scored with a nine-yarder in the third period, beating Everson Walls to put the Giants ahead to stay, at 13-7. Then, in the fourth period, he beat Walls again on a 53-yarder that set up Haji-Sheikh's third field goal, a 23-yarder.
"We're back in the race now," the Giants' coach, Bill Parcells, said. "It was a victory we had to have. It was a big, big win. I told you we didn't lack character."
"The Giants deserved to win," the Cowboys' coach, Tom Landry, said. "That was a pretty critical loss for us. We've got so many losses in the division (all four of them) that we can't tie now and win it.
"There's not anything for me to be happy about at the moment . . . The season is salvageable. Now we just have to play the best we can every week."
Landry played musical quarterbacks because White bruised a shoulder in the second period. After White left for X-rays, Hogeboom threw a 30-yard scoring pass to Tony Hill that offset Haji-Sheikh's first two field goals and provided the halftime lead.
But soon Hogeboom was so ineffective that White, having had his X-rays, returned for the fourth quarter.
Then White hurt his shoulder again and departed for good, having completed one of six passes for 20 yards. Hogeboom returned and threw an interception to Mark Haynes at the Dallas 38. That set up Haji-Sheikh's last field goal, a 24-yarder that clinched the victory.
Hogeboom's last pass was intercepted, too, by Terry Kinard in the Giants' end zone with 22 seconds to play.
"The way we played was embarrassing," White said. "It didn't feel like it was the Dallas Cowboys on the field."
Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, who had flown home to Pennsylvania because his father had had a stroke, returned late Saturday and played the whole game.
"My dad is in a coma," he said. "I don't know if he heard me when I talked to him. But my dad would want me to be here to play. I told him I was going back to Dallas to try to run the ball for him and try to win the game. Unfortunately, that didn't happen."