EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., SEPT. 30 -- The Dallas Cowboys dared the New York Giants to throw the ball and the offer was just too good to resist for Phil Simms.
He threw three touchdown passes for the first time since the final game of the '88 season against the Jets and moved past Hall-of-Famer Terry Bradshaw into 20th place in all-time completions as the Giants continued their dominance of Dallas with a 31-17 decision today.
The victory, New York's sixth straight over the Cowboys, also was the second in three weeks against Dallas (1-3) and sent New York into the NFC East bye week with a 4-0 record.
The win was similar to New York's 28-7 victory in Dallas, with one exception: The Giants opened things up more with the pass. In the first game they rushed 50 times for 168 yards.
"Let's face it, we want to run the ball and control it," Giants center Bart Oates said. "But when the other team puts eight guys up front to stop the run, you have to throw the ball. . . . They knew they couldn't let us run the way we did two weeks ago."
New York carried 33 times for 136 yards this time, but it was Simms who did the damage. He completed 16 of 22 passes for 188 yards and had touchdown passes of 12 yards to Mark Ingram, 7 to Bob Mrosko and 27 to Rodney Hampton.
"Everything we did today was simple," said Simms. "It was nothing complicated or tricky. We weren't trying to fool anyone. We just won the battle physically."
The Cowboys never threatened to make it a game, although they closed the score to 17-10 midway through the third period on a four-yard run by Emmitt Smith. It was the first touchdown against the Giants in 163 minutes 20 seconds, dating from a fourth-quarter touchdown run by Randall Cunningham of Philadelphia opening week.
Simms's 16 completions gave him 2,040 in his 12-year career; Bradshaw had 2,025 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Troy Aikman was almost as impressive for Dallas, hitting 21 of 26 for 233 yards, including a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jay Novacek with 1:58 to play.
Dallas 0 3 7 7 17 N.Y. Giants 7 10 0 14 31 FIRST QUARTER
N.Y. Giants: Ingram 12 pass from Simms (Bahr kick), 13:27.
Dallas: FG Willis 22, 3:20.
N.Y. Giants: FG Bahr 34, 8:49.
N.Y. Giants: Mrosko 7 pass from Simms (Bahr kick), 13:44.
Dallas: Smith 4 run (Willis kick), 7:59.
N.Y. Giants: Hampton 27 pass from Simms (Bahr kick), 0:38.
N.Y. Giants: Hostetler 12 run (Bahr kick), 9:40.
Dallas: Novacek 7 pass from Aikman (Willis kick), 13:02.
Cowboys Giants First downs 20 21 Rushes-yards 20-51 33-136 Passing yards 233 198 Return yards 5 0 Passing 21-26-1 18-24-0 Sacked-yards lost 0-0 2-14 Punts-average 3-28 2-43 Fumbles-lost 1-1 0-0 Penalties-yards 4-20 2-19 Time of possession 24:22
Dallas: E. Smith 12-28, Wright 1-12, Highsmith 5-9, Martin 1-2, Aikman 1-0.
N.Y. Giants: Anderson 17-79, Hostetler 3-33, Hampton 5-14, Tillman 7-6, Carthon 1-4 PASSING
Dallas: Aikman 21-26-1, 233 yards.
N.Y. Giants: Simms 16-22-0, 188 yards, Hostetler 2-2-0, 24. RECEIVING
Dallas: Novacek 9-85, Martin 5-65, E. Smith 4-38, McKinnon 2-36, Johnston 1-9.
N.Y. Giants: Hampton 4-65, Cross 2-33, Ingram 2-27, Baker 2-26, Anderson 2-21, Mrosko 2-11, Rouson 1-12, Tu
N.Y. Giants: Bahr 47.